Opining on Education [Was RE: criticism gone awry]

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Wed Aug 18 12:31:09 EDT 1999


On Tue, 17 Aug 1999 12:17:01 -0400, McMullin, Elise wrote:
>My own philosophic retro on the whole thing; I passed through a
>seriously cynical post-college period (strangely enough, the rest of the
>world had no interest in new historicism or cross-dressing in
>Shakespeare). I was very ready to toss the baby with the bathwater.  But
>I did learn a great deal about inquiry and evaluation - logic, sense,
>reason, compassion, personal abilities, writing specifically and
>communicating in general.  It makes life more interesting to have skills
>you can bring to anything and everything, whatever your interest hits
>upon.  A lot of people where I grew up feel that higher ed is and ought
>to be career training exclusively; anything general or not obviously
>directly funneling to a specific job is a waste of time and money.  I
>heard so many lectures!  But feh.  It was all worth it.  I'd do it
>again!

Me too!  Even with the professors who disagreed about the relative value of
critical approaches and having to write papers based on what the teacher
believes and realizing that none of the religious wars fought in-department
have any meaning in the Real World.  As Elise says, you can learn so much
about logic and communication and life in general.  I went straight from
college to motherhood, and I spend my days taking care of my children.  That
was an ENORMOUS change, even though it was exactly what I wanted to do.  But
I owe a lot of my current ability to communicate with irrational toddlers to
having spent four years reading and writing and thinking hard about reading
and writing.  I'm not kidding about this.  If anything can make you capable
of seeing the world through someone else's eyes, it is true literary
criticism.

My husband is a computer programmer.  He's very good at what he does.  His
degree is in English.  Who do you think is capable of talking to the
software users and turning their needs into usable programs?

Melissa Proffitt
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