Does Major Matter?: No.


Regina Sarnicola
Opinions Editor

There is nothing more effective at making my blood boil than someone sneering when I reveal I am a communication major. A look of pity is almost just as irritating.

Despite the fact my brain may work differently, the common notion seems to be that the communication major is a “joke” major that doesn’t require much intelligence. It is a major that won’t lead me anywhere after graduation. My opinion is that anyone who believes the stereotype that “soft” majors are for those who have no drive or critical thinking skills are ignorant.

I am not a math whiz or scientist. I was never cut out to be an engineer or a computer programmer. Unfortunately, I did not have memorable, or effective, math and science teachers in K-12. My forte was in English and my passion was writing.

I love the fact that the communication major is broad. That’s one of the reasons I selected it. Majors like communication, psychology, sociology and environmental studies can be beneficial because they offer students numerous career options instead of limiting them to one career path. These sociology, global studies, and music majors help make the world go around just as much as the “hard” science majors.

And thank goodness we are not all bio-psychology or chemistry majors. What a lackluster world we would live in if everyone had the same skill sets. As college students, I would hope at this point we are intelligent enough to have learned that generalizing and stereotyping any group of people is neither justified nor factual.

It is almost exploitative to make students pay thousands upon thousands of dollars for their education when they are still unsure of what career choice they want to make. However, the fact they are even working toward a degree will give them a foot up and a cushion to fall back on. I have heard time and time again from alumni as well as industry and business people that one’s major does not really matter. People graduate in environmental studies and go into insurance or major in history and become firefighters.

Fifty years ago, the norm was staying with the same company until retirement. Not anymore. It is now common to switch careers multiple times before settling. Can one realistically be expected to choose a major related to a job they may discover fifteen years down the road?

While for a good number of jobs it does matter what you major in – one can hardly hope to be a marine biologist with a degree in art – most of the time it is all about who you know, what other experiences you’ve had, or a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

The benefits of using contacts to secure a job are simple: they know you. Contacts usually know your work habits, strengths, weaknesses, and more importantly, your character. A piece of paper can only tell an employer so much.

Every major is difficult in its own way. Of course there are certain majors known for being more grueling and content heavy, but often they allow less time for the student to venture outside of the classroom and get involved in other activities or internships.

Want an entry level position out of college without any contacts, internships or extracurricular activities? You better have an amazing GPA.

I may be a helpless, clueless communications major, but I have also broadened by horizon by dabbling in interests that have required me to collaborate, multi-task, apply outside knowledge, and step outside my comfort zone, which in turn has strengthened my abilities and increased my value as a future job applicant. Having experience in the real world is better than just being able to write a good thesis or solve a complicated formula.

Maybe I will end up making six figures, maybe I will not. I would rather do something I love and make enough to live comfortably than be stuck in a job I hate just because it pays well.

So if you are going to continue to waste time judging us “softies” for what you think we cannot do, be prepared to be left behind at the finish line when we pass you by.