What Nobody told me about being a Liberal Arts Major

My entire life I was told that I could be whatever I wanted to be. I was told to have big, brave dreams, and to hold onto them tightly. I was told to do whatever it takes to make myself happy, to find a fulfilling career, to be happy. So I went to college, and I am currently double majoring in sociology and journalism with a minor in creative writing. My entire life, all I’ve done and all I’ve wanted to do was write. So I’m doing it.

The first thing I heard when I got to college and I told someone my major was, “That’s so fun!” While to that person it was a harmless comment, to me, it was very condescending. I don’t want to be in a major that is “fun”, I want to be in a major that is important, that will get me into a career I find rewarding, and that will allow me to impact the world with words.

Going to a school that is dominated by STEM majors, I constantly find myself having to defend my major, my classes, and the work I am doing. I have to explain what my goals are, and defend the career I want to have.

I once saw a Snapchat around 2 in the morning of someone still awake studying with the caption, “When you’re a STEM major so you’re still up at 2am.” I thought, why is it that this person believes that STEM majors have so much of a workload that they are the only ones up late? In fact, the only reason I was awake to see their Snapchat was because I was still awake working on a paper for my sociology class. I have heard a biomedical science major say that, “I need my car on campus because as a STEM major, I need a lot of breaks and time off campus.” I always question why people feel like STEM majors are the ones working the hardest, the ones doing the most valuable work, and the ones that deserve the most respect.

By no means do I believe that I work harder than STEM majors, or that I deserve anything more than them, but I do believe that the education I am getting deserves to be valued. When I decided on my major, nobody told me that I would have to hear that “sociology is not real”, or that it is “not really going to be impressive to employers.” Nobody told me that people would think of me as, “taking the easy path in college.”  Nobody told me that late nights, long hours, and hard work seems to be reserved for those working with numbers instead of words, and for those making graphs instead of writing papers.

As someone who is double majoring and minoring, who writes for HerCampus and my school newspaper, and has a leadership position on campus, it does not feel good to have my education and my work discredited. It does not feel good to be subtly told that I don’t deserve to be tired, busy, or burned out. I am tired of defending myself and my education, and I am tired of trying to prove its worth to people who don’t care. I am busy writing 2 articles a week as well as taking classes. I am burned out from trying to keep alive what little faith I have that anyone will give me respect for the work I do.

To every liberal arts major that has ever been told that your education is worthless, keep going. One day, when you get where you’re going, you will hold your degree with pride and find all your joy in it. You will wake up and go to the job that you love and are successful in, and all the people that ever called your education worthless will be looking up at you. Stay Strong Sister.

 

Katrina