If you choose to go to a liberal arts college and study the social sciences or the humanities, there is one question that you’ll inevitably face about your choice of academic discipline: So, what are you going to do with that?
While not an illogical question to ask any person in their late teens or early 20s, the query is often infused with an added level of judgement or disbelief when you study something like philosophy or anthropology rather than computer science or biology. This is particularly true when there exists — elsewhere — an “obvious” degree connected to your career path of choice. In my case, that would be a journalism degree.
My senior year of high school, I made two of the most important decisions of my life. The first was where to attend college. The second was to share a secret I’d harbored since age 11.
The Moroccan sun was blazing outside, lighting up Rabat, the city that would come to feel like a second home to me. In the maze-like medina, the oldest part of the city, women were bargaining for fish and bread. Pastry chefs were selling fresh almond candy to children who were leaving school for their afternoon break.
Old men sat in cafes on the side of the road — smoking cigarettes and sipping espresso for hours, talking to old friends. Fishermen were hauling their daily catch in the bay next to Le Dhow, a traditional Arab wooden boat with a bar inside. Businessmen were catching trains and university students were cramming into trams. And in the middle of the city was me. Sitting alone in McDonalds, eating french fries and crying my eyes out.