MN Nice Advice: Back to School

Choosing the “wrong” major and eating alone at lunch

An illustration of a boy walking out the door to go to school with an angry parent behind him.

illustration by darren gygi

Q: I’m happy my son’s headed to the U this fall. But when he said he plans to major in English, I felt like strangling a gopher. I’m worried he’s throwing away his future and my money. If he just wanted to read books, he could’ve stayed home.

A: “To thine own self be true.” Shakespeare wrote that, but you knew that, no? Listen, I don’t know how young people pay the rent—we’ve crashed the economy, launched a mass extinction, and elected an orange man almost none of them voted for. The most we can ask of them is forgiveness. So if Junior wants to read Dickinson on your dime, there are worse ways to understand the tragedy of human existence. If he comes to you for advice, you can tell him all about his bright future in plastics.


Q: My daughter is starting preschool and I found out she will eat at a separate table because she has food allergies. I don’t want her to feel there’s something wrong with her.

A: You could find a different preschool. But someday she will lose the spelling bee to Hazel MacIntosh, her prom date will run into the wraith-like arms of Nancy Mumford, and Coach will say she throws like a girl—and she will be OK. Your job is to ensure the milk is cold, the casserole is hot, and punch Coach in the nose for me.