The Professor Said “No Rules”

Today I finished my last ever final.  Now, three days away from graduation, six days away from a move, and nine days away from a new job in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, I wanted to look back to my favorite question on my favorite final . . .

The third question on my “No Rules” final exam for Advanced Writing:

Question No. 3, Advanced Writing, Fall 2012
“What do you plan to do when you grow up?” 

After briefly dabbling in the notion that she would do something well paid and reputable, Tory Cooney, a junior at Hillsdale College, has officially announced that she will be returning to her original “when I grow up” plan and focus her efforts on becoming an archeologist princess.  She is one of many Hillsdale students suddenly reconsidering career options, and we would like to figure out why.

Q: Miss Cooney, why the sudden change in career plans?
A: Well, this time of year, students really begin to ask themselves what matters in life.  We stop eating entirely and only sleep in three-hour-intervals.  Even then, it’s usually by accident and we have ink stains plastered on our face when some librarian wakes us up because they’re closing the building.  All of that – and the caffeine – contribute to this constant dreamlike state where some things just become clear.

Q: What things?
A: Like how much more enjoyable trekking through the Amazon Rainforest wrestling with pythons and dodging poisoned darts would be.  In comparison to this 20-page paper on Rousseau’s opinion of women, at least.

Q: I see.  Now, what is it about being an “archeologist princess” that you find appealing.
A: I want to find a lost civilization and then rule it.

Q:  Oh . . . Is there, um . . . Is there a market for that sort of thing?
A:  I go to a liberal arts college.  We’re used to ignoring the job market.

Q: Oh.  Well, how does one break into this particular field?
A: Well, the original plan was to work with Indiana Jones until he tragically died in an escapade I planned to title “The Golden     (one syllable)   of the   (two syllables)     (one syllable)” and, in a tear-filled press conference, announce that I would be carrying on his legacy and just take on all of his support as well as his role in circumventing the Nazi conspiracy to gain control of all magical artifacts of great significance.  But that plan is a little anachronistic, given the current lack of Nazis . . . and Indiana Jones, so I’m working on some modifications.

Q: And the finding and ruling a lost nation would come in where?
A:  I would just stumble upon this lost civilization in my travels.  Early retirement plan.  As well as an appropriate mysterious disappearance.  Amelia Earhart had that one right.

Q: How do your parents feel about this?
A:  They avoid talking with me during the last three weeks of school.  My mom always starts fretting over the fact she can’t mail me soup and my dad begins to panic that I’m going to fail all of my classes and end up living in his basement.

Q: Now, you are not alone in your sudden career shift, are you?
A: Of course not!  This time of year gets to everyone and we all really start to reconsider our life choices.  A group of Simpson guys are planning to join the Night’s Watch [from Game of Thrones], two hipster girls are going to marry for money, and one Kappa is going to live in poverty in Southeast Asia working in a rice paddy and sharing the love of God. . . There’s even this tall blonde girl from my Arthurian Literature class who’s going to join the Knights of the Round Table.

Q: Anything really outrageous?
A: A few people think that they want to go to grad school [laughs].

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