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Dealing With Stereotyping in Degrees

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

‘’So, you want to be an English teacher then?’’

If I had a pound for every time I’ve been asked this question every time I’ve told someone I do an English and History degree, I would probably not be in need of a student loan anymore. I’ve been driven to have an almost robotic response to this question of ‘’no I actually don’t, I’m hoping to go into journalism’’, at which a lot of people are shocked to hear me say or question ‘’why are you doing an English and History degree then?’’.

After being most recently asked this question by a family member a couple of weeks ago, who then went on to make a condescending remark about the difficulty of journalism as if I was somewhat incapable of it, it got me thinking about why we have such strong stereotypes associated with certain subjects. Arts degrees have often been seen as more ‘feminine’ compared to the likes of engineering and science. Although it is 2021, I have still seen these stereotypes withheld by people (albeit the older generation) and I think it is time to let go of this stereotype.

I also found that stereotypes – sometimes in a more humorous manner – were even more prominent in University culture itself. Arts vs Sciences bar crawls, quips about English students ending up working in McDonalds and assumptions of arts degrees being ‘easy’ are all too common. While these are just often light-hearted fun, I think they stem from what we grew up hearing, which isn’t really fair if you prefer Arts over Sciences, like me.

Growing up, it was sort of emphasised that those doing STEM subjects are seen to be blessed with job security, and those doing arts and humanities degrees are often left pondering their futures and feel as if they have to do every extra-curricular under the sun because the degree simply isn’t enough. Often, it felt like those doing STEM subjects were possessing a higher degree than those working in the Arts or Humanities arena…but why? Surely all degree titles should be celebrated?

So why am I doing an English and History degree?

The beauty of an arts or humanities degree is that it leaves so many doors open for you in the future. From teaching to business to politics, the possibilities are vast. Although it may be annoying having to justify this time and time again when asked about your degree, reassuring yourself that your future will not be jobless is the best thing to do. Work hard, follow the path you want to follow, and the rest will fall into place.

I am currently a third year English and History student at the University of Nottingham. I am the Head of Reviews for Impact Magazine as well as the Live Editor for The Mic. In my spare time, I also chat about Formula One on a podcast for URN! My Twitter is @_amritvirdi and my Instagrams are @thevinylwriter and @amritvirdi._ - I also share my published works on these accounts.
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