The standard introduction in college consists of your name, year and major. And this is where the judgment comes in.
Whenever I introduced myself as a biology major, others would either nod or probe further to find out if I was pre-med, still acknowledging my major with no negative input. I acknowledge that I have always been inclined toward the sciences but some of my friends simple abhorred anything mildly STEM related and I understood that too.
However I have had friends who are social science or humanities majors tell me that when they reveal they are majoring in journalism, people immediately respond with “Oh, that’s an easy one” or “Your classes must be less stressful.” Often when mentioning to people that I am minoring in psychology or maybe even thinking about double majoring many people respond, “Why?” or “ That should be easier.”
If someone is stating their major or minor, it is because they are legitimately interested in that area to the point where they wanted to study it more in depth. To somehow devalue a certain major for not fitting a scheme of what seems to be acceptable to you is totally unacceptable. Just a few unsupportive words about a major someone is fully invested in and clearly loves is damaging.
If someone’s path of studies doesn’t align with one’s preconceived notion of an ideal college major, it doesn’t grant one the right to degrade it in any way, whether it’s flat-out insult or a snide comment about ‘no work.’
Certain thoughts are just appalling: While someone studying theatre may get mocked for not being the smartest, a biomedical engineering major may be assumed to be one of the most intelligent people on campus. Some may say that these are just overused stereotypes but that does not change the fact that they are still very much ingrained in the college student mentality.
Most students enter college with preset ideas to what career paths are more profitable, which will make you work harder and which are less taxing. Many are already biased towards certain majors and their areas of specialization and may not even realize their inherent negativity towards different majors. These mental presets are hardest to break through.
Eventually, all majors are equal and creating any sort of ranking system, even one that remains unshared, is faulty.
It’s time for people to realize that most students choose their majors based on what will be useful to them, not to mold to anyone’s expectations or for a certain salary. Yes, at the end of the day not everyone will have the same starting amount. Does it really matter as long as someone is pursuing a career they love?
The whole point of choosing a major in college is to specialize in a field that captures your interest and helps you make an impact later in life. This decision is one that should be applauded, not penalized.
Ankita Chakraborty is a second-year student majoring in biology and minoring in psychology.