The Major Hierarchy

Please stop complaining about your major

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What sounds worse: designing a robot or writing a paper?

Every student at NDSU knows the stereotype: STEM majors have it the worst. They take the toughest classes, they have the most intense (or inept) professors and they have the most schoolwork.

When looking at the course load of a STEM major, I get anxious even looking at their course loads. I hear horror stories about chemistry classes, and hear as engineering students talk about going to a class where I don’t even know from the name what it’s about (what do you learn in a dynamics class?).

It’s easy for me, as a member of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences to look at an engineering student or nursing student and tremble at the thought of their course load. I don’t have to apply to get into my program, I don’t have to go work in a hospital or a factory.

Yet, this trend of painting some majors at NDSU as infinitely harder than others is problematic for several reasons.

All Majors Are Hard

Sure, I’m never going to have to take organic chemistry, a class notorious for its difficulty, but I’m also never going to have to sing in front of a room full of people like a musical theater major, an equally daunting fate. Art students have unending lists of projects to fulfill, music students have several one hour classes on top of their regular course schedule.

The point is that each major is difficult in its own unique way. Math and science majors seem objectively difficult for people who aren’t in them, but it would probably be hard for a Biology major to write a fifteen-page essay on Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.”

You Chose Your Major

Listen, there’s a difference between venting and complaining. Venting about an upcoming test or assignment is totally understandable, but constantly complaining about every element of your major is another thing entirely. Each student chooses their major, if you’re constantly complaining about how miserable all of your classes are, guess what? Don’t be a part of that major anymore. 

If you really hate everything about your major, the easy solution is not to remind everyone around you how difficult it is, it’s to find something that actually makes you happy. 

It’s okay to recognize your major isn’t always easy if you truly love it, but if you love it, you love those tricky parts too. 

You Can’t Rank Majors

A nursing major can’t be measured against a graphic design major for several reasons. Working with people and giving them care require totally different skills than using technology to create prints and posters. Comparing majors isn’t really possible because each major has a different skill set in use.

A math major could tell you how difficult a mathematical problem is, but couldn’t tell you about the severity of a human rights issue using sociological theory. The two circumstances aren’t on the same wavelength and can’t be compared to one another. To say STEM majors are the most difficult is to say that logical and rational reasoning required to do well in these majors are the most difficult.

However, it would be equally difficult for a STEM major to stretch themselves outside of these logical boundaries as it would be for HDFS majors to step outside of the boundaries of care or for art students to step outside the boundaries of creativity.

So Please Stop Complaining

College is meant to be difficult. It’s the rare and lucky person who can go their entire time here loving all of the classes. It’s okay to vent to friends about a crappy professor or difficult test, but if you find yourself standing on a pedestal of your own making, thinking your major is truly the most difficult, it’s time to reassess. 

Your major is not the hardest, because these things can’t be quantified. What’s hard for me is easy for you and vice versa. So take yourself off that pedestal and give some respect to your fellow students, their working through different challenges than you.

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