why would anyone engage in the masochism that is majoring in a math or science discipline? in hindsight, there's an awful lot to be said for the liberal arts. true, it may not offer the variety of career paths a degree in another field might, but as far as getting the most out of college, it's probably the best choice.

let me state that i don't mean any disrespect toward the liberal arts. but let's face it - the best thing about that academic area is that there are no right answers. in other types of courses, you're not really supposed to think. geniuses and prodigies have already done that part for you. you're only meant to come away with an understanding of the stuff they thought about.

no right answers means no nights up later than you're willing to be, watching the symbols of calculus and set theory swim around each other making less and less sense, taunting you with the knowledge that the information necessary to complete problem 18.c.ii is in there somewhere, but nowhere you'll ever be able to find it. in liberal arts, you think up the thesis first, while you're still largely coherent. you offer a few strong paragraphs in support at the beginning of the paper and by the time your mental faculties start giving out, you've reached the point at which your professor won't be reading too closely, anyway. you get to dash off enough nonsense to fill the rest of a requisite number of pages and then you get to go to bed.

if a math major turns in an assignment full of wrong answers, she's just wrong. period. if a literature major turns in a paper full of complete bullshit, she gets the benefit of the doubt. the faculty will go searching for her thesis, attributing meaning to typos and sentence fragments.

liberal arts majors don't need to spend as much time absorbing. the good ones can skim the readings, pick out a few significant phrases, and build a top-rate thesis around them with only a vague idea of the context. even the bad ones don't need to read too closely, and surely not more than once (unless perhaps we're talking about beowulf). their focus is up to them. no wrong or right, merely well-supported.

the college kids you see in coffee shops at four in the morning, silent as they pour over stained textbooks? the ones standing in the supermarket checkout line with a case of off-brand soda and economy size vivarin? the ones sleeping in a campus/student activities/union building at odd hours of the night or monring? those kids aren't liberal arts majors. liberal arts majors are in bed, at the bar, cleaning their houses, doing their laundry, having a life.

they show up for class in the morning looking nothing like they had crawled out of a coffin.