This May, I’ll be leaving campus for good. After a long four years, my time as an undergrad will come to an end. The all-nighters, coffee addiction, cramming, and finals weeks will all be in the past—although, let’s be real, I’ll probably still keep the coffee addiction.
As my final weeks rapidly approach, I’m constantly finding myself reflecting on what’s happening around me. I’ll miss the culture of college: there is a general consensus that every student has a low bank account, avoids responsibilities until the last minute, and doesn’t have their sh*t together. Something I’ve noticed these past four years is another contributing aspect to this culture: a certain hierarchy.
I’m talking about major shaming. You know, like when you tell someone in a different field or college what you’re studying and they give a passive aggressive “I wish my major was that easy.” Business majors shame education majors, education majors shame liberal arts and sciences, liberal arts and sciences shame art majors—it happens all. the. time.
It should stop, and here’s why:
Literally every major has their difficulties. I’m an English major, and about 85% of the time I tell someone this, they respond with this classic “what are you going to do with that?” One time, someone actually scolded me for spending so much money on a “barista degree.” Nice. Actually, I’ll be using the critical thinking and writing skills I’ve learned in my major to eventually become a legal aids attorney after law school. Literary theorists and scholars such as Judith Butler, Du Bois, and Hannah Arendt have given me insight on how and why social inequalities occur. This will help me in the future.
Another folly with the “my major is harder than yours” mentality is that it’s nearly impossible to compare coursework between completely different fields. I’ll never understand accounting, and accounting majors typically don’t write 10 to 20 pages worth of research each week. My brother, who studies civil engineering, takes courses I could never even imagine passing (chemistry and physics-based courses); however, Jackson is always asking me to help with any English or writing-intensive course he is required to take, because writing papers is not his strong suit.
The bottom line is this: each student has their own individual academic strengths. While you may excel in a field related to liberal arts and sciences, that does not make you any better or worse than someone in the education or business field. Each major is unique and has plenty to offer the world. This is how society works.