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Advice to a Young Lady on the Choice of a Major

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May. 3rd, 2009 | 01:02 pm

I have an 18 year old niece in Australia, just graduated high school, now contemplating university.

I fear she has not been given a good map of the territory. "What's an MBA?" she asked. "What's an MFA?"

Even if grad school is several years away, it's still a good idea to get a sense of things early.

Has anyone produced a visual guide to higher education? Showing the difference between a diploma and a Bachelor's, between a Bachelor's and a Master's? Showing the different routes one may take to become a lawyer, doctor, accountant, and how systems differ across countries? In some systems you go to med school or law school when you're 18. In some systems when you're 22. Personally I think 22 is better.

Her family has certain expectations of her. Turnabout would show her what educations her family have themselves received.

To solve this problem generally, I think a high-school class on Education would be very handy. Students have been in it so long, it seems only fair to give them a look behind the scenes, and show them how they, the sausages, were made. It would be incredibly eye-opening to learn that there are alternatives. The curriculum could include readings like Newman's The Idea of a University and Postman's The End of Education.

Anyway, I ended up writing my niece a letter extolling the benefits of a liberal arts education. I might buy her Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton – a wonderful introduction.



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Comments {12}

mengwong

Obama concurs

from: mengwong
date: May. 3rd, 2009 05:27 am (UTC)
Link

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/03/magazine/03Obama-t.html

>> I would argue that anybody — that young people generally are going to benefit from a good, solid liberal-arts education. That’s what I got.

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yDNA d'Oblivion

(no subject)

from: ydna
date: May. 3rd, 2009 06:57 am (UTC)
Link

I certainly would have gained from such a course in high school. I was completely ignorant of the existence of college while in high school. I think they assumed everyone just knew.

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coco and a liberal arts education

from: anonymous
date: May. 13th, 2009 11:34 am (UTC)
Link

i would say that coco's mother had a Very Liberal arts education which is still on going....

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mengwong

Alain de Botton on the Radio National

from: mengwong
date: May. 14th, 2009 02:43 pm (UTC)
Link

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/lifematters/stories/2009/2546992.htm

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mengwong

Mark Cuban

from: mengwong
date: May. 19th, 2009 03:39 am (UTC)
Link

Here's someone with a retirement problem so big, he can't stand solitude for even a minute...

http://blogmaverick.com/2008/01/03/the-sport-of-business-2/

Ten years from now I bet he'll put out one of these:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/article740618.ece

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mengwong

from david brooks and gail collins

from: mengwong
date: Jun. 11th, 2009 06:03 am (UTC)
Link

http://theconversation.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/10/advice-for-high-school-graduates/

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mengwong

Gotta have some noise in the system

from: mengwong
date: Jun. 18th, 2009 02:56 pm (UTC)
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OTOH, if everybody did exactly the right course of study, there wouldn't be any multidisciplinarians, and that would be even worse.

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mengwong

comments from Denisa

from: mengwong
date: Sep. 26th, 2009 05:15 am (UTC)
Link

my pal Denisa was kind enough to share a link:

http://radar.oreilly.com/2009/06/benefits-classical-education.html

and some comments:


Advice to a Young Lady? why this form of writing full with clichés?
the whole idea of innocent & young girl is so debilitating, the way
you address her goes so much against what you are trying to tell
her... tried to read it and it is full with that cliché of evil
world out there that will spoil your innocence & creativity... i
agree with the message, yes liberal arts and crazy stuff is good for
you immunity, but why this medium/form?! why not saying something
like "even accounting can be an artform" and study of arts boring if
you don't dare to try something out of the box and realize you have
one life and every day counts... i just hate this moralizing and
addressing the "young" style of discourses, the addressing is the
problem... it is the same like "liberal" countries that believe they
have experience (like UK, EU, USA) explaining someone from the east
what is good for them... just hate this, you can inspire only by
what you do not what you say... and intentions are always evil...

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mengwong

Re: comments from Denisa

from: mengwong
date: Sep. 26th, 2009 05:17 am (UTC)
Link

accounting can be a craft, by Richard Sennett's definition, but i don't agree that accounting can be an artform. 1929, Enron, Lehman, Merrill Lynch ...

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