Archives of Our Lives

{a narrow and broad look into the lives of people I love}

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I Should Have Gotten a Degree in Marriage.

At BYU, students can earn a degree in Marriage, Family and Human Development.

To me this seems like an incredible cop-out.

"What did you go to college for?"

"Oh, I got my degree in Marriage."

"Really? So what was your final exam--snagging a husband/wife?"

"Actually Miss Snooty Pants, I consider marriage to be my life's eternal final exam."

"...Oh. Sorry."

I mean, what could a college possibly teach that would prepare young newlyweds for marriage?

Nothing. They could tell their students that marriage will be a big transition, but those pre-marriage scholars would still enter into their nuptials with a starry-eyed outlook and marshmallows in their brains. The marriage professors could assign projects involving bags of flour dressed as babies, but really--there's no comparison between a bag of Robin Hood Fast Riseā„¢ and a slobbery baby. None.

Furthermore, I firmly believe that some of life's best lessons are learned outside of the classroom. Like how I took communication classes and still suck at communicating; I took computer classes and still hate technology. Heck , I even took Introduction to Sexuality and Human Psychology and...well...never you mind about the Sexuality class. [When I signed up for it, I was under the impression it was more of a study in women's rights and development across the globe. I was totally misled. I promise.]

At any rate, even though I believe in the value of a degree as far as getting an honest-to-goodness job goes, I have a hard time with any school handing out a degree in marriage. I mean, if a person's sole purpose in attending college is to learn how to be a proper stay-at-home-spouse (I'm being gender-equal, notice), then why go to college at all?

On their website, BYU notes that graduates of the marriage program often go on to pursue volunteer work. Most likely when their little darling children are at neighborhood preschool. But really, if someone wanted to pursue a career in volunteerism, shouldn't he or she seek a degree in Nonprofit Organizations or something?

But what do I know? I myself am on the 10-year plan for my degree in Art History and Museum Studies. (A degree which I thoroughly enjoy pursuing, but let's face it: there's not much future for my career in museums, now that I live in a town that's smaller than my high school student population.)

I'm so smug, when actually I know nothing. Who knows? Maybe if I'd gotten my degree in Marriage, Family and Human Development, I would know how to cook chicken enchiladas that my husband would actually eat. I would not have sewn crooked valances and hung them up in my living room anyway. I would not plant a garden in my backyard, just to leave for a month in Arizona the next week. If I'd gotten a degree in Marriage, then I would have known that leaving Poor Kyle for a whole month was a bad idea, and he wouldn't have felt it necessary to fly down from Canada for a surprise visit during my stay here.

Which I am thrilled about, by the way. And which I could have totally anticipated if I'd graduated from BYU with a degree in Marriage.

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Blogger Joel said...

I am also of the opinion that this is a dumb degree. What I don't understand is how a real university offers such cop-out majors. What I would be really interested in seeing in the number of people who graduate with this degree vs the number who drop out once their real reason for going to BYU has been accomplished (i.e. they get married). From what I hear, it ain't cheap to go to school there. Why, oh why, would anybody flush that kind of money down the tubes to get a degree that offers a career in volunteering? I have lots of problems with BYU, this degree being one of them...

June 11, 2008 at 4:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's so sweet, pk surprising you. there's your degree in marriage, lucky you.

June 11, 2008 at 7:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ditto on the byu mickey mouse courses. i took art history there after having taken it at UofA, (alberta),where i got a 7, (out of 9)....then byu;....barely attended class, wrote the single exam given, got 100%, thus my mark for the class. sounds like grade 8 math all over again.

