Island sees majors struggle to survive

Illustration of a desert island with "SOS" written in the sand.
By Emma Ford

In a move that would make the professor of any ethics class very happy, I wish today to propose a hypothetical to you. Imagine, if you will, a great ship, its masts tall and proud, its sails billowing in the wind. See it, grand in your mind’s eye, sailing azure seas, a p*oneer of freedom and exploration, or at least that is what the PR branding would say.

Now see it dashed against the vicious rocks of a deserted island. After rolling and pitching in a tempestuous storm, the mighty ship succumbs to the elements, a sole surviving lifeboat making it to shore, passengers fleeing the wreckage. See them, in your imagination, crawling to safety.

Did you picture Lewis & Clark students? I forgot to mention that part.

For the subjects of our thought experiment are they. I propose to you, dear reader, a question rivaling the trolly problem: Which majors at this school would survive marooning on this hypothetical deserted island? Who has the strength of character, the mettle, to live to see rescue?

With the utmost care and research that a good IA/PoliSci double major is sure to do, I have unearthed the answer to this question of great import — as sorted by major, the following are the deaths I predict this imaginary group of LC students shall face during their time on the island.

In all fairness, I believe that all of the major majors (get it) on the island would survive the first 24 hours. The hardiness of our students who endure Bon food and dorm living would allow many of them to start a shelter and a fire (and hopefully keep the two separate), gather some rudimentary food and figure out how not to spread STDs like COVID cases through Copeland. This is within our power.

However, after the first few days, the casualties would begin to mount. Unfortunately for my beloved friends in Computer Science, their lack of regular sun exposure will not serve them well. Hiding from UV rays under palm trees will not save them from horrific burns, and, shortly afterwards, death from acute dehydration. A lifetime of exclusively consuming Monster Energy drinks will leave them with no water reserves, and that eventually catches up with a girl.

Shortly thereafter, the Theatre majors will follow them to the grave. Eventually, they will tire of reciting woeful monologues from “The Tempest,” and will turn to a surefire coping mechanism.  In the longstanding tradition of that slutty, slutty department, one Theatre major will proposition the others with the reasoning of needing to stay warm (never mind the tropical setting). In the proceeding, ah, activities, the battered survivors already coping with eyeliner withdrawal will overestimate their stamina, confidence having been overly boosted by the recent orgy that was the Once Upon a Weekend party. To put a fine point on it, they are gonna fuck each other to death. What a way to go!

By the end of the week, we will also see the end of the Philosophy majors, and no, it is not nihilistic. In the pursuit of outdoing Descartes and proving they are actually on the island, they will forget to eat. Leaving the cave means nothing if you cannot feed yourself.

After this initially devastating period, we will see some peace for a while as the remaining survivors settle in for the long haul, with the exception of Studio Arts majors who will poison themselves trying to make paint to decorate their shelters. 

All peace will be shattered by the mauling of SOAN majors, who will attempt to interview a jungle cat for an ethnographic study of the island, only for the interview to turn bloody. What an intriguing commentary on the inherent violence in human-animal relations! At this point, we move away from natural causes, and into inter-major violence — where we were always destined to end up.

International Affairs and Political Science majors, so often linked, will devolve into a recreation of Lord of the Flies in trying to decide on a temporary government. As anarchy sweeps over the island majors, a great battle will brew, leading to their annihilation. In the melee, the English majors (watching smugly on the sidelines, having correctly analyzed the story and identified the Jesus figure, feeling quite superior to their peers), will be killed in the crossfire. Maybe if they were not so pompous about their media literacy… Oh well, it makes for a satisfying conclusion to their narrative arc.

Many breathe a sigh of relief now that Political Science students, who would not know how to realistically govern if they were paid to do so, are out of the picture. At this point, I believe a council of students made up of some overly ambitious Math majors and a few quirky RHMS folks would be attempting to rule the island in the absence of anyone who has actually taken Con Law. 

This council of students will be responsible for the death of the Psychology majors. For the crime of conducting a series of experiments on the History majors without the oversight of an ethics board, they will be publicly, summarily executed, leaving the island with not a single underqualified therapist to help survivors cope with the losses.

Economics majors will similarly die at the hands of fellow students. After attempting to start a currency made of coconut shells and provide risky loans to fellow castaways, it will become clear to the islanders that the loans will never be repaid. The bank built on the back of these subprime loans will collapse, and enraged at having their credit ruined even on a desert island, a band of survivors will carry out the extrajudicial killing of the Economics majors. Next time, they might do well to remember that economics is not about money, but the welfare money allows us to measure.

It is only after these killings that the untimely death of the World Languages majors will shake the few remaining survivors from their bloodlust. While trying to signal a passing ship via semaphore, an argument between the students will distract them sufficiently that they will be swept tragically out to sea (after all, unlike so many other majors, World Languages never bothered anybody).

After this, the last survivors will be much more cautious. Took them long enough. Classics majors sit round the fire composing Homeric oral poetry and the Music majors will critique their rhythm — the hallmarks of a society at rest.

But before their rescue, the History majors, made paranoid by the Psych experiments conducted on them as well as fears of becoming the next Donner Party, will have become so malnourished from refusing to eat any meat and will die of starvation. The truly tragic part? No adequate documentation! At least take a census and throw it to the waves in a bottle.

Our sole survivors, rescued after months of horror and bloodshed, will be Biology, Chemistry and their Weird Barbie mashup of Biochemistry majors. After all, they seem like they have pretty good heads on their shoulders. The ability to identify edible plants, as well as pass Calc I, has prepared them to survive any hardship. By the time they are rescued by a passing freighter, they will be seasoned survivors. But the horrors they endured, even with the relative unfeeling nature of STEM bitches, will stay with them forever.

Thank you, dear reader, for engaging with my hypothetical. I truly believe that in the very realistic event of shipwreck on an idyllic yet deserted island, this is exactly what would go down. If you have alternate opinions, please submit them to (as well as a personal statement that includes your major and expresses your discontentment for how I killed them off/neglected to include them. Rhetoric and Media Studies, that is a threat and a challenge.) 

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