Elitism in Choice of Major

The front view of Pamplin Hall, which houses the college of business. 

Some students at Virginia Tech like to think that their major or college prove that they are smarter than someone else. Simply put, that logic is wrong. While most attribute this train of thought to people they view as overly-arrogant Pamplin or STEM majors, this applies to students of all majors even if they want to ignore or deny it.

Nobody wants to feel like the person sitting next to them in class is smarter than them, so, naturally, they push back against them — putting the other person down by promoting their own academic prowess. As a result, a battle over which majors and colleges have the best and brightest students has created a divide between students in different departments.

This division between students is counterintuitive to the general concept of higher education: We are all here to learn more about a subject and major that we are interested in. A liberal arts student would, obviously, not enjoy a STEM class in the same way that a STEM student would and vice-versa. In turn, any comparison between the different subjects would prove useless — what is enjoyable to one might be torturous  to another.

Moreover, a class that is difficult for one student may be the easier for another. Personally, I am terrible at calculus — nor am I interested in improving my math skills — however, when given the chance to explain my thoughts verbally or through writings, I excel. Conversely, I enjoy reading and learning from written materials, so I perform better in subjects involving that medium.

Some students claim that they will have a better and more successful future following college because of the major they chose — which is simply wrong. Anyone can become successful in life even if they do not attend college and there are no guarantees that someone will achieve more in their life based solely on what major they chose when they were 18 years old. Without sounding too much like a cliche, if you pursue what actually makes you excited and happy then you will have a better life than someone who only goes to work for the higher paying salary.

So, 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 in a 1000-level elective course. Everyone is here to work and, hopefully, one day become a successful graduate. But while we do so, we are all just struggling college students.

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