On the lessons of history

Here’s a transcript of the concluding remarks I made today, at the end of my last world history class for the semester. My students are non-history majors who will not be taking many more history courses (if at all). And yet I hope they came to understand the importance of learning history and what lessons […]

No, you don't NEED to study that

I teach freshmen every semester. A lot of them. In fact, in my world history course (HIST150: The West in the World), at least 80% of the 210 students are freshmen. Since I constantly encourage students to meet with me, I have had numerous discussions with students about their choice of major (or lack thereof), […]

Research (again) Values Humanities and Social Science Degrees

Many students come to college not knowing what they want to study, or not sure that their true passion could be translated into a practical career (who hires historians or linguists or anthropologists, right?). So they either consult one of many stupid articles that claim to tell them what are the best (or worst) college […]

Don't just break the glass ceiling. Shatter it.

This week, I talked with my students about opportunities for women, why women face more challenges in building meaningful careers, and what we can all do to change that. Here’s a transcript of what I said in class.

I concluded last week by saying that women tend to struggle more with making plans for the […]

The letter that changed my life

Today in class I talked to my students about dreams, the need to have ambitious goals, even such that they themselves do not believe they could achieve, and about setting out to realize them. The unfortunate reality is that 74% of my students do not believe they can go to any program they want. I’m […]

Ten Tips for a Successful New Semester

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Especially for the new year, and as we all return to campus from winter break and once again transition from home and family to school and work, I thought I’d offer a few tips that would make everyone’s life a little easier. I won’t tell you to come to class, read whatever your professor assigns, […]

It’s time to think about next summer, pt. 2

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In the previous post I discussed the benefits of studying abroad. Now I would like to address the issue of internships. Employers, whether small businesses, major corporations, government agencies, and nonprofits have long realized the benefit of offering summer internships: they get cheap (and sometimes free, which often means illegal) labor, they contribute to training […]

It's time to think about next summer, pt. 1

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Summer has just ended, we recently returned to our busy schedules of classes and homework and other extra-curricular activities, and… yes, this would be the best time to think about next summer. Many students make the mistake of not planning for the summer until sometime in the spring semester. By then, the deadline for many […]

72%: No Top-Tier Grad School for Me

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72% of my students don’t believe they could attend a top graduate program even if money wasn’t an issue. That is one finding of a quick survey I ran in class, to which 208 students responded. The results are similar to those I received in prior surveys, and they beg the question: who made our […]

Question #2

Q: I’m a sophomore and haven’t yet decided on a major. My parents and everyone in my family think I should study business so I can get a good job after college. I would really want to study history or anthropology, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to get a job with a liberal […]