500 Words At A Time: Two Questions

Going back to school? Let me prepare you for the two most common and inane questions you will get. Why common, because you will be asked both of these questions repeatedly. Why inane, because these two questions do not define you, what you have done, what you are doing, nor what you will do; yet, far too many people use them to define you.

  1. “What’s your degree?” or “What program are you in?”
  2. “What year are you?”

Maybe these would have been easier for me to handle if 1.) the program/degree I am in was easy to define, such as golf-yes, there is a degree for golf here complete with a requirement to maintain a minimum score and 2.) I cared what year I was, after 21 I stopped counting.

The questions mean a lot more to most people. Degrees come with stereotypes and years seem to come with expectations. Pre-pharmacy students are type A people with no social skills, grade obsessed, and money focused. HVAC students are slow, physical workers, with nothing to look forward to other than manual labor. And those are just two extremes. Neither of which is true. Freshmen (people?) are expected to not know how to behave, poor study skills, and poor classwork. Whereas seniors are expected to behave in class, do well on exams, and assignments. There is some truth to the expectations based on years, but that is simply a matter of experience and little bearing on the student. All in all the questions, tend to bug me because you can see the thoughts forming in the askers eyes, “Oh you are a senior in X program. That means you are like this and this.” 

You will figure out your own answers to those two questions and I am going to guess that as you progress through your college experience the answers will change. Here are mine:

To What’s Your Degree or What Program Are You In?

  • I’m a writer
  • I’m here for shits and giggles
  • I don’t remember
  • Technical Professional Communications, which is similar to saying that you do something hideously boring or complicated, people immediately find someone else to talk to
  • I’m writing a book about the experiences of a college student my age
  • Looking for the nearest Fight Club
  • Three guesses and the first two cannot be golf or tennis related
  • It was English, but they wanted foreign language pre-req.

To What Year Are You?

  • To old
  • To many
  • No clue
  • Based on my age, senior
  • Whatever year gets screwed on registration times

Official answers, Technical Professional Communications or TPC (get used to letters for everything) and senior. What is Technical Professional Communications? Good question.

Easiest answer, TPC graduates can create any kind of physical or online document or documentation that you might need. This can be as simple as a brochure or business card to as complicated as a grant. There is nothing, that a TPC graduate should not be able to do with a document and the language. That wasn’t so easy?

I tend to go with the following, “You know the instructions that you often throw away, well someone with a TPC degree created those instructions.” In another 500 Words I will attempt to list out all of the skills I learned…wish me luck.



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