The War on College Majors

I dread the “What are you majoring in?” question. This is unfortunate because it is asked quite often amongst college students. I am pretty sure I am not the only one who loathes this icebreaker question. As a sociology major, I have a prepared arsenal of justifications for choosing my major. Every major seems to have some sort of stereotype or negative connotation attached to it. Some majors make less money, others are too easy, too hard, low job prospects, male or female dominated, etc. How can anyone win? The worst experience was probably when a guy I had just met, said to me, “What are you going to do with that? I guess you have the option to be a stay at home mom but I don’t have that kind of security.” Needless to say, that remark was infuriating. After angrily explaining how horribly sexist his comment was, I told him I was not just in college to entertain myself until it was time to pop out babies. I have aspirations, which is a basic thing we should assume of all college students. People are most likely not going to be forthcoming with all their goals if we are tearing each other down.

I am a research assistant for a study on majors and internships, and in interviews it takes some effort to get people to come out with their ultimate career goals. None of us are experts on each and every major. Instead of making assumptions based solely on hearsay, I suggest being open-minded and actually asking someone about their major. Admittedly, I am guilty of thinking to myself, “What the heck is that major and why is it necessary?” But I encourage everyone to try to be less judgmental because it is really fascinating to hear all the unique things fellow students want to do in the world.

So why do we feel the need to rag on majors other than our own? I feel like this battle of the majors stems from our own insecurities. No one knows one-hundred-percent that they are majoring in the right thing and that they will have a successful career that they love. Realizing this is both unsettling and comforting. If you feel like you don’t know what you are doing in life just understand that no one really does. Some people are just really good at appearing confident in every decision.

With that being said, it is totally okay to not know exactly what you want to do yet. You may not even find what you are really passionate about until after college. So many people end up in a field that has nothing to do with their major in college. My advice is to decide what success means to you. Is it how much money you earn? Making a positive change in the world? Or maybe it is just being happy. My Dad is an engineer and it is perfect for him because he really loves math and problem-solving. He has always wanted me to go into engineering but I just knew that would not make me happy. The point is, don’t just do something because it’s what everyone else is doing; do it because it is what you truly want to do. Taking the path less traveled is scary but can also be exciting. College is the perfect time to indulge in whatever you are interested in because there are opportunities everywhere. You can simply take a class, volunteer, join a club, or even apply to an internship because it sounds intriguing. Once you find that passion, dive in and don’t be bothered by what anyone else has to say about it.

-Elizabeth Passino

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