Battle of the college majors

in Opinion by
As seniors submit college applications and take a step towards their futures, students should actively disregard elitist connotations of college majors to avoid diminishing accomplishments and perpetuating subjective ideas of success. “Just because you think you have a larger paycheck coming once you graduate, you still are not any better than the student sitting next to you,” Collegiate Times correspondent Michael Boeh said. (Photo/NBC)

In a society heavily embedded with competition, students may find it difficult to focus on themselves and refrain from comparing grades, test scores and awards with those of their peers. This sense of validation through comparison extends beyond components of college applications to the future after students receive decisions. Considering what a student will pursue in their higher education, a sense of elitism arose regarding college majors and their impact on “success.” 

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

Certain majors have common stereotypes that, in actuality, do not hold true but still create a social hierarchy depending on a student’s concentration. For example, “The Odyssey”  describes Psychology majors as defensive towards those that doubt the integrity of their field, Business majors as aimless yet concerned with job stability and Journalism majors as typical “hipsters.” While these descriptions serve to entertain readers, the stereotypes presented did not suddenly appear. The volume “Crisis in the Humanities” by J.H. Plumb warned that a science-focused world left no room for humane pursuits which sparked greater discussion of “the imminent extinction” of humanities as an area of study and stable job field. These discussions led to the now widespread debate between STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors and humanities majors. Debates about the validity, rigor and value of degrees in these separate fields have produced greater divides among college students and distracts them from focusing on building connections in an open community. 

The inherent comparison of oneself to others, even in trivial matters such as college majors, promotes destructive behavior and focuses energy on bringing people down rather than raising them up. Psychology Today offers commentary on competitive comparison and methods of breaking “the habit of feeling insecure, envious and discontented with your life.” This comparison extends beyond STEM and humanities majors with Twitter memes poking fun at a wide range of majors becoming commonplace. The intentions of these memes seem harmless enough but still show the rampant rivalry and defensive behavior caused by belittling someone’s passion.

To move away from negative mental spaces and feelings of inferiority because of your interests, we must actively stop feeding into petty discussions on the value of different majors.

Students from the University of Portland in Portland, OR explain misconceptions and harmful stereotypes associated with their chosen major. Students from different backgrounds, ages and concentrations give examples of assumptions about their majors ranging from humorous to degrading, showing the universality of this systematic criticism. (Source/UPBeaconVide)

As Copy Editor and News Editor of the Patriot Post, junior Zoe Persaud spends most of her time staring at a computer and rewriting sentences. She serves as Junior Class Director of Key Club and actively participates in English Honor Society, TASSEL and National Honor Society. Outside of school, she volunteers at her local library and tries to sleep for as long as she can.

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