"What's your major?" "What do you want to do with your life?" "What are your career plans after college?" These are three questions that college students answer one hundred times every week. I know that I have had these conversations many times and I truly enjoy telling people about my major and my aspirations after college, as well as hearing about other people's plans.
However, over the past couple of weeks, my friends and I have encountered situations where people judge us for our prospective major and career choices. Rather than being uplifting or encouraging, the remarks are anything but kind. The other day I told someone that I was majoring in psychology. His response proceeded to belittle my entire field of study with a single, "Meh," and a shrug of his shoulders in dismissiveness, while my friends who are nursing and biology majors got encouraging and congratulatory remarks. To make the situation even more awkward, he went on to sweep aside my friends' admirable aspirations and tell them exactly what he thought they should do with their careers, rather than finding out more about their interests.
Another time, my friend, also a psychology major, was having a conversation with a pre-med freshman. As my friend was discussing her non-pre-med career path, she was met with discouraging and judgmental comments like, "Ummm you aren't going to find any jobs with a psychology major, why would you do that to yourself?" Frankly, I was baffled that someone else would be so blatantly rude.
College is a time of discovering what your passion is and what you want to pursue in life. Everyone is unsure and still trying to navigate the uncertainty and insecurity that comes with that. Therefore, students really do not need others, particularly fellow peers, disheartening them with words of slander and depreciation, especially when they know nothing about someone else's passions. As college students, it is essential for us to build one another up if we are going to succeed at anything. We need to knock down the stereotype that STEM majors are better, more hardworking, and superior over everyone else. Not everyone's brain is wired scientifically, mathematically, or creatively—and that is ok. Because truthfully, we need different types of thinkers and contributors in this world.
So, the next time you ask someone what their major is or what they want to do with their lives, be slow to judge and quick to listen. Find out why they are doing what they do, more often than not you will learn more about their story and their passion. You may even broaden your own horizon.