T.O. Student Ponders: “What is T.O.?”
By Axel Hellman
How do I know something? How do I know I know something? How do I know I’ll get a job with this degree?
These, and others like them, are the questions that Thematic Option students confront on a daily basis.
T.O., Dornsife’s liberal arts honors program, prides itself on asking questions that don’t have answers.
On Tuesday afternoon, T.O. freshman student and rugged individualism major Xavier Blake emerged from his CORE 222 “Core Concepts and Foundations of Underlying Theories” class entranced in critical thought.
Blake was dazed and confused by the onslaught of Greek epics, thesis statements and class discussions about a book that nobody had read.
By the time The Sack of Troy caught up with him, a thousand-word essay with at least four citations was brewing in his head.
“I’ve been in these T.O. classes for almost two months now,” he said, “Every time the professor reads The Odyssey out loud in ancient Greek, I can’t help but feel like I know less and less about what this class is, let alone what T.O is.”
He mused on, “I mean really, is it possible to truly know anything at all?”
Blake’s professor, E. Barnaby Barnsworth, thinks that reconsidering everything you’ve ever known is an integral part of the college experience, “Analyzing the classics, close-reading, writing essays about symbolism…these are the skills our young graduates need for the modern workplace.”
The professor, who also teaches Core 188 “Humanistic Approaches to Humanity,” responded to criticism of T.O., “It’s not like you’re ever going to use math or science while pursuing your PhD. in Slavic Postmodernism.”
“And real-life application? Please. What about when your boss tells you to finish reading Plato and to have it on his desk by 5?” he continued.
Although Blake had originally planned to go into the essay writing industry upon graduation, his recent introspection has him reconsidering his career goals.
“What if T.O. is meaningless?” he asked, “What if all we’re doing is writing papers, reading books, and bluffing our way through discussions without actually gaining anything?”
Upon the realization that his work is meaningless, Blake immediately began writing about nihilist theory for his next T.O. essay.