Marv sometimes laments that he should have majored in science or engineering while at Stanford instead of international relations. Career options for scientists and engineers do seem to be more clear-cut and abundant, but some colleges are trying to remedy that by offering career training for liberal arts majors.

Yet others aren’t entirely convinced. ”To dilute the power of the liberal arts with premature professionalism will deprive our society of the thoughtful leadership it needs,” Anthony Marx, the president of Amherst College, was quoted as saying in The Times earlier this year. If they have the luxury of time, he said, students should ”go deeper into the liberal arts, because that is the seed corn of an intellectual life and informed citizenship.” After all, college is breathlessly short, and the American working life increasingly long. How many professionals think back fondly to those industry-specific lingo-training courses of their undergraduate days?

New York Times Magazine, December 12, 2004
Talk about sticking his head in the sand. It’s pure romantic ideals that make someone think only of scholarship when studying at school. Unless students are independently wealthy, they’ve got no choice but to think of how they’re going to repay school loans and support themselves once they’re out. I’d always assumed I would be able to support myself. The bigger goal for me was to find a career in which I could make a positive, tangible contribution to society.

There’s nothing wrong with spending some time thinking about life beyond the walls of academia. And just because a person is career-oriented doesn’t mean she’s not capable of thinking deeply about issues. Thinking and working are not mutually exclusive. At least I hope they’re not.

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