“Major-Shaming” A Concept 

Major-Shaming (n.) – a social stigma placed on individuals in a collegiate setting for dedicating themselves to a field of study that may reduce socioeconomic mobility.

i.e. 

“Stressed? you’re a(n) _______ major you don’t know what stress it.”
“What do you mean you’re tired? You’re a(n) ________ major, you don’t do anything to be tired.”
“You came to school to major in _______?” 

And finally,

“There’s no money in _______.”

I just want to mention that I don’t actually believe there’s an Oxford or Merriam-Webster definition of “Major-Shaming” but if there was, I think this would be a pretty good one don’t you think? Anywho…I think this goes without saying that just about everyone has had a one liner conversation similar to– if not exactly the same as the examples above. In fact, if you veer off of the conversational topic of majors and focus your ‘microphone of life’ on the “so, what do you do?” conversations we strange humans have to socially size each other up, you’d probably hear something along those lines when an answer doesn’t sound quite right, which means that we’re dealing with a deplorable major-shaming epidemic.

As a Pre-Med turned English student, I’ve witnessed both the projection and acceptance of superiority complex as a *STEM major and the horrors of a “hey, you can write/help me write my papers” major. Sure, six to seven chapter block test and being forced to study on holidays is a pain in the arse but so is writing an entire act of a play, coming up with a decent speech that meets time requirements, trying to come up with a unique-enough way to make a string instrument out of some weird heavy duty paper material, or even attempting to scrap up a beginning, middle, and an end of a story that not only has to be interesting but is limited to eight to twelve pages — which by the way, once you get that ball rolling is not an easy task.

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!!!

Not only are STEM’s doing majority of the shaming, and I’m not trying to point any fingers, there’s definately some non-STEM vs non-STEM major-shaming going on, but debates are usually non-STEM vs STEM, no debates there, but STEM’s also get stuffed into these tiny unrealistic Einstein boxes and people always believe (for obvious reasons) that they’ve only gotten the premium 4-year subscription to stress and gray hairs because of the money..

“You’re wasting your time majoring in ________ and it probably won’t even work out.”

“You’re doing it for the money and they don’t even get paid as much as they say.”

It’s a dog-eat-dog world but I am here to assure you that you matter, no matter what. And if you’re major-shaming, or know someone that is let’s end the douching okay? We all know those pesky gray hairs, tears, and irregular sleeping schedules don’t discriminate. Hard work is hard work is hard work!

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* The ‘STEM‘ acronym includes those individuals who are involved in curriculums solely based in Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

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11 thoughts on ““Major-Shaming” A Concept 

  1. amberleecunningham says:

    I think people need to let go of the idea that one job/major is “easier” than another. If you’re working hard, you’re working hard, just like you said! People thought that, as a writing major, I didn’t have much work, when in reality I had to read at least one 500-page book a month AND come up with two long-form personal essays every other month. I also think people need to let go of trying to prove themselves to other students; you’re in school to learn, not compare yourself to others. Great points here, and I’m glad you as a STEM student see this stuff going on and are knocking it down!

    Amber || mylifeinlimbo.com

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Isabel says:

    I’ve seen this happen a lot too. People I know who have done media studies and English literature at uni have been told it’s a waste of money and time. It’s rude and also untrue I think otherwise why would these courses exist!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nicole says:

    You are SO right! I was a psych major, with a minor in creative writing. Neither are going to make me wildly rich, but BOTH of them are hard work! And I love what I do, and I feel fulfilled because of them, so I don’t even care so much that I won’t be making a ton of money! That’s what side hustles and frugality are for. I don’t need much.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. josypheen says:

    I heard this a lot from friends doing stem subjects taking the piss out of those of us doing BAs. Meh. It never bothered me as I loved my degree.

    Having said that, I did a double degree, and I found the history side of my degree a lot easier than the Japanese side. With history I had less time in classes, and just had to be good at essays and cramming for exams. Japanese was a whole other kettle of fish. We had to be studying all the time to keep up, and it’s impossible to cram, you just gave to keep stuffing language into your head for 4years! It was exhausting but rewarding.

    Anyway, major shaming is pretty strange, but if definitely happens!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. anhistorianabouttown says:

    As someone who has two undergraduate degrees and a masters degree in History, I can confirm that major shaming is alive and well! I work at a university now, and it still sadly exists in the professional world as well. I firmly believe that there is a real-world skill set to take from every degree, and that you should firmly but politely change the subject- if someone truly believes that a degree is pointless, you probably aren’t going to change their mind through sheer argument.

    While I know that STEM subjects are invaluable, I find that the other areas (specifically the humanities) are ridiculed and ignored and it sucks 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  6. thebeasley says:

    Oh yes I’ve been victim to this snobbery. I did a degree in Media & Popular Culture and put up with a lot of comments about how I won’t get a job when I leave & that my degree was just watching films. All this despite the fact that actually my degree covered Politics, Sociology, English & Psychology. It was hardly “just watching films” & was hard work. Though having said all this, I do remember joking with my friend that did her degree in Retail that she was just studying shopping. Oh the shame!

    Liked by 1 person

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