The Struggle of Being a STEM Major

There are a lot of late night ciders and sleepless nights in your future. Being any major in college is hard. Being a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) sometimes seems impossible.

People will question you on your decisions and tell you you’re wasting your time. I can’t tell you how many times I get asked “why are you a STEM major?” or get told I’m wasting my time and am doing college wrong. If you’re a woman in STEM, particularly engineers, you might experience your peers or professors talking down to you and expecting you not to know anything. You just have to find your passion for why you decided to join this arena. For me, being a STEM major is all about knowing that the field I hope to be a part of is working towards bettering the lives of people locally and globally.

You have 2 or 3 labs a week, whereas your friends and roommates often have zero. Sometimes you end up with really sh*tty times for lab and don’t get out until 9 pm on a Wednesday. Labs are the worst part of being a STEM major. While they can be interesting and give you valuable hands-on experience, the amount of time you spend in lab plus the long hours you put in on your lab reports outside of lab take up a good chunk of your week. On the bright side, you have some sick lab coats and goggles to wear to themed mixers!

Trying to balance your social life on top of your academic career sometimes feels like an insurmountable feat. You spend hours and hours in the lib studying and all you want to do when you get home is go take a nap. But, your friends or roommates want you to go socialize and go out with them. It’s hard trying to figure out the right balance of when to stay in and study or go out and live the college dream. Keep them close though. Your friends are the ones that keep you sane and force you to go on adventures with them. (Shoutout to my amazing roommates who have gotten me through this quarter and have taken me on adventures)

Every once in a while, you find those STEM professors who get it and understand what you’re going through because chances are they’ve been through it, too. One of my professors recently gave me some really good advice. She told me to always remember to take time for myself, not only to exercise but also to socialize. I thought it was weird my professor was telling me to go out on a weekend night with my friends, but she made a good point. I have to learn to budget my time and have a couple hours or one day a week or whatever set aside so that I can go on those weekend adventures with my friends and have the life of a 20 year old. I’m not saying I’m the best at that, but it’s been a good perspective to have as the quarter ends and a new one is about to begin.

My advice to you as a STEM major is find your favorite study spot, your favorite study drink, and most importantly, really take the time to go hang out and socialize and do whatever it is that helps you relieve stress.