by Dave Freddoso
(Observer, University of Notre Dame, 1998)
I: "Ah, sir. I see by your clothes that you must be a business major."
BUS: "What do you mean? I'm only wearing shorts and a T-shirt."
I: "Never mind."
BUS: "No, really, how could you tell? What's your major, anyway?"
I: "Classical Greek."
BUS: "Classical Greek?! Ha! I've never heard of that major."
I: "(Sigh) My friend (the other Greek major) and I put up with a lot of flack from friends about our major, although I don't know why."
BUS: "But how on earth did you decide to major in Greek?
I: "Several reasons, I guess. Most importantly, I like it."
BUS: "You're studying something because you LIKE it?"
I: "Yes. Also, I was lucky enough not to get a certain unethical Freshman Year advisor who steers young students away from Greek and Latin. But I don't have any hard evidence to verify that, so I just won't mention it at all. But mainly because I like it."
BUS: "But Classical Greek? That has no job market. That's totally impractical!"
I: "Nonsense. Greek is much more practical than your major."
BUS: "What?! What could you do with a degree in Greek? Flip burgers?"
I: "First, tell me what you can do with your major?"
BUS: "Why, all sorts of things. I can go into the whole 'REAL WORLD' of business!"
I: "Do you think THIS world is fake or something?"
BUS: "Well, no, but ... you know what I mean."
I: "Well, as for me, with a major in Greek, I could flip burgers, if I wanted. Or I could go to law school, or go into journalism, or politics, or education, or I could go to graduate school, I guess. I'd be very qualified to do any of those interesting things if I work hard now."
BUS: "Well, uh, but I'm the only one who can go into business. I'll have a much better paying and more secure job than you will. That's why I started in business in the first place."
I: "Oh, I forgot. After I finish in Classical Greek, I could also get an MBA, or start a small business when I get out of school, or go into something like sales, or management, or database work, or I could even get hired by one of those consulting firms. As it turns out, many of the ones who are coming to campus this year have bought books full of senior Arts and Letters resumes."
BUS: "What? Are you trying to say that your major is more practical than mine just because you will be qualified to go into all those different fields, while I can go into just one or two of them?"
I: "Yes ..."
BUS: "And I suppose that next, you are going to tell me that Greek is more fun than spreadsheets?"
I: "Yes ..."
BUS: "And then you will say that I should change my major to something more interesting than business, like Greek, or maybe philosophy or even history, because I could get a fine job anyway with any of those majors?"
I: "Yes ..."
BUS: "Oh, I see ..."
BUS: "Hmm ...uh ... well ... maybe ... oh, no, what am I thinking! I can't do that! Don't you see? I need business to fall back on! No Arts and Letters majors ever get good jobs. They all just starve to death on the streets after they graduate!"
I: "(Sigh.) Never mind. Nice meeting you."