59: Graduation

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Opening dialogue by Scott
Title text: Opening dialogue by Scott

[edit] Explanation

Megan and a young blonde discuss their plans after the college. The blonde doesn't know what she wants to do with her life, so she is going to go to grad school. Graduate school is the next level of education after undergraduate work, where students pursue a master's or doctoral degrees.

Megan, on the other hand, has decided to become a lighthouse operator, a path that has become increasingly less traveled. Fewer people need lighthouses. Before GPS technology, lighthouses were invaluable markers of where the sea ended and where land began. Megan likes the idea of being the maid in the highest tower. Except where most fairy tales portray the maid in the tower as helpless, waiting to be rescued, operating a lighthouse is far from helpless. It can be one of the most needed jobs for sea-farers to find their way safely back home.

Other comics with a similar theme about finding or taking unexplored paths, instead of fitting into the mold, includes 137: Dreams and 267: Choices: Part 4.

Scott appears to be a friend of Randall Munroe. Comics 57 through 59 all have the title text "Opening dialogue by Scott", forming a sort of informal mini-series inspired by him.

Referenced in:

[edit] Transcript

[Megan and Blonde are talking.]
Blonde (or Ms. Lenhart): What do you want to do when you graduate?
Megan: I want to become a lighthouse operator.
Blonde: Oh?
Megan: Yeah.
[Cut to scene of lighthouse with text overlaid.]
Megan: Lighthouses are built on interesting pieces of coast, so I'll have an interesting place to walk and swim, and great views of all kinds of weather. I'd feel good about myself and my work every single day.
[Cut back to the two girls.]
Megan: I'd get to be the girl in the tower, only I'd be the one rescuing people.
Megan: Why. What do you want to do ?
Blonde: I'm going to grad school. I don't really know why.
Megan: Wanna come hang in my lighthouse over breaks?
Blonde: ...yeah.
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This is very likely not Miss Lenhart. Her hair is the same, but the official transcript simply calls her "blonde", she's clearly a somewhat aimless student and not a teacher, and the strip does not fit the pattern stated as a certainty on her character page, where she is specifically named in every appearance. Also, this is a very early comic where Randall likely didn't have future characters in mind yet. So, I'm removing her name from the transcript. - jerodast (talk) 14:38, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

Randall talks about Miss Lenhart only a few months later, in 135: Substitute. It's impossible for us to know whether he had her in mind or not at this time, but the character ambiguity is standard for xkcd (not less so in the early ones). Since she is at least relevant in any investigation of Miss Lenhart, I'll include her in the categories, and it'll be open for everyone to make up their own minds! –St.nerol (talk) 20:37, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Even teachers were once aimless students. Perhaps this conversation inspired Lenhart to be a teacher 18:23, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
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