You double major in linguistics and astronomy..
After a couple of semesters, you realize that you’ve chosen astronomy because it is as close as you can come to majoring in “science fiction”. But what the heck, you’ve almost completed both degrees, so you finish.
In the meantime, you’ve developed quite a set of peeves about so-called “alien” languages in science fiction books, movies, and television. Most are clearly Indo-European and have no interesting features at all!
As you are investigating linguistics Ph.D. programs, you happen to mention your “alien” language peeve to a friend of a friend at another university. It turns out that his wife is working on a new television series for the Sci Fi Channel, and she’s a fan of Steven Pinker (who was unavailable). Do you want the job?
Take the job.
Pass and just go to grad school in linguistics.