Conquering the Negative Stigma Against Certain Majors

Every word in the English language has two meanings: the denotative and the connotative meaning. The denotation of a word refers to the dictionary definition, while the connotation of a word refers to the meaning a word has acquired from society. The connotation of a word typically takes form as a positive or a negative and that association transcends over time and geographical location.

Before coming to college, I never realized that a person’s major has both a denotative and connotative meaning. As a rising junior, I have now come to the understanding that many people associate certain majors as being lesser than others. I, among probably thousands of others, have found my studies put under a microscope because it seems “too easy.” The majors that are typically targeted are communication, English and education.

The first question you typically get asked as a college student is “what is your major?” Whenever I get asked this question, this conversation typically goes like this…

Person: “What’s your major?”

Me: “Strategic Communication”

Person: “Ohhh… so that’s easy… do you ever have any work?”



Everything is subjective. It is impossible to compare any two majors based solely on the fact that, what is easy for one person is not easy for another. Besides the level of difficulty of a major, we truly do not know what it is like to be in the other person’s shoes. Each major requires a different type of intelligence and every person has a type of intelligence that fits him or her best. Even if you look at two people in the same major, studying for one test for someone may take three hours while for someone else it may take 10.

It is easy to think in terms of the quantity of work. I could calculate how many tests, papers, quizzes, etc., that I have and compare that to someone of a different major and see whose major was “harder.” However, those things are not what matters. Everything is not a competition. For some reason people feel the need to mention his or her major as if it would be impressive to another.

The most important thing when choosing a career path is to choose something you love. I always hated science, it is not that I could not grasp the concepts, it just did not intrigue me. So when I chose my major, I strayed from anything related to science.

This is all like comparing apples to oranges. Even if we could find a way to accurately rank majors in order hardest to least hard, what would be the point? Our society today is too focused on comparison. If you are happy with what you are doing, there is no reason why you need to justify that. We tend to look around to others to make sure that we are kept in check and we are where we are supposed to be, but in reality there is nowhere we should “be.”

When someone states their major, it should not trigger you to think of his or her strengths or weaknesses but it should make you think about what they are passionate about. For example, if someone is an English major, it does not mean that they are ONLY good at English and lack skills in math or science. It means that they are interested in English and wish to use that in the future. On the contrary, if someone tells you they are a science major, it does not mean that they are lack English skills.

I think that Emma Stone summed it up perfectly. If you do what you love, you will never regret it. You cannot base what you want to do off of others. People may judge you and think that what you are doing is not important, but it is. EVERY career choice is a good choice. You can never please everyone so just please yourself.