June 11, 2008 at 7:16 AM  
Blogger theycallmeaft said...

of course this post would pull me out for a comment. ACTUALLY, this degree is one of the more legit degrees. counselors of all sorts and family therapist graduate with this degree. (given to be a therapist you need post graduate work but lets be honest a LOT of degrees require post graduate work ie. psychology, pre-med, even business majors end up going on to get their MBA) for some reason people don't think that family studies is in any way academic. but it is. you don't take cooking classes and sewing classes. you take human development classes discussing family dynamics and learn how to help struggling families stay together. all of families are messed up these days and could use all of the help they can get. the graduates learn to set up programs within their communities and whether its as a volunteer or not this degree makes them more qualified for the job. they can receive certificates to become school counselors. and i say thank goodness for these people who want to help a struggling world. so in reality they could probably do more with this degree than you could with art history. i could probably go on and on about this but i'm pretty sure it already sounds like i'm ranting (and this wasn't even the degree i got!). i guess i'm just a little passionate about my family studies...

June 11, 2008 at 7:49 AM  
Blogger Geneva said...

I have come to the conclusion that all degrees have some sort of difficulty. If you don't work your brain to shreds studying, then you have to sacrifice your life to internships. Even elementary ed majors have to spend 20 hours a week meticulously crafting paper mache masks. Not academically difficult, but still time consuming. I'm pretty sure the marriage degree is an applied psychology degree with a ridiculous amount of long research papers to be reviewed and written.

But I whole heartedly agree that NOTHING can truly prepare you for married which I think was the point. And hurray for Kyle coming to visit!

June 11, 2008 at 12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ha. a marriage major. who would have guessed? only BYU, only BYU... anon10

June 11, 2008 at 12:32 PM  
Blogger Cristin said...

I got my degree in political science which is about as useful as Art History - however, now I am thinking about becoming a Marriage and Family Therapist. The only problem is that I did not get my bachelors degree in MFHD from BYU, so I will have to go back and take a bunch of undergrad classes before I can proceed. See - MFHD isn't that non-useful. (I've made fun of the major for years too.)

June 11, 2008 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger Jami said...

this is funny! I was just telling spencer...I wish that ASU made a degree for moms! I just want to take classes like psy...and childhood development...stuff along those lines. Things that would help me understand Grace and how she is growing up...and why the hell marriage is so hard. Plus I will be the first at admit that I HATE school, and I just really want the degree to say I got a I would love an easy cop out degree.

June 11, 2008 at 1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree with everybody
i love to learn
i would pay camille to discuss art history avec moi.

June 11, 2008 at 3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my dream degree,

June 11, 2008 at 3:35 PM  
Blogger A Letter To Kayleen said...

oh my overly long comment, afty. geez.

camille, i've been saying this same thing to afty for a while now. "you just spent thousands of dollars to be a mom when you graduate, when you could've just done it for free."

i guess they don't 'em teach common sense in college.

June 11, 2008 at 9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Love it. Can't say that I disagree...

June 11, 2008 at 10:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those women who never plan to work anyway a college degree is a big waste of money. Oh, you say but what if my husband dies, I need an education so I can get a job. Why not take the money for college and put it into a good life insurance plan. It will be a lot cheaper than college.

June 12, 2008 at 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

isn't motherhood the greatest work of all?

is that what we're saying?

not so subtle innuendo
yet again.

re previous comment

June 13, 2008 at 10:19 PM  
Blogger Zach and Whitney said...

You should have seen Afton and Kayleen get into about this degree the other day. It was hilarious. I say if you need classes and want to spend the money on becoming a professional " Mom" then do it. But I do think it is really funny.

June 15, 2008 at 6:46 PM  
Blogger erin k said...

I think any degree teaches students valuable lessons. Whatever the topic, a person learns self-discipline and critical thinking skills, plus knowledge on whatever topic. The degree in question is much more complex than most people realize, and why not go into a field that is important and will also help you as a mother when you want to be one? In my opinion, that is much better than just not getting a degree because you want to get married and have kids. Any woman wanting to be a mother should be trying to be the best they can and to learn the most they can, whether it be in college or through reading, or whatever they enjoy. If you love learning and want to get a degree that will help you understand your chilren's growth, etc, than power to you. Do it.

June 21, 2008 at 12:56 PM  

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