Chat with the Chief: Major frustrations

Too often, I see people whining that other students “have it easy” with their majors.

The first time I witnessed this was when talking to a group of my friends who are in the College of Engineering. I never argued that their work wasn’t difficult — I looked at a friend’s Calculus homework once and I nearly fainted — but that didn’t stop them from doing the same to me. While they were studying for an exam or solving math problems, I was writing a 10-page critical analysis on a topic I barely understood.

And yet, they told me my program was easy.

I study journalism at Ferris and I will admit that writing comes naturally to me. It can be pretty simple for me to write up a short paper or answer some essay questions in no time. But that doesn’t mean my program is easy. There is nothing stress-free about doing good journalism, writing proposals or analyzing the work of ancient philosophers. My program is hard and requires a lot of work, and that is true of any other major at Ferris.

No matter how often I’m told my field is “easy,” I still receive fewer complaints than students in other programs. Some people say anyone can study business administration. Some believe elementary education students only require basic skills to teach second graders. Students studying art, music or film are constantly told they won’t find a job in their field and their degree will be useless.

This is beyond frustrating to me, and if you’re someone who says these things, I’m asking you to reconsider.

It’s easy to dismiss majors different than yours and claim they don’t have to work as hard as you do. In reality, we are in college, and no matter who you are, college is hard. Regardless of major, we will all have to take 400-level courses, or do Capstones or Senior Symposiums, or all of the above. And just because someone’s work comes in a different form than yours does not invalidate them or their problems.

You never know what happens behind closed doors. If a student doesn’t have to study very often, it’s not because he doesn’t have homework: it’s because he has to create a piece of art, write an essay or do some math instead.

Now, I am not saying some students don’t work significantly harder than others, because clearly, that’s not true. I’m not arguing that students in the optometry, nursing or pharmacy programs don’t have more work than me, because of course they do. Nevertheless, that doesn’t make my major “easy” by any means. I’m not arguing that their program isn’t hard; I’m arguing that my life isn’t smooth-sailing as a result of my major.

If you’ve never been in someone’s program, you have absolutely no right to assume their job is easy. College is not easy for anyone. There will always be difficult assignments, and just because someone’s struggle looks different than yours does not mean the struggle is absent.

Don’t complain that others don’t have to work as hard as you do. Oh, so you think someone has it so easy in their program? Then why don’t you just switch to their program? Nobody is forcing you to be in a STEM field, so don’t whine that others might not have to do as much work as you do. You knew it would be hard, so don’t take out your stress on others that you believe don’t have any, because I promise you, you’re wrong.

Before you make assumptions, try putting yourself in their shoes. You might not see their struggles because they don’t talk about them, but I assure you, they are there.

No one’s college experience is entirely easy. If it was, it wouldn’t be college.