College is a place where you can grow, learn, and be accepted in an open environment…right?
Most of the time, yes. Until the conversation turns to majors.
Let me just stay that I am grateful to be attending a university that has offered so many opportunities to me; further, that I have been privileged enough to surround myself with people who value education and growth as much as I do.
However, no matter the value my peers have put in me, I can’t help but feel demeaned when finals time comes around and someone points out that I’m *so lucky* I don’t have as much studying to do, or as many projects to complete as she does; after-all, journalism is an easy major…right?
Today I’m talking about “major shaming” – it’s real and it’s gotta stop!
By definition, major shaming is the act of making someone feel embarrassed for their choice of major, often while discrediting the amount of work students in this major put in and comparing it to other, supposedly “harder” majors. It’s mean and it’s common on campuses everywhere.
Now that you know what major shaming is, here are 3 reasons why major shaming is a major problem:
1. Oftentimes, it comes from a place of ignorance.
I want to ask these major shamers, do you actually know anything about the major you’re shaming? What kind of work does it entail? What does it take, time-wise? What are the homework assignments like?
If you’re about to put someone’s major down yet can’t answer these questions in detail, then ask yourself: Are you making some major (pun intended) assumptions without having any concrete information?
The answer is probably yes.
In all areas of life, to make educated statements you need to actually be educated. So, I urge you to ask all the questions in the world before claiming to be an expert on someone else’s field of study. The answers will probably surprise you.
2. Every path poses a different set of challenges.
What’s the difference between completing a case study and a lab report?
Hell if I know, they both sound awful to me!
My point here is that each major requires a certain set of skills in order to be successful. Someone with a math brain may not excel in writing, the same way I crash and burn in just about every math class I have had the displeasure of taking.
As a journalism major, I may not have to take extensive exams during finals period, but do you have to interview members of the FDA on Long Island’s opioid epidemic for your finals period? (Which, not to mention, was a very difficult thing to do.)
You don’t have to, but I’m sure you could, the same way I could write a lab report or take an exam on quadratic equations if I had chosen a field that required it. I chose my path, the same way you chose yours, all the while celebrating that the thing I love doing doesn’t come without challenges.
3. Putting others down is always a no-no.
When in doubt, remember what your mama taught you: if you don’t have something to say, then don’t say it at all!
No one person can do everything and that’s why it’s important that we all study different things — society is built on diversity, after all. Celebrate your strengths, respect the strengths of those around you, and love that you have found passion in a major! And best of luck with finals, no matter what form your finals take!
(For more on this, see our post on so-called “easy” majors.)
I want to hear from you in the comments below!
What does major shaming mean to you? Have you ever felt it? What have you done to combat it?