By Jessika Harkay |
When you go to a university that’s renowned for medicine and being ranked No. 1 in Texas for law bar exams, you’re going to hear a slight giggle when you tell other pre-med or pre-law students that you’re a journalism major. They give you a little grin and ask, “how’s that?” with a slight sense of superiority because let’s be real—everyone knows that a communications major is for the athletes that need a degree or the kids too lazy to work hard for one.
You hear a lot of “what can you do with that degree?” or “what do you want to do?” You also hear a lot of “wow that must be pretty easy…or fun…or not too bad.”
My favorite part about being a journalism major is the undeniable stigma that lies between communication (or any liberal arts major) versus STEM majors and the correlation between intelligence, work ethic and a general common sense of what will pay off in the foreseeable future.
I love hearing that I chose the easiest degree. I especially love that a lot of people who make these comments are also the same people who ask me to edit their essays. I love hearing the inevitable phrase “this sounds so good—you write good,” as I cringe a little knowing it’s supposed to be “you write well.”
When you’re a liberal arts major, you feel like you’re competing to prove your intellectual capabilities.
In all reality, for some reason, English is often considered the easiest of the core subjects. But I guess that’s saying a lot, as the average American can’t read a book written at an eighth grade level.
The thing is, I can preach about how we all have our specialties, because we do. But the misconception we need to get rid of is that a liberal arts major is a liberal arts major because they couldn’t keep up with the “hard” degrees.
I became a journalism major because I feel communication is the foundation of every other skill I’ll acquire. I became a journalism major because I felt my talents, my empathy and my knowledge of the world around me would better suit a hands-on career where I could find the most-overlooked man on the street and be able see a bigger picture. Stories are something that live forever, and I became a journalism major to be able to engrave those stories on a platform.
I’ll concede and say sure, maybe liberal arts majors are easier in some ways. Maybe we don’t have to memorize the process of mitosis or the Roe v. Wade trial or find the z-score in statistics.
But for the most part, those things are black and white.
Tell me it’s easy when every assignment you have can go in a million different directions. A million directions in which you aren’t guided to what is right or wrong because it’s based on appealing to your audience. It’s based on your ability to sell your pitch or art or idea. It’s based on your ability to creatively conduct an abstract image in your head and communicate your thoughts through a form that will make sense to everyone.
You not only have to be an expert in your field, but you have to be so well informed and knowledgeable about a little bit of everything in order to make your career applicable. The work and dedication that goes into one of these creative majors is so overlooked because it’s not based on complex formulas. But the kids who are exhausting their creative skills and trying to find a “valid” career in the world around them that they’re passionate about— they deserve credit too.