February 07, 2005

Eight Years Late: The College Survey

In the lengthy and prolific history of college alumni newsletters there are four simple raisons d'etre (literally raisins of the earth...those silly French) - money, bling, cash or moolah. Sure, it might be disguised as "alumni news" but there will always be a plea for cash there somewhere. Knowing this, I surprise myself by continuing to open envelopes from my old school. A recent piece of college mail, however, was different. It was a satisfaction survey from the history department, a department in which I spent so much time, they decided to give me a degree. Now, before we go any further, I'd just like to remind you that I last set foot on campus with said degree in 1997...here's how I answered.

The first part of the survey was pretty typical. You know the drill: Please rate each of these components of the history degree program based on the five ratings shown - obscenely bad, mildly so-so, not sucky, wildly adequate and couldn't care less." It was only in the second part of the survey in which things got interesting. They went all free-form on our asses and asked essay questions. Like we didn't get enough of this crap when we all actually paid for the privilege.

What did you like best about the History Department/major/program?
You must first know that it is nearly impossible for me to categorize and list the ways in which your history program bettered my life. But, for the sake of brevity, I'd have to say...the hotties! Do you have any idea how much pull a history degree has with the ladies? Surely you, with your bow-ties, Shelby Foote histories and chalk-dusted khakis have availed yourselves of this, the primary and possibly only perk of having a history degree. No? So you haven't gotten out and about, let loose on the streets of Small College Town, your history degrees in tow? A history degree is the best thing that happend to me. All I have to do is start talking about the Civil War, the impact of the Panama Canal on North American capitalism, or the fall of the Soviet Union and the bras are flying! And in case you don't know, I'll let you in on a little secret. The key to any woman's bedroom - bring up the laissez faire approach to a capitalist economy and, gentlemen, you're in! I've muttered quite a few thank you's to you, Small College History Department. Especially after I've woken up in a strange bed with an attractive, or merely willing, woman at my side, pulled on my pizza delivery uniform, hunted around for some jewely or at least a 20-spot, and pointed my moped back on the on-ramp to the real world. Good times, professors. Good times indeed.

What did you like least about the History Department/major/program?
This is a tough one. I mean, what's not to love? That said, I do have a few bones to pick with you. What's up with that class thing? Three classes a week? A little harsh, dont you think? Oh...and there was a real bitch who taught a couple classes on Africa. You fired her ass, right? Apparently, she wouldn't give anything with a penis any higher than a C in her classes. And she checked!

What changes would you like to see instituted in order to make the department and its program stronger (i.e., what would you add to, or delete from, the program?)
First, gentlemen, you continually remind me that you’re not English majors (another department in which I spent the majority of my time). Look at the way that question was constructed! Shame.

After some careful consideration, I’d delete grades, papers, or any sort of judgment that merely makes people feel bad or inadequate. I’d actually like to see class deleted altogether but methinks that would be “pushing the envelope upon which the Gettysburg address was written” if you know what I mean.

What would I add? Cheerleaders! And more field trips, preferably to strip clubs of historical interest. Nothing provides a more effective learning experience than the hand's on approach!

If you had it to do over, would you major in History again? Please explain briefly.
Again, that’s a tough one gentlemen. But I’d have to say yes. I mean, what other subject could possibly be of more use as an IT security consultant? Oh…wait…

What aspects of your major in History have proven most useful to you?
I learned some good lessons, the most important of which was regurgitating facts from stuff that I read. A few years on, I'm still able to read pointless things and spit back condensed version of them. For that I'm eternally grateful. You also helped me perfect the art of writing very very small on index cards and, similarly, the art of concealing said index cards. And wrting stuff on my shoes. And arms. Yes, the arms!

What aspects of your major have proven least useful to you?
I honestly don't have a lot of complaints...but I'd have to say all the liver damage was uncalled for. I don't drink now for a reason. Despite what everyone may think, you guys are wild men. Too many drunken nights consuming Ye Olde Jello Shots, Bloody Coups, Mao Martinis and Drinkin' Lincolns left me a ruined shell of a man with some rather serious mental and physical health issues. But despite the fact that I can only remember things that happened every ten minutes "on the threes" and can only walk in counter-clockwise circles, I guess that's what you do in college.

Posted by Chris at February 7, 2005 09:24 AM

Hmmm. I'm beginning to wonder whether a history degree was such a good idea now...

Posted by: Anakalia at February 7, 2005 09:41 AM

I was a History major, and probably would hav estayed with it had I not fallen promptly asleep in World Civ every single class - not that I knew it until 1/2 way through the course. I found out from the guy who sat behind me. *sigh* ahh, the good times.

