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7 Majors That Are Harder Than They Look

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at NYU chapter.

Let’s face it, we’ve all gone through the interrogation sessions with our peers, our families and even ourselves over whether or not a particular major was easy, worth doing, or even able to create a sustainable career path for us. Most of the time, the humanities are labeled as the “easy majors.” However, take a look for yourself and you’ll see that these seven majors are a lot more challenging than you thought. 

1. Journalism

Ah, the useless major that leads to bare minimum wages at a newspaper, and the smarter version of the English major. So, what’s the point of a major like this? Well, firstly, it gives students a practical, highly realistic and solid idea of the journalism world. Think about all the two-day deadlines, or that fact that journalism majors cover events on a midterm night and learn AP style all in one-go. Too easy, right? Secondly, you can be rest assured that you’ll still be able to find quality articles on the world’s economic crisis in the future, thanks to all these journalism majors. Add on to that the fact that journalism majors are preparing to sacrifice their lives to coffee-stained first drafts permanently. They’re prepared for little contact with family members and constant 24/7 travel for media coverage. Because of this, you might understand why journalism is not oh-so-easy as it sounds.

2. English

The controversial elder sister of journalism is back, and poorer than ever, right? Wrong. Steven Spielberg was an English major. Surprise, surprise for everyone out there belittling English majors.The English major is perceived as being “easy” because all one really does in an English major is supposedly analyze fiction. However, what English majors won’t tell you is the multiple drafts they scramble through on one topic, the hundreds of pages they must read for each class and the clever, witty responses their professors expect from them in class. Every. Single. Time.

Not everything in the English major involves writing or reading Shakespeare. It involves understanding people, learning about various cultures across the centuries, grasping the art of verbal communication, and most importantly, learning how to embrace yourself by embracing others, fiction or real life. Unsurprisingly, the English major prepares you for the trepidations and joys of life. So the next time you belittle an English major, remember you might see them handling a complicated issue better than you.

3. Business

What exactly is a Business major? A quick excuse to learn how to start up your own company? Unlike Engineering majors, Business majors are frequently mocked for not possessing “serious” concentrations, apart from Accounting and Actuarial Science concentrated-majors. Marketing? An excuse to get into the advertising side of things. Business Management and Administration? Like we really need people focusing on that? But yes, we really do need people focusing on that. Business majors are involved in the economics of our everyday lives, from the check we deposit at the bank teller to the latest Hershey’s ads we see on TV. They learn how to handle the financial world at an accelerated pace, how to help non-financial people discover the ABC’s of finance and most importantly, how to keep up and prevent countries from tearing at each other’s heads because of international borrowing. The world of economics looks easy. However, once you discover the demand and supply chart, your head might start spinning and you might realize Business majors are more “useful” than expected. We need them. Point Blank.

4. Education

The most useless major of our time, especially since teachers don’t seem to be getting any better in high schools, right? Education majors are constantly ridiculed for doing nothing except “educating” kids and teaching them how to multiply. Sadly, many forget that education majors play an extremely pivotal role in future generations. These are the people who are going to teach your kid how to write, how to read, why countries in the world behave a certain way, and most importantly, they will equip your kids with the set of skills needed for college, career and life. Learning how to teach may seem ridiculously easy. However, handling kids and keeping them entertained whilst teaching them is a whole other matter.        

5. Language Majors

Parlez-vous français? Non! Aber, kennen Sie Deutsche ? Bamboozled by these phrases? Wondering how on earth you assemble French and German sentences like those? Well, that’s one of the many facets of a typical Language major’s job. A lot of people assume that language majors merely learn the language of that particular country all day long. Or bask in that particular country’s food. We wish we did that. It would be so much easier. However, language majors partake in way more than that. They not only have to be fluent in that particular nation’s language but also have to be equally as knowledgeable about that particular country’s literature, arts, politics, economics and social situation across the centuries. This means dozens of nights ruminating over how Goethe contributed to the German Romantic movement, or why the French government reacted in such a manner during De Gaulle’s reign. This may sound easy and useless at the same time. However, remember that many countries speak languages other than English as one of their first languages, which means diplomats, world leaders, scientists, businessmen, actors, and writers will be discussing things in multiple languages. At. The. Same. Time.

That’s where people who majored in Language come in. They act as your translators, your interpreters, your journalists, your diplomats and your businessmen. They ensure that no argument arises over a misinterpretation of a culture’s values during an international discussion. In a nutshell, they’re important.

6. Psychology

This is the major that tends to divide people because of their opinions on it. You either belong to the “it’s so easy, why is it a major?” camp or the “OMG, isn’t dealing with people so stressful that it turns you mentally unstable yourself?” camp. One of my best friends, a fellow Psych major, would attest that both these camps’ opinions’ are equally as misleading as the other. Psychology doesn’t transform one into a psycho, nor is it a walk in the park to learn. It actually combines science with humanity subjects, like philosophy, to train majors into understanding and helping many individuals deal with mental health problems. Most of the times, psychologists are confronted by the starkest of realities, where they only have an hour or two to convince their patients not to swallow down a pill or prevent a marriage from completely shattering into violent smithereens. Do these situations sound anything like the word “easy” Heck no.

Whilst we give supreme accreditation to doctors and dentists, we tend to forget psychologists and the amount of stress they are constantly put under. Dealing with the physical side of a patient is one thing. However, dealing with the psychological side is a whole separate dimension, one that can be equally as complicated.

7. Nursing

The less talented version of a MD, right? Most people tend to look down on a nursing degree and forget that all nurses are as equally as important as a doctor when it comes to patient care. After all, nurses are the ones constantly tending to patients 24/7 and dealing with them physically and psychologically. Can you imagine how exhausting that must be? Having to plaster on a smile in front of your patients when all you want to do is jump on the sofa, order a pizza and watch the latest episode of How To Get Away With Murder? It’s hard. And heartbreaking.

Nurses act as the ‘fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and friends’ to patients, constantly encouraging them to get better whilst making them feel at home in the hospital. In addition to that, their subject load in school is not exactly the easiest – think loads of chemistry and biology over the years.


Dakshayani Shankar is currently a sophomore at NYU, pursuing majors in Journalism and French as well as a minor in German. When not analyzing novels on French princes, she can be found perusing through the Met, looking for the best dessert bars in NYC, watching Disney cartoons or playing the violin. Besides Her Campus NYU, you can find her work featured on her blog, WSN's The Higlighter, Her Culture and The Culture Trip. WordPress :https://dakshayanishankar.wordpress.com/ WSN's The Highlighter :http://wsnhighlighter.com/columns/rendez-vous-with-art/ Her Culture :http://www.herculture.org/theblog/?author=5569c62be4b09b4e298cfaea#.VW0cClWqqko
Madison is a current Gallatin junior pursuing a concentration in Magazine Journalism and a minor in Nutrition. Besides obsessing over french bulldogs, peanut butter, and books, she aspires to be an editor someday. The city serves as her limitless inspiration, and you can most likely spot her in the park either writing away or leafing through magazines. She is currently the campus correspondent for Her Campus NYU and has previously interned and written for Bustle.com, Harper's Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and NYLON. She believes in freshly baked cookies and never taking herself too seriously. Except when it comes to her career, of course.  "Creativity is intelligence having fun." - Albert Einstein