“Oh, so you’re planning on being homeless after you graduate?”
Not shockingly, as an English major I get this response a lot. I’ve heard everything from “You’re literally paying to study your own language,” to “That’s not a real major.” And after a while, I found myself jumping to the punchline before anyone could even start the joke.
“Oh, don’t worry! I’m an English major, so we can share a box together after graduation!”
Just because I was taking algebra instead of calculus, I assumed my course of study couldn’t be nearly as important as that of all the engineers and business majors dominating the campus, constantly reminding me just how hard their classes were.
To give you an idea of an English major’s course load, over spring break I had to read two 400-page novels, write two five-page essays and complete a 100-question midterm.
Would I be willing to do all that just to live in a box in two years?
But we over in the English department aren’t the only ones boarding the struggle-bus on a regular basis. What about the communications majors pouring over endless internship applications and press releases? Or the history students holed up in their rooms flipping through flashcards with crucial names and dates? Or the hospitality kids scrambling to put together events?
And the engineering majors crying over their physics textbooks? What about them? Or the business and economics majors frantically memorizing demand curves? Or the art students logging long hours in the studio, slaving over something unique and beautiful?
Biology majors? Psychology majors? Math majors? French minors?
If we didn’t happen to mention your field of study, there’s a good reason for that – there are just way too many majors, way too many career paths and way too many passions to list them all here. In fact, we’d probably have to make a list of 40,000 different options, summarizing the goals and interests of every student attending this amazing university.
It’s hard not to roll your eyes when you hear the guy or girl at the table next to you complaining about their upcoming exam when you have two exams to study for this week, not to mention that lab write-up, committee meeting, choir rehearsal…
But do us all a favor and kindly keep that information to yourself because, spoiler alert, we’re all feeling the same amount of pressure to succeed and surpass the expectations placed on us as college students. I highly doubt anyone here at Penn State is honestly shelling out tuition money merely to watch hours of Netflix and play drinking games for four years.
We’re here to get an education, and just as you can’t compare an apple to an orange, you can’t compare an education in liberal arts to an education in science.
Without engineers we wouldn’t have libraries or schools or museums, but without English majors there would be nothing to put in those structures. Each major is a complement to its opposite, and the combination of our individual interests and skills as humans are truly what make the world go round.
I challenge you to stop and think next time you find yourself in a one-upping battle between majors (especially within majors – like, why?). Your major is just another label used in an effort to convey the awesomeness that is you and no one can ever belittle that without your permission.
Photo by Jose Ponte