Throughout high school as well as college, whenever I told people that I wanted to write, some would scoff and dismiss my dream as “easy.” I hadn’t decided to major in something math related nor sciencey. Some people I encountered assumed this was because I wasn’t smart. (Remember kids, this is what happens when you assume something.) Just because my dream/major didn’t involve something that required me to compute things, doesn’t mean I lack intelligence. But the fact that people thought this because I chose to go into journalism absolutely grinds my gears.
I am not saying people who decided to go into a math-related field or something sciencey aren’t smart; what I am saying is that from what I have experienced, many people believe if a person excels in one of those two subjects or something similar, then that person is considered to be more intelligence over, say, an art major. (Sorry art majors!)
So why do people think this way? To be honest, I have no clue. From what I have witnessed for the past four years, it seemed since I felt no need to go to graduate school, people were shocked and surprised. Others I met during my college years told me I had no reason to complain about classes and course work nor worry about grades — because I had an easy major.
Who is one to decide what major is easy and what is difficult? Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. My strengths just happens to be in language and writing, while my weaknesses are elsewhere. Other people could be the complete opposite of me, which is probably how we get engineering majors. It isn’t fair to judge someone’s smarts simply because they aren’t what is considered the norm.
Take my junior year roommate for example. She was an archeology major who had learned Portuguese and was tackling Italian in the same year. But when it came time for her to write a 5-page paper for a class, it was nearly impossible for her to accomplish. To me, when I would be assigned something like a 3- to 5-page paper, it was a piece of cake. In fact, I often times found it difficult to finish a paper within the allotted page constraints. Does that make my roommate less intelligent and myself a genius? No; it shows that we have different strengths and weaknesses. One of my strengths is writing, and it appeared that writing was one of my roommate’s weaknesses.
One of (in my opinion) my most difficult courses in my college career was my macroeconomics class. While we were allowed calculators for an exam, you weren’t allowed a formula sheet — all the formulas needed to be memorized. This was difficult for me; even though I was able to do the mathematics involved in the course, I could not seem to memorize the formulas nor why they were important. Does this prove that I am not smart because I had difficulty in a math-related course? Absolutely not! For many of my non-major electives, course work was objective, while within my major, course work was subjective.
Now don’t get me wrong; I am certain that course work for someone such as an engineering major or even a music major was difficult. But what irked me the most was when a specific professor would unfairly grade me on something because that professor didn’t think it was adequate. When I’d discuss this, students with other majors claimed they could do the same assignment effortlessly because being a journalism major wasn’t challenging.
There are always going to be challenges in life. Remembering the difference between “aloud” and “allowed” may be a challenge for some people, but doing a simple long division problem may be a challenge for someone else. This is why when people consider writing to be easy, it receives a 4 on my “Grinds my Gears” annoyance level scale. Writing isn’t easy for everyone, but for others, we know how to have a voice and how to tell a story that can entice readers.
For whatever reason, if a person doesn’t want to go into math or science, — or doesn’t go to college — then that person gets labeled as not knowledgeable. This should not be the case. Excelling in one area over another area simply means people have different personalities and skills. But when people assume that someone isn’t bright based on what that person enjoys to do, well that folks, simply grinds my gears.