I feel a rant coming on...
Not, not quite a rant. Just some observations. That's all. Really.
So Child #1 is a senior in high school this year. You know what that means: the hell-on-earth for parents known as college visit and application time.
Okay, I'm exaggerating a little. It's been kind of fun to ship Children #2 and #3 off to Grammy's house for weekends (where they get spoiled beyond belief) while the Dear Husband and Child #1 and I trundle off on road trips around the northeast, fortified with numerous bottles of Snapple Peach Iced Tea and cranberry trail mix (for the DH) and beef jerky (for Child #1) and bags of popcorn (for me). We peer thoughtfully at roadside geology and make horrendous puns at each other. DH tends to wax fatherly about how Child #1 should conduct himself during interviews. I try to insert levity so Child #1 doesn't say "Uh-huh" and totally tune out. You know, family bonding stuff.
So we arrive at the colleges and the Child gets handed a fat folder of materials about the school and fills out forms, and then we get sent off on student-led tours of the campus. If we're lucky, we get the tour guide to ourselves, which is kind of nice. We feel less odd asking about the obscure sports and clubs and subjects (fencing, Dungeons & Dragons, ancient Greek) that the Child is actually interested in. We have the tour, we attend the information sessions, the Child has his interview. We get in the car and deconstruct the whole experience, then drive somewhere else and repeat it all.
Including, it seems having the same tour guides at every campus we go to. I know, logically speaking, that this can't be true. But it sure seems that way. They've all been perky sociology majors, though come to think of it one of them had a minor in French (the rest were minoring in International Relations). And when we get to one certain spot in the tour, the EXACT same things happens.
It's when we get to the Science Building.
Tour Guide: "So this is the (insert name of major donor) Science Center. It was built in (insert year) and houses the Biology, Chemistry, and Physics Departments. (Insert college name) requires at least one year of a lab science to graduate." Pause to make scrunchy unhappy face. "But you can get around it by taking psychology--that's what I did--or geology. That's not too bad."
Um, excuse me?
Child #1 wants to major in physics. He wants to take lots of other stuff, too (like ancient Greek and maybe more Latin and history and philosophy and ceramics and literature), but he just loves physics. So he and the DH and I roll our eyes at each other and go on with the tour.
But it really bothers me. Okay, I was a history major in college, and yes, I took geology for my lab science. I had plans to be an archaeologist and thought geology actually might be more useful down the road than biology. But as a family we subscribe to Science News and to Science, and I read them. We feel that we need to know what's going on in the science world if we're going to be useful human beings and informed voters.
Doesn't that goes for sociologists, too?
Why the tunnel vision? Why the phobia about hard science? I may not spend idle moments thinking about black holes the way Child #1 does, but I'm drawn to the mystery and grandeur of what I read about the LHC, and fascinated and elated by breakthroughs in research on malaria and diabetes, and astounded by the creation of new materials like carbon nanotubes and what they can accomplish. Reading about science makes me feel like maybe, just maybe, the world isn't totally going to hell in a hand-basket just yet. It makes me see that there's so much out there that I can't even imagine...and makes me want to try.
What can we do differently as a society to make these lovely, fresh-faced sociology majors see this too?
Oh dear. I lied. I ranted after all. My apologies.