A Response To Liberal Arts Critics, I'm Not Ashamed Of My Degree

A Response To Liberal Arts Critics, I'm Not Ashamed Of My Degree

No, I don't want to get a degree in engineering.

If you were to ask my eight-year-old self what I wanted to be when I was older, there wouldn’t be a pause before I shouted, “A writer!”

The collections of stories that were hoarded underneath my bed, printed out on computer paper and filled with plot-lines that were extremely similar to various Disney channel original movies (looking back I realize my real talent had just been being a savvy plagiarist) were pieces of me that made me who I was, and were the same pieces that made my father angry when he found out another ink cartridge had to be replaced yet again.

I was going to be a writer.

There was no quiz on the back of a J14 magazine that could tell me otherwise. I was astonished once when I took one of those and ended up with a prophecy that foretold my future as a “flight attendant” because I had answered mostly Bs rather than As or Cs.

Impossible, I thought. I was destined to have someone to read the words I had written someday. My stubbornness refused any tarot cards or any Magic 8-Balls that insisted otherwise.

So why was that same girl, almost ten years later, sitting on the phone with her mother inside a dimly lit a dorm room questioning something she had been so sure of her entire life?

For many of us who have found themselves on a track of liberal arts rather than STEM-related fields, it is typical to have heard some type of criticism for the choosing of our degree.

I’ve found the height of these to be found in party settings with nosey distant cousins that usually ask if I have a boyfriend first. After that dreaded question, I feel a sort of shame come on when asked my major. “Communications,” I tell them, as I brace myself for the rude curiosity that begs to know more.

“What are you going to do with that?” is a typical response heard just as often as, “Are you going to go to law school after your undergrad?”

Both my mother, sister, and brother had followed the STEM path - my brother, as much as I hate to give his already-big-ego a boost, followed the pre-med path, becoming a vet. When he was in undergrad as a biology major I had never once heard any follow up questions like the ones given to me.

I’m not here to prove why liberal arts majors are important. I’m not here to throw statistics at you that prove that I will land myself with a job. I’m not going to justify that a dream of a two car garage and a wrap around porch is, indeed, plausible for me. Because frankly, I’m not going to feel shameful about someone else’s perception of successes.

For those of you doubting me, I press you to exit this article and type in your questions about the legitimacy of liberal arts majors into your Google search engine. Or, you could save yourself some time and try, “Why is my life so unexciting and sad that I find myself immersed in the judgment of other people’s lives?”

Your mother on the other end of the line is correct: You’re going to be alright. And this isn’t because you chose to switch to business or teaching or because you stuck with that English major.

You’re going to be alright because your major does not determine where you will land. Your passion, your drive, your focus, and your ability to block out self-doubt and these criticisms will.

You cannot force yourself into a career that doesn’t reflect upon who you are.

I played six different sports throughout my adolescent career and I remember a girl from my soccer team laughed at me for quitting. The girl that ridiculed me for backing down? She absolutely hated the sport. Complained every single practice. That’s when I realized I shouldn’t be the one shamed, but she should. What a fool she was to commit herself to something she absolutely hated.

I hope you all get that two car garage. I hope you all throw a party and drink red wine on that wrap around porch with the people who believed in you all along. I hope you find days of ease that are never met with an echo inside of your head that says you should have or you could have.

I hope you believe in yourself, lost liberal arts major because I believe in you.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Stop Saying You're a Broke College Student

I've had a job since 16, and my money life is thriving.

It's supposed to be funny when someone says "I'm a broke college student" but I think it's stupid. Here's my unpopular opinion.

I've had a job since I was 16. My first day of work was the first weekend after I started my sophomore year of high school. It wasn't too difficult- I was literally only working on Saturdays and Sundays. The shifts were 4-7:30/8 pm on Saturdays and 11-2:30 on Sundays. I wasn't making a huge amount of money, but it paid for my gas money, and that was all I needed. So the first year I had my job, I was spending any extra money I had on food, movie tickets, and clothes.

Then reality hit when I knew I needed to start saving up for college. I started putting money into my savings account, and eventually I had built up enough money to buy a new old car. I know, it wasn't college tuition, but I needed it.

My first year living in the dorms, I figured out a system. I was putting $150 each week in a savings envelope, and each month I knew I had to pay $160 for my car payment. The rest of the money I made I put in envelopes for a new purse, clothes, vacation. I had a system going, and I didn't spend extra money on useless things unless I was rewarding myself. In case you can't do the math, that's at least $600 in my savings account each month, and most people can't figure out how to put away $100.

Now, as a sophomore in college, I watch people trickle into class with to-go food, to-go coffee, smoothies, and candy from gas stations or the shops on campus. Then I hear those same people complain about being "a broke college student." I'm sorry, but you're not a broke college student. You're a college student who pays for things you don't need, with money you have that you shouldn't be spending. You don't need to get Starbucks 3 times a day. You don't have to go to pitcher night at the local bar. You don't need to spend money on those things, but you do. And at the end of the month, you're broke, and begging your parents for money.

So, in my unpopular opinion, you're not a broke college student. You're a dumb one. Make a budget, give yourself some spending money, and stick to it. You'll thank me later.

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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11 Tips For a Great Semester

The moment you’re ready to quit is usually the moment right before the miracle happens.

1. Have a nice workspace/desk

I recently made this change and I feel 100% better.

2. Dress well

Personally, if I go to class looking like a bum, I feel like a bum. Dress for success!

3. Go to bed at the same time every night

Getting enough rest can really impact the rest of your day. Aim to get 7-9 solid hours of sleep each night this semester to avoid accidentally being grouchy at someone.

4. What am I doing for this upcoming week?

What are my goals this week? What’s going on this week? What do I need to work on for this week? If you go into your week blind, it never really works. I’ve done this before.

5. Don’t lose your class syllabi

This one paper has literally all of the due dates, test dates, readings and homework assignments on it. Make sure you always know where this paper is because you will be looking at it constantly, so don’t lose it.

6. Ask questions

If you’re in class and you have no idea what the professor is talking about ask, or email them! It’s good to ask questions because then your professor knows you care about their class so it’s a win-win situation. You ask questions plus the professor knows you care equals good grade in the class.

7. Take good notes

I can’t tell you how many times over the past semester I would look back at my notes and what I wrote didn’t make sense. Learn what type of learner you are to figure out how to take the best notes for yourself. I either write everything out by hand which takes forever (especially when the professor flies through the lecture) or I print out the notes and just write on those papers so I can actually listen to the lecture.

8. Get some homework done in between classes

In my schedule, I have a lot of time gaps in between classes just waiting around for my next class to start. Take advantage of this 30 minutes or 2-hour gap and work on some homework. You’ll thank yourself later.

9. Don't overload yourself

I’ve made a rule with myself to only do homework Monday to Friday. That’s because if I work super hard during the week on my work then I can have the weekends off as a mental break. There are a couple exceptions to my rule like if I have a 5-page essay due Monday then yes, I’ll work on it during the weekend or if I have tests coming up the next week then I’ll be studying.

10. Don't procrastinate

If you’re avoiding something, just get it done and over with. If you have a really difficult essay to write and then a bunch of easier assignments; start with the hard assignment first to get it done. It’ll take the most time and then you’ll feel relieved when you’re done with it.

11. Don't give up

The moment you’re ready to quit is usually the moment right before the miracle happens.

Just keep going.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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