An Ode to the College Student with a “Useless Major”

 

This one is to the gals and pals who are majoring in something “useless” in college. As a Women’s and Gender Studies major, I had to go in depth to my parents when I decided to switch my major and how it actually applies to my career goals more than my previous major did. Every time I tell someone what my major is - and we all know that we have to do this every time we talk to any adult ever - I automatically have tacked on “It seems like a useless major but it really isn’t! I want to go into human rights and this is actually giving me more context than my International Relations major was!” Honesty? It’s kind of draining.

 

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Why isn’t an acceptable reason to major in something because it interests me? Why does it have to intrinsically tie to something specific, or be a guaranteed “money maker” degree in order to be a valid decision? The answer is definitely capitalism and the economic situation students in my generation (the awkward in-between of Millennial and Gen-Z culture) find ourselves in. The 2008 financial crisis made it next to impossible to save up for college, so now I’m taking out thousands in student loans. Therefore, my investment must be “good enough” to support me after college with all this debt that I’m accruing. 

 

However, isn’t higher education to expand our knowledge, discover different points of view, and to be exposed to new situations? Nowadays, many jobs don’t need a specific degree, as long as you have a bachelor’s degree. Emerging online jobs or self-employment opportunities might not even need a college degree in general! In my opinion, we should enjoy our college experiences by majoring in something that intrinsically interests us, rather than majoring in a “money maker” degree and being bored for not only my four years of college, but also for however many years I have a job in that field.

 

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Don’t get me wrong - there are people who are intrinsically interested in “money maker” fields, and more power to you if you are! Honestly, sometimes I wish that I felt that way. However, I find my passion lays in human rights, social activism, and fighting for the “right thing,” whatever that may be that day. But why should that subject me to automatic judgment, especially from older generations, for not prioritizing the employability of a major or the starting salary that I could have right out of college?

 

Maybe I’m naive for prioritizing my interests over potential salaries with more than a few zeros, but right now I’m happy and that’s something that we can all strive for in our lives.