Major Trouble

default article imageIn my most honest approach to this topic, I believe I should begin with the fact that it took me years to choose a major; not because I did not know what I felt most passionate about, but because of shame and self-doubt.

Most people who are in college go to college in order to look forward to a future with stability: a stable job, a stable income, a stable lifestyle, and jeopardizing such stability would defeat the whole purpose of investing about $50,000 (a year) in your education. Such is the grand belief I had for myself; that while I was unsure of what I wanted for my future, stability and consistency was a must. Especially for someone of troubled background with the responsibility to make something grandiose of myself as first generation. So my freshman year of college I came in as a STEM major, which I knew I was good at, seemed promising, and would impress family and friends.

I learned the very harsh way that not all that is gold is for you. I did well, and I enjoyed my first semester at college, but very quick did I realize that when times were stressful or things seemed pointless, I leaned on literature to get me through. The arts, they have always been crutches in my life; as a toddler, when I used to “read” to a crowd of teddies (much as I knew nothing about the differences between the letter z and t); as a middle schooler, I felt handicapped in America for not speaking English and reading in said language until English became a fluent passage to a world of more art; as a teenager, when, well, teenage things occur and we begin to let our dreams die, I only dreamt bigger.

Yet how could I even fathom a major in the arts? All my life I did most of my research in the STEM field. I’ve never considered the idea of a non-STEM major and therefore I was unprepared; realistically, the only thing I thought anyone could do with an English major was to… teach? I was unsure if I wanted to end up teaching either, but I did not want the misery that came with doing hard work and no enjoyment for my future.

Alas, I switched. I still don’t know the exact route set in stone to take me to where I want, yet the unknown seemed more promising, more uplifting, than knowing where I was headed. I realized that we, as we are bred and raised to know that STEM is the path to a “decent” education that “certainly” pays off, put aside whatwe love to be complacent to those we love. I’ve realized that pressure is put on others who are not STEM to prove themselves, or expected fail entirely. I’ve also learned that, STEM majors deserve the utmost respect for their passion, dedication, and resilience; art majors too. That everyone does.

How could we ever provide wings to our scientists if we chip away and suppress imagination, creativity, artistry and originality of thought? 

I propose we respect all majors, equally, and support the arts financially as we should support the STEM majors mentally, for the pressure, exhaustion and feeling of defeat is not excluded to those who seem “clear-cut” in life. 

Alas, college is not exempt from shaping us for the work field but as adults as well, and give us room to make independent choices as well as withdraw them. Take on the various opportunities, resources and experiences your college provides to learn more about you, and what feeds into the future you see for yourself.