Declare Your Major!

by S.C. Torrington on January 27, 2008

career books cropI was reading an article in my county newspaper about the impact of local overcrowded public schools. One frustration expressed was that because there aren’t enough technical high schools, it’s difficult for children (parents) to plan their (kid’s) right career track during middle and elementary schools. So what does that mean? Now you’ve gotta declare your major in fourth grade?

If my Westowne classmates and I had stuck with our career goals in fourth grade, the world would be full of veterinarians. Back then, nobody wanted to a Forensic Anthropologist or Personal Life Coach when they grew up.

In the old days, in seventh grade (or Junior High, remember?) you were either College Prep or Vo-Tech. The classes were organized by grade and then a letter. 7-A was the smartest kids in seventh grade taking French. 7-B was the smartest kids in seventh grade taking Spanish. (That was my class. But I got a D in Spanish.) And so on down to mid-alphabet, maybe K or M.

You changed rooms for each subject, but basically traveled with the same bunch of kids. We’d scatter for Band, Music, Gym and Home Ec or Shop. But regroup for the classes that counted towards college.

The students in 7-J took alotta noisy, kinda mysterious, door-closed classes in the basement. You never saw them in the Language Lab or the Science Hall. Those kids would have j-o-b-s before they graduated from high school, if they graduated from high school.

In our white-collar eyes, the Vocational Technologies kids were the dummies. In retrospect, perhaps they were the smart ones. While most of us were off pursuing a college education and a lofty career, they were working in the local gas station or restaurant. Now all of 7-Jers own those dealerships and franchises.

And some of us academia are still chasing the dragon.

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