What’s Your Question?

Something I’ve been thinking out for a good while now but forgot to use this medium to essay is the weakness of asking, “What’s your major?”

I feel convicted that the overuse of this question weakens conversations across the university. We convince each other, by perpetuating its ubiquity, that somehow this question matters more than other questions.

Is it really?

And a follow up: If it isn’t, what questions ought we be asking instead?

What questions are available from the first introduction if I don’t want to know your major more than anything else about you?


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4 Responses to What’s Your Question?

  1. Rhit says:

    I actually agree with your point, and I like “what’s your major” about as much as “what’s your GPA,” both of which I have dealt with (and occasionally dealt, in the case of the former). Both kind of assume that the person’s interests are tied to their major, or that they’re only as studious as their GPA indicates. Being the person who takes difficult classes for fun and dislikes fluff classes, I definitely know that isn’t true.

    Whenever I ask someone what their major is, I usually do it so I can get an idea of what classes they are taking, what their interests are, and what they’re willing to talk about – I really do enjoy hearing about different majors and what they are like, especially if someone is taking unusual coursework.

    Maybe something like “what do you see yourself doing” or “what are you working on/learning about that’s interesting to you” could work? (I know I have blanked embarrassingly when someone asked about what I was working on – but I always have embarrassing blanks, so that’s hardly unusual.)

    • pwilliams says:

      Someone asked me today, “What’s your story?”, which I think is rather difficult to answer in an introductory conversation and as a result made be blank embarrassingly as well, but it was nice to have a change of pace.

  2. terry papillon says:

    “Who are you becoming?”

    • pwilliams says:

      One thing that I’m really hesitant about in coming up with a new question is that people think I’m taking life too seriously. How do we preserve our whimsy when asking something that might come off rather pointedly even when that’s not the intent?

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