Many people with majors particularly in the STEM realm, or those associated with higher predicted salaries, tend to shame others who are not in those majors.
Major shaming can exist on any college or university campus, no matter which school you attend. If you are not a pre-med major destined to become a surgeon, a pharmacy student with a guaranteed job after you graduate or are not practicing in another major that is often perceived to have rigorous course workload that exceeds that of all other majors, then it is perceived that you are taking the easy way out.
This stigma and shaming often forms around majors like business management, education, communications, theater, etc. The problem with major shaming is that it makes students that are not in a certain major feel like they don’t belong on campus or are not intelligent enough to become successful. Students are relentless with the comments that they make. The comments are often highly inappropriate and often demeaning to the point that it is shocking that this problem is not addressed.
“People are always commenting about how I’m never going to be making any money,” said Olivia Caraballo, an education major at Wilkes University. “Also, people say that I have an easy major because I get to do arts and crafts as assignments. Little do they know that there’s standards for everything. Just because I’m doing a fun activity doesn’t mean that I am not learning what I need. I cannot just throw an arts and crafts project together. Just because I’m not doing lab reports, doesn’t mean I’m not putting in work.”
Money is a sensitive topic in social situations in itself. Therefore, adding money to a discussion about someone’s future or to their college education where students are putting in their time, effort, and money is quite disappointing.
Furthermore, people who are in a specific major do not know the requirements of other majors merely because they are occupied in their own major. Thus, the opinion on someone else’s major is irrelevant because they have never evene experienced a major outside their own.
This is not just an issue that is prominent on a campus, but also on social media. The fact people construct detailed posts regarding people in a different major than them only feeds the problem.The viral nature encourages others to mimic these ideals in order to gain followers and attention, causing people to think that major shaming is appropriate.
Major shaming is also extended into the families and friends of students. Students are bombarded with questions like: “Well, what are you going to do with that degree?” or “How do you expect to make a lot of money with your major?”
Instead, the questions should be: “What kind of job do you want to get when you graduate?” or “What type of degree will allow you to fulfill what you are passionate about?” The focus does not always have to be money. However, you can most definitely have a successful career and become wealthy if you are not on a track in the STEM field.
Campuses need to start implementing ways to combat major shaming and allow students in every major to feel important and included.
In addition, people need to be mindful of how they use social media and refrain from providing people who post negative and demanding things on the internet with the platform to express these ideals.
Furthermore, friends and families should be supportive of what the people in their lives are passionate about. As long as someone is not causing harm to themselves or others, then everyone should be allowed to pursue what they want and develop their own life without being judged and ridiculed.