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huffingtonpost entry

Encourage Kids to Study Practical Subjects

Commented Nov 15, 2010 at 21:24:38 in College

“I agree with the belief that we should raise children who will become productive individuals (including scientists), but I firmly disagree with the premise that we must do so by cajoling them into studying and working in fields they don't like -- and thereby eschewing "the road not taken." Dori herself chose to study European History at Princeton where she wrote a paper on Ann Landers and Dear Abbey. While the topic centered on those "princesses of practicality," it was not practical. But her history focus gave historical context to her later writing for Business Week and U.S. News and helped inspire her to write an historical novel, the upcoming "Daughter of Xanadu." Yes, liberal arts majors (like Dori) should seek out internships and summer jobs along the way to translate their passions into something practical. And like their scientist brethren who enter medical and grad school, they may need to go on to higher learning. But in my view, there is no better training than English literature to give insights into the human condition for a psychologist (my husband, the English major) or skills to translate scientific data as a botanist (Dori's and my friend Sarah, a former English major who is developing plants to feed those in drought conditions) or hone the writing skills necessary to be a lawyer (me, another English major). There are several roads to a productive and innovative career. It starts by finding what you love and doing it well.”