Never Let Your Friends Make You Feel Inferior About Your Major

Every student who comes to the University of Utah will eventually have to make the decision: what to major in. The University of Utah offers more than 80 majors to earn an undergraduate degree in, and that’s not even counting the minors or certificates offered. With that many choices, every student is bound to find a field of study that they are passionate about, which is what makes college incredibly neat! You get to study what you love!

However, they might come a time in your college career when you start to doubt your choice of major, or perhaps feel it is substandard even though you still love what you’re studying. This could happen for many reasons, but the one we’re focusing on today is friends. Let’s face it, friends have a bigger influence over our lives than we perhaps care to admit.

While it’s not uncommon for many of your friends to share the same major as you, after all the classroom is where you meet the most people, odds are not all of your friends will be studying in the same field. If you’re anything like me, the majority of your friends are studying majors very diverse from yours. Which is actually awesome. Sometimes though, it can result in feeling made tender, and even a little hurt.

I am currently double majoring in film and environmental sustainability studies, two subjects I’m utterly in love with. I declared these majors first semester of my freshman year I was so excited about them. I’m happy to report that excitement still persists today.

I really do love what I’m studying. However, neither of my fields of study are really known to be the most challenging, or perhaps career oriented. Which is something that has never really bothered me. I would be happy and knowledgeable on the topics I love then miserable with money. There have been times when comments have been made that have left me feeling inferior about my majors, as if I am the lesser for my choice of study.

Don't ever let yourself feel like this about your major!

Every major and field of study possesses merit and is invaluable to the community. I cannot stress this enough. I have friends pursuing rather rigorous majors especially in the science and math departments. It amazes me daily the work they put into their classes and lab work; I’m constantly impressed. And it usually doesn’t bother me if they ever complain about their workload. That is until they bring me into it. There have been times when I have tried to empathize and received comments such as, “Shut up, you don’t even ever have homework.”

False.

I might not have pages of worksheets and lab reports to finish, but that doesn’t mean I don’t work just as hard as they do. The issue is, sometimes people struggle to see fine arts or social science majors as legitimate work. Instead they view my majors as being composed of fun projects, occasional papers, etc. The projects I’m assigned are work, the papers I write are work, and anything in the etcetera category, is work. Shocking, I know. Even more shocking, I enjoy the work. Which is probably why the misconception exists.  

Being a film major I often times receive, “So what? You just watch movies all the time?” Yes. And then we analyze them scene-by-scene for technical properties, scholarly merit, artistic style, production quality, and much more. Then we learn how to make a film ourselves. The hours poured into learning how to operate advanced filmmaking equipment, how to write a script- and one that’s actually good at that, how many people it takes to shoot a movie, every job you will find on set, the endless time put into editing, and how much effort it takes to actually get a film out there. It’s fantastic and I love it. But it takes time, and it’s hard work. Now, if none of this strikes you as legitimate work then shame on you. I don’t demote your field of study or its significance, just as you shouldn’t demote mine.

And everything I listed above is extremely important and significant in my mind. But, that doesn’t mean I consider it more important than fields of science or mathematical studies. Every major is equal in my mind. You never know how hard someone works until you walk a mile in their shoes.

However, it’s not just fine arts students that face this judgment, as the grass is always greener.

As I mentioned, many of my closest friends are pursuing degrees in the sciences, and I’ve noticed the opinions of others have the same influence over them as it does me. It’s in comments such as, “Wow. I mean good for you. I would never study science or math again.” While a comment such as this might not feel judgmental from the one delivering it, it holds a different weight with the person receiving. Science and math majors don’t constantly need to be reminded that what they are pursuing is “hard” or perhaps even “nerdy”. Comments like these make them feel other people think their choice of study lacks passion and personality.

Ha, false.

To study sciences and math requires the same passion as studying fine arts. You have to love what you do. You have to love what you study. And science and math majors have a deep love and passion for the work they do.

When fine arts majors comment on how they couldn’t bear to not study what they love, even if it means they’re going to have it harder down the road, it leaves other majors feeling inferior themselves. As if they didn’t have the passion or bravery to go into a different field of study. As if they should feel guilty for wanting success, especially economic success. I’m here to tell you, from the opposite end of the field, you have no need to ever feel judged for studying something, that odds are, you will find more success in the world then I will. I’m talking to you science and math majors: your passion for these fields of study is important to our community and to keeping our world diverse and intelligent, and I hold an equal admiration for you as I do fine arts and social majors. And to you fine arts majors, never feel that just because it’s not typical to find economic success in your field of study, does that mean you’re not successful or worthy. Mastering an art is one of the greatest successes that could be achieved in life. And never feel that just because you’re not making calculations or testing hypothesis, that your work is insignificant.

No matter what your major, no matter what other people say about your choice, or their choice, remember this: every major holds merit. Every field of study is important. There is none greater than another. There is none lesser than another. Go out and find what you love in this world. Study it. Live it. Never undermine another person’s choice, and never let anyone bring you down about yours.