In my grueling search for academic bliss, I’ve encountered an unfortunate truth: the collegiate education system may have no way to accommodate my wide range of interests. My pursuit for knowledge has been constricted by the severely limited range of concentrations and certificates offered by the administration.

At the peak of my crisis, I stumbled upon the depths of the registrar’s website, where I found some information regarding independent concentrations—which I thought would be the solution to my woes. Since it was phrased in such a way to suggest that the Dean would go to great lengths to guarantee the enrichment of all students, you can imagine my surprise when I received this disappointing email in response to my application for admission into this unique program.

Dear Alexander,

We appreciate your interest in the independent concentration opportunity. As you may already know, we often do not allow many admissions into this line of study, as there are only a handful of instances where no other concentration program is feasible.

While we acknowledge the time spent on your application, we regret to inform you that your proposal does not meet our requirements for a legitimate independent concentration. I urge you to research more common independent concentrations that have been approved in the past.

Unfortunately, my colleagues and I are unfamiliar with the field of “Warrior Cats Studies,” which appears (based on your vague description) to be loosely rooted in the context of a children’s book series first published in 2003. We do not believe that this field of study contains the substantial level of scholarship required for your senior independent work. Additionally, for your two proposed advisors for this academic plan, you failed to name real professors employed by the university and instead listed Dame Judi Dench and Jennifer Hudson. Given that you provided no further reasoning for this choice, we were left to assume that it had something to do with both actresses’ participation in the largely unsuccessful feature film Cats.

If it is possible, my colleagues and I would greatly appreciate any justification at all as to why this field of study is legitimate or falls within a scholarly discourse. But, without a substantial proposal, we encourage you to return to your previous plan of study: a concentration in Slavic Languages with certificates in Jazz and Medieval Studies (although we are equally as concerned with what you intend to do in these fields).

Again, we offer our deepest apologies for this inconvenience. I am happy to meet with you to discuss this issue further.



The Dean of the College


I originally intended to respond to this email privately, but I’ve decided to make my rebuttal public in an attempt to garner support for this cause and hopefully achieve my academic dreams. I suppose I should explain why this proposal does in fact meet the requirements for an independent concentration.


  1. “Independent majors are interdisciplinary in nature.”


I genuinely do not understand what could be more interdisciplinary than Warrior Cats Studies.

This literary masterpiece follows a widespread population of feral cats that have established an intricate political system involving multiple clans and hierarchies within them. By investigating these systems more closely, I am immersing myself in the world of non-human political science. The Warrior Cats’ political system is arguably more intricate than that of humans as it contains something called ‘voting’ where each cat is able to have a say in their clan’s leadership—a concept completely alien to us homo sapiens trash.

The pre-medical track is also an inherent component of Warrior Cats Studies. The female tortoiseshell Spottedleaf—before being tragically murdered—was the healer of Thunderclan and concocted greatly effective tonics and elixirs far more advanced than anything our current pharmaceutical system is producing. In a critical analysis of the feline medical industry published by The World Health Organization (WHO) in 1998, it is even theorized that Spottedleaf was the original manufacturer of Oxycontin.

Psychology is included under the umbrella of this concentration as well, given that the novels have helped me overcome my psychosomatic allergy to cat dander. No psychologist with traditional training has ever been able to do that.


2. “You will need two faculty members to serve as your advisers.”


Frankly, the slanderous comments directed toward Ms. Hudson and Dame Judi were not only uncalled for, but unprofessional. I find it to be irrelevant that neither of these visionaries are employed by the university. Jennifer has been in multiple animated films voicing non-human lifeforms, making her an invaluable addition to my team. And Dame Judi is indisputably the face of wisdom so I assume she’s more competent than any professor here. I am confident that Judi and Jennifer will strategically utilize their Best Supporting Actress Oscars to support me—the lead actress—in the film of life titled Academic Rigor (2023).


3. “You must conduct relevant junior and senior independent research.”


Your concerns about my ability to find substantial scholarship on this topic are, respectfully, laughable. There are plenty of well-known feline figures to draw knowledge from in renowned works of literature and film: Crookshanks (Harry Potter), Tigress (Kung Fu Panda), and Garfield (Garfield).

In fact, after my preliminary research at this point in the fall of my sophomore year, I have already designed the title for my senior thesis:


Fleeting Meowments: Combatting the Short Lifespan of Murderous Felines by Means of University CPS and Genetically Engineered Tenth Lives


Thank you for taking the time to read this. I do hope you reconsider, as your decision will determine the trajectory of my post-collegiate life and career. Without this, I am nothing.



A Student in Desperation