The value of my prestigious degree

Amy Durazo

I grew up without questioning whether or not I would go to college. In my mind, the future was perfectly mapped out.

I would attend a university somewhere warm, where I would meet my future husband and know exactly what I wanted to do with my life. My dream job would be waiting for me along with my diploma.

Here at Villanova, it’s not warm, the guys are iffy and my class schedule – which has included classes such as Contemporary Cinema and Irish Renaissance Literature – is basically hindering me from finding my calling.

Unless of course I want to be a film critic or an Irish Renaissance Literature professor.

By the way, my dream job? Nowhere to be found.

Like most of you, I worked my butt off in high school. I won attendance awards because I feared missing a day of notes. I chose my activities wisely, knowing what would make me well-rounded: Spanish Club, Varsity Club, I’m-College-Material Club.

I took as many AP classes as I could fit on my plate. AP Psych? The last thing I care about is what other people are thinking. AP Chemistry? I want to be a writer, not a nerd. AP European History? I’ve never met anyone who was interested in the Byzantine Empire.

Still, I excelled in these classes, climbing my way up the academic ladder and becoming part of this honor society and that honor roll, all so I could get into the college I really, really, really wanted to go to and finally take courses I cared about. Journalism and Writing Good Articles and How to Get a Job 101 – topics that interested me and might help me perfect my craft.

After taking five or six classes in the This-is-Completely-Irrelevant-to-Real-Life department, I started to wonder if I had taken a wrong turn somewhere.

Of course, this doesn’t apply to all of us. Nurses will study applicable material throughout college, such as nutrition and how to look good in scrubs, and graduate with a job at a hospital changing bedpans and working the night shifts.

Business majors will take miserable classes until Goldman Sachs and PWC agree to make some lucky candidates their indentured servants. After graduation they will be more miserable (if that’s possible) working 80 hours a week. Not even the money that starts pouring in can cheer them up because they have no time to spend it.

As for the rest of us, what are we doing here?

Our SAT prep courses and parents-who-want-the-best-for-us taught us long ago that attending a prestigious private Catholic university nestled between the rich and the richer looks better on a resume than your average, run-of-the-mill institution.

Like carrying a Fendi bag instead of a fake Louis Vuitton or driving a Range Rover instead of – scoff – a Jeep Cherokee.

“The class size is smaller!” they all claimed, which obviously means the courses are better, since you can sit in circle and stare at everyone else who is falling asleep and not caring about a Women and Nicholas Sparks course or History of the State of Nebraska.

Are these nonsense classes actually helping us further our careers? I don’t want to be well-rounded anymore. I want to have a sharp edge over my work world competition, and general knowledge no longer cuts it.

Clearly these waste-of-time courses are important for some things, such as being a contestant on Jeopardy or playing Trivial Pursuit.

But is it really necessary for a future lawyer to study astronomy or a doctor to understand the role of women in literature?

Post-graduation, I see myself sitting across from The Woman, interviewing for a job.

“I see you’ve studied logic,” she’ll say. “Ooh, and look what we have here: Medieval Literature. Judging by your fantastic credentials and your extremely fancy Villanova degree, we here at Glamour magazine feel that you are very well qualified.”

And then I will wake up from that dream at my parent’s house, unemployed. I will thank my lucky stars that the good people at Villanova forced me to take statistics when I was a freshman, helping me to realize that about 37 percent of my classes were pure garbage.

Those same math skills will tell me how many thousands of dollars my parents wasted and could have spent on anything else.

My concentration in writing will be what matters, since it will allow me to write a letter to the editor of the Villanovan admitting that my prestigious degree did little more than help me relate to any fellow alumni I might encounter sporadically.

Forgive me for cutting this short, but I’ve gotta run to my African Tribal Pottery class.