Choosing a Major
By Fritz Capell, 1998.

As soon as I started attending Portland Community College, people started bothering me to Choose a Major.  I didnít really see why that should be important, but I wanted to get fully immersed in Student Life, so I chose Norman Schwartzkopf.  I like him.  He seems friendly, and sort of nice, in a Ďkill-em-allí kind of way.

Unfortunately, as one of my classmates kindly pointed out, Schwartzkopf is not actually a major, but a General.  Iím glad that he told me, because Iíve heard that it helps to be very specific when choosing a Major.  I pointed out that he had been a Major at some time, because didnít you have to be a Major before you could become a General?  He said yes, you did, but it was too late to pick him because that was a long time ago.  I needed to pick a Major that was currently available.

Available!  Oh no!  I have to worry about their marital status as well as their current rank?  That means I have to pick fast, because military personnel tend to fall in love rather quickly.  This Choosing a Major was turning out to be harder than I thought.

So I sat down to think about a new Major.  I couldnít think of any more.  I remembered a TV show called M*A*S*H, didnít it have Majors on it?  But it seemed like it was in black-and-white, so it must have been very old.  Or maybe it just wasnít very colorful.  I asked another classmate whether that TV show was colorful, and she said not very.  I wasnít sure what that meant, but I thought Iíd better not take the chance.

I still hadnít chosen a Major, and I was sure that if I went to any frat parties or anything, people would laugh at me, because I was supposed to have one.  So I went to the place with all the computers and books (I can never remember what itís called) and asked them if they knew any good Majors, and they said they didnít.  I guess only students need to choose Majors, not these people.  Maybe these people choose something else, like Captains or Movie Stars.  I told them I needed to Choose a Major, and they said I needed to go to Counseling.

Now, Iíve asked some stupid questions sometimes, and on occasion have seen fit to question my own sanity, but I though that was rather rude.  Just because I havenít yet Chosen my Major doesnít mean thereís anything wrong with me!  Iím trying!  I always thought the PCC people were nice, but these people werenít nice at all.  I started crying.  Through my tears, I tried to explain.  I just wanted a Major.  I just wanted to be like everybody else.  Everybody else had a Major Ė how did they find them?  Why was school so hard?  What was I supposed to do?

They suddenly got very nice, and took me into a back room and sat me down and talked to me very kindly.  They gave me a big soft-bound book and told me there were lots of Majors in it Ė I just needed to pick one.  I dried my tears enough to see the book and started looking through it.  It had lots of pictures of people smiling and looking very busy with computers and different pieces of machinery.  This must be it, I thought, there must be some Majors in here.

But, try as I might, I couldnít find any Majors in the book.  There were pictures of people doing all sorts of things, but I didnít see anybody in military uniforms, no heavy weapons or tanks or anything.  The lady had said there were Majors in this book.  Where were they?  I tried and tried to find them, but finally gave up, and sat hunched over the book, sobbing in frustration.
One of the ladies came back and started being nice to me again.  I guess I got kind of mad, and threw the book down on the floor, exasperated that I couldnít find any Majors, Lieutenants, or even Privates in the book, so where were they?  Had she given me the wrong book on purpose?

She suddenly stifled a laugh, and after she recovered she explained everything to me.  She said that I needed to choose a Course of Study, which they sometimes called a Major.  She showed me all the Courses of Study in the book, and the pictures of happy people doing each one.

I felt a little silly, but now it started to make sense.  The book was very nice, with lots of pictures, and I looked carefully at every page.  There were so many exciting Courses of Study to choose from, and all of them looked so exciting!  It was hard to choose!

I thought about it for a long time.  Finally I decided to take General Studies. That way, maybe someday I can be just like Norman Schwartzkopf.