Taylor Corley, Campus Carrier arts & living editor
Growing up I was told that going to college was supposed to be one of the most exciting and fruitful periods of your life. It’s a time when every individual can experiment with who they are, what they like and what intrigues them and delve into the classes they really love. Essentially, college (meaning the classes you take, people you meet, clubs you join and even the books you read) is supposed to help you discover yourself so that when faced with the personal decision of declaring a major you can do so confidently.
So why is it that we feel the need to disregard certain majors just because it’s not something everyone is interested in? If most people grew up with this expectation of college, or at least some variation of it in mind, why do we act like certain majors are so easy people don’t even need school for them?
To me, there is absolutely no need for competition between majors. The college application process is competitive enough and we’re going to have to compete again when it comes time to apply for graduate school. But what we seem to have forgotten with the societal prioritization of majors is that each major is important in its own way because it’s what a student does with their major that matters.
Today’s workforce relies heavily on networking. It’s more about who you know rather than what you know. Skill can be acquired, connection cannot. Which again emphasizes my point that a major is supposed to be chosen based off of personal interests so that students can grow as people working in a subject they love.
We tend to praise the majors that lead students towards jobs with large paychecks, which maybe speaks to society’s obsession with the idea that you have to be rich and materialistic in order to be fulfilled. But who’s to say a pre-med student will be more successful than a student who’s majoring in liberal arts?
This measure of success has been taught to us since we were kids. Whether measured by money or IQ, the idea that smart kids are doctors, that smart kids are scientists, that smart kids are engineers and that these kids are going to have better, higher paying jobs has been drilled into our heads since elementary school.
As a result of this way of thinking, I cannot count the amount of times my communication major, or any major that’s not STEM for that matter, has been the butt of a joke. But the reality is, I don’t want to write a five page research paper anymore than a biology major wants to balance chemical equations.
Sure, writing a paper or reading a short story for homework may seem easy, and I’m going to be honest, it is. But not for the reasons you may think. To me it’s easy because I love it. Reading and writing and communicating is what I love most and it’s what I do best… that’s why it’s my major.
There really is no such thing as an “easy” or “hard” major because if you’re lucky enough to find a major you enjoy, no matter how challenging the assignment may be, it should be somewhat enjoyable because it’s taking you one step closer to the career you’re pursuing.
The thing is, I shouldn’t have to constantly be on the defense for my major. I shouldn’t have to feel like my decision and my passions are lesser than someone else’s.
I’m also not downplaying the amount of work or effort it takes to be a STEM major, that contradicts my argument. I just think that rather than ranking our majors based on difficulty, success rates, average salaries or amounts of homework, we should recognize the importance of all of them and root for each other.
As harsh as this may sound, our majors do not guarantee anything on the path we have ahead of us. Instead of wasting time worrying which major is more valuable and pitting ourselves against each other, we should take the time to recognize that a combination of STEM majors, libral arts majors and trade schools is what makes our society work.