Off-Third: Liberal Studies is the best major

Everyone in Liberal Studies, like myself, should have some pride for the best school on campus.


Susan Behrends Valenzuela

(Illustration by Susan Behrends Valenzuela)

Katherine Harron, Contributing Writer

Off-Third is WSN’s satire column.

Everyone I’ve talked to at NYU has one thing in common: they all applied to be in Liberal Studies. Only a select few, however, were offered admission to the most prestigious program. As one of those lucky admits, I know that everyone else is jealous of us. I cannot remember the last time I had a conversation with a Stern kid that didn’t go something like this:

“Hey! Are you in Liberal Studies?”

This is the exact moment when I have to make a decision. Either I rub it in and admit that yes, I am a part of the highly selective program that they clearly were rejected from, or lie to save their feelings and pretend that I am someone like them, someone who could only dream of achieving a Liberal Studies degree.

I never pick the latter, so I respond with “Hey, yeah I am. It’s really great being part of the most sought-after school at NYU.”

“So, what do you do in Liberal Studies?” They clearly want to seem like they don’t care. The only other option would be to admit that I’m living the life they wish they had.

“We’re like, reading ‘Gilgamesh’ right now,” I say, trying to sound casual. I don’t want to let on that we’re actually doing something a lot more spectacular than that: we’re reading and discussing ‘Gilgamesh.’ Sometimes we’re even quizzed on it.

“Oh, no way! I think I read that in like 7th grade.”

Oh, the lengths a Sternie must go to so they sound like they have a clue about the great feats we accomplish in Liberal Studies. Some might say it’s a little embarrassing for them, but I never want to seem egotistical. So instead, I begin to ask them about themselves. I know, I know, it’s very generous of me to make time for this conversation instead of reading the entire Odyssey. But I’m humble. “So like, what do you do in Stern?” 

“Today we’re meeting Jeff Bezos and actually last week we all started managing a hedge fund.” 

I have no idea what a hedge fund is because they didn’t exist in the time of ‘Gilgamesh,’ but I’m sure if they were important, Liberal Studies would teach us about them. Jeff Bezos, however, I know. “That’s so cool! Jeff Bezos is Grimes’ husband, right? What was he doing at Stern?” 

I hardly listen as the Stern kid drags on and on because, to be honest, I don’t really have any more time to spare. My mind has shifted to much more pressing issues — that is, what I’m going to write about to meet the 100-word quota on the ‘Gilgamesh’ discussion board. 

These conversations are tiresome. Honestly, they make me sad for the Liberal Studies rejects. How can you be happy if you’re so far beneath me? But I am grateful for them. They keep me humble. They push me to do more.

Usually, after I talk to a poor Stern kid — or god forbid, someone in Gallatin — I go to class and work extra hard because I know that there are so many kids dying to be in my shoes. Liberal Studies is the most sought-after program at NYU, and I’m happy I can be the one to remind everyone of that.

WSN’s Opinion section strives to publish ideas worth discussing. The views presented in the Opinion section are solely the views of the writer.

Contact Katherine Harron at [email protected].