Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Career pathways not generally recommended by advisors

The Spring Break allows us generally hard working faculty a few extra moments to catch up on what's happening in the world. I don't often venture far into the Tempo section of the Tribune but today my eye fell upon an article about ex-"Girls Gone Wild." Clearly important stuff, I read further. The first ex concerned a certain Tracey who had graduated magna cum laude with a chemistry degree. Not often one reads about chemistry in the same context as wild girls, but all to the good so I thought. Highly motivated she pursued her ambition to enter medical school but repeatedly fell at the MCAT hurdle. Now, not exactly following the script that we professional educators (or parents) advocate (you know, never give up, keep on trying till you succeed - the sort of MJ myth that sold a million inspirational books to young boys (I bought one for mine)), she promptly gave the whole thing up and became an "exotic dancer." Life was never better apparently, fawned over (her words) as she was by rich men and celebrities, awash in money. Years later, as a suburban housewife, she professes absolutely no regrets.

There is a moral in the story, but I have yet to unravel it completely. One response would be to eliminate the MCAT, but that is probably not it. As educators far and wide wail, moan and gnash their teeth, and beat their breasts and lament about the decline of interest in the sciences amongst the nation's youth, and write proposals for elaborate projects for millions of dollar to be funded by the National Science Foundation to recapture that lost interest, Tracey is scarcely a good role model.

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