Yeah, so I switched majors - to Philosophy.

Yes, you may laugh now.

Posted by: Autumn at February 7, 2005 10:33 AM

It's too early to compute such intricate thought processes for me. This caused a "runtime" error.....

Posted by: Jade at February 7, 2005 10:43 AM

And congratulations...you have now created the most exiciting and popular history department in the nation. I hope they can withstand the increased enrollment.

Posted by: smartjuice at February 7, 2005 10:50 AM

That was great! History major in IT eh? I am a poli sci major in IT. I need to get a real degree, maybe english lit.


Posted by: Blue at February 7, 2005 10:51 AM

doesn't "raison d'être" meant "reason of being"...at least, that's what my years of French que je me souviens...

Posted by: Chris at February 7, 2005 11:31 AM

Well, yes, it means reason of being, but where's the fun in that? ;)

Posted by: Heather at February 7, 2005 11:38 AM

I would so make "Drinkin' Lincolns" at my President's Day party. If I was having one.

Posted by: SpaceCase at February 7, 2005 12:40 PM

After 7 years as a software developer I'm switching careers... Corporate life is overated for me anyway. So now my major is Psych with a minor in History. Reversing the roles...

Posted by: azzy at February 7, 2005 01:03 PM

"doesn't "raison d'être" meant "reason of being"...at least, that's what my years of French que je me souviens..."

Technically, both are right in the sense that one does not truley exist unless they eat raisons according to a French philospher genius qui a le nom j'ont oublié.

Posted by: groovebunny at February 7, 2005 01:23 PM

LMFAO.. the arms... hehehehe

Great post. Funny thing is, I just got one of those surveys the other day from my college..


Posted by: Sabine at February 7, 2005 01:24 PM

I elected to take a course in college on camparative religion, to this day I'm really not too sure why. Perhaps I thought it would be an easy A, because the title of the class truly says that right???Right??? Perhaps I thought it would help a business degree....ok so I really didn't think that! The one thing it did for me? I can now argue religion with all people and piss them all off and still sound like I know what I'm talking about! Hooray for me! as for my business degree, I work as a colorist, because the thought of sitting behind a desk the rest of my life made me want to commit suicide, which by the way is only a sin in christian religions.

Posted by: Nina at February 7, 2005 01:51 PM

Seem like your histroy degree is as useful as my English degree. But hey, "You can always teach." :o)

Posted by: Milly at February 7, 2005 02:59 PM

Please tell me you actually filled it out like that and mailed it back!

I have a graphic arts degree and have yet to use it (damn lack of entry level jobs!) so don't feel too bad.

Posted by: Kitty at February 7, 2005 03:17 PM

Geez Chris...what a way to start the week!

I, for one, was not a history major, yet I somehow knew of Mr. Foote. I actually had to read his book on Shiloh in preparation for a (don't laugh) Boy Scout hiking trek made to the Tennessee battleground.

Of course, being like 13 at the time, I enjoyed the coincidence that I was reading a book for a hiking trip by a guy named Foote.

And strip clubs of historical interest? A very nice touch.

Posted by: Joe at February 7, 2005 03:39 PM

Now which university was this for? Sounds like the survey I got from the college of business at mine about a year and a half ago. Course on their short answer section I just bluntly demanded they hire profs who'd worked in the real world instead of the academics who taught a bunch of useless theories that I never bothered to remember past the exam over them.

Posted by: christina at February 7, 2005 05:12 PM

I am sorry, but...

the hand's on approach? Methinks you should revisit that English Department...tsk tsk.

Posted by: girl at February 7, 2005 09:42 PM

Ha ha ha, your degree is about as applicable to your job as my biology degree is for my event production job. God, those hours spent memorizing the names of ORGANELLES...all for nothing!

Posted by: supine at February 7, 2005 10:54 PM

I wish my Small College would send me a survey like that for their Communication Arts program. Thanks for the laugh.

Posted by: Alison at February 8, 2005 05:45 AM

sweetie, raisons d'être literally is reason for being... raiss of teh earth would be pepin de terre. Wouldnt want them snotting on you when you get to visit :)

Posted by: stinkerbell at February 8, 2005 06:21 AM

Mmmmm, college. I am surprised I still remember it. It seems your history degree has served you well in IT as it has for my brother, and he now puts up telephone poles for Verizon. My English lit degree comes in handy for quick edits in event planning. That's about it. Oh, and I can read very fast. Retaining what I read is another story. What was I saying? Oh yes, I hope you sent that in!

Posted by: bd at February 8, 2005 01:56 PM