Come to think of it, that goal was hatched after, as undergraduate English majors, we had already taken way too many British, American, French, and Spanish literature courses. Of course, that didn't make sense. What more could we have learned when literature, after all, was intended to be, like Buddhist meditation, an enligthening experience?
That was a fad. The fun was supposed go on and on as we were entitled, after all that intellectual rigor, to a teaching job at a fine university or a liberal arts college in New England.
Not that we hadn't been warned that there were few jobs but, blessed with magical thinking, we believed we would get one. When we didn't, we took more high-level courses and seminars to enhance our credentials. Finally the powers that be forced us out. Not too many newbies could get in because admissions were cut from robust double digits to low teens. And eventually that was that. The fad ran its course, no pun intended.
Sounds a lot like the peculiar phenomenon of going to law school, doesn't it. Applications are down about 25%. The job situation could get worse. And if law firms are shrewd about cutting expenses, fewer of those who did get jobs will keep them. However, there is still a pile-in to learn the law. Had the applicants gone to a public high school in an upscale town like West Hartford, Connecticut, they could have gotten much of that in a civics course. So, what are they doing in law school? Much of what we were doing in literature doctoral programs. That includes:
Living the socialist lifestyle. Healthcare, including intensive psychiatric, eating and sleeping accommodations on campus, and discounted entertainment are all provided. One of my acquaintances is considering returning to "the program" to finish up the Ph.D. in order to get low-cost medical coverage and her head shrunk.
Feeling superior. Academia thrives on the message that what goes on there is of more value and of more importance than what takes place anywhere outside the intellectual fortress.
Protected from adulthood. Even those who had held down responsible positions once upon a time regressed to self-indulgent adolescents. A great old time is had by all.
Access to loans. Unlike in the world I live in today, borrowing power is essentially unlimited. No one can resist the siren call of applying for and receiving a ton of money.
As with giving up everything to be admitted to a top doctoral program in literature, the stampede to law school will end. Fads, as I mentioned earlier, run their course.