Major Discrimination

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This past weekend, I went to an art major party with my roommate. It was a pretty great time – I dressed up like a little kid on Christmas morning and everybody loved it, and they served hot chocolate with whipped cream vodka that was incredible.
There was one thing I hated, though.
My roommate got into an argument with a couple of guys who had decided to pick on her for being an art major, because apparently majoring in something liberal like art indicates stupidity. First of all, these guys didn’t even go to UGA (or any school as difficult as UGA), so who are they to question her intelligence? They weren’t smart enough to get in. They were being friendly in that douche bag way, but as soon as she answered the ominous “what’s your major?” question, they retracted any behavior that could be identified as civil.
These guys don’t know who they’re dealing with. My roommate is far from stupid. She’s good at about just every subject in school – math, literature, science, philosophy, you name it. She even got a full scholarship to a local college for physics, which she turned down because she’s wanted to pursue art her entire life. Oh, and did I mention that she’s a creative genius? Because she is. And she’s not a single major, either. My roommate is a double art major, which means she works her ass off. Half the time I don’t even see her because she’s working on multiple projects and doesn’t have time to come home. This week she stayed away for two and a half days consecutively to finish projects in both of her majors.
These guys would never know that, though, because they refused to believe that someone with an unconventional major is still intelligent.

She isn’t the only one who faces the stigma. As an English major, I don’t feel like a lot of people take me seriously. Even my own grandmother doesn’t understand why I don’t want to be a doctor or a lawyer. Whenever somebody asks me what I’m majoring in, I never say only say “English.” Unless I’m around another English major, whom I fully know will accept my decision, I always say I’m a journalism major first. If I say I’m an English major, whoever asked me the question in the first place will respond with something like, “wow, that’s interesting,” or ask me, “oh, do you want to be a teacher?”
Then I have to mention that I want to be a writer, and that makes things even more uncomfortable.
But if I say “I’m majoring in journalism… and English too,” I suddenly become so much smarter. Not only am I pursuing a career that people take more seriously, but I am also demonstrating my intelligence and time management skills by completing two degrees in the time it takes to get one. By adding journalism to my answer, I become fascinating, as opposed to what I’m sure people think when I say I’m just an English major.

Stupid. Unrealistic. Screwed when it comes to finding a job or making it in the real world.
And to be honest, part of the reason I’m double majoring is so I can have something to fall back on, because I don’t want to be a teacher and I can’t see myself churning out novels.
But it’s only part of the reason. I’m majoring in journalism because I’m nosy and love knowing things that other people don’t. I love writing and sharing what I write, and I love magazines – that’s they key here, love. And love is exactly why I’m majoring in English.
I may hate school (okay, not really, I just hate being overwhelmed, which happens a lot since I’m a double major), but I love what I’m learning about. I love writing and stories and words and pens and paper and mechanical pencils. I love learning about the greats in both spheres. I complain about school a lot, I do. But when I’m writing something I’m really proud of or falling in love with a book, I feel more certain about what I’m doing than I ever have before. It’s what I love, and more importantly, who I am.
As cheesy as it sounds, college is a time to make greater progress in discovering and defining who you are – not who others want you to be.
So what if my roommate and I aren’t majoring in something “more useful” like science or political science? Have you major-downers out there ever thought that people major in a certain subject because they love it, and not because they’re too stupid to major in something more conventional? Just because there are a lot of science-related jobs out there doesn’t mean there aren’t any art-related jobs or english-related jobs. Besides, nobody ever said whatever profession we ultimately go into has to directly reflect what we majored in. We could go to grad school – we both are, actually.
I’m not going to be a doctor because I would be miserable as anything else other than a writer. Plus I’m really clumsy, so I would probably injure somebody severely in the process. And do you know what? I’m okay with not being a doctor or going into science. I got myself into college, so I’m going to do what I love. And you should do what you love too. This is your one big shot, so take it and immerse yourself in whatever you enjoy most.
I’m an English major, and I’m proud – and it’s not your problem.

 

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How I Found My Pride After Reading Amber Estes’ Article

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If you have a Facebook account and live in the South, chances are that you’ve read or at least know about an opinion piece written by a University of Georgia student that offends almost everybody who reads it.
Its title? “How to find that perfect husband in college.”

Estes offers sage wisdom on snagging a relationship with a future dynamo such as frequenting the area of campus that holds the law and business schools, taking lots of Instagrams, and dressing “like you’re not trying too hard.”

I, like most of those who read the article, find this advice extremely offensive. And I think we have every right to feel this way. I’d like to think that most of us came to UGA so we could enrich our minds and get a good career. Sure, many of us probably invoke a fair amount of damage to our brains through social alcohol abuse, but most of us are in college for intellectual reasons.

Naturally, Amber’s article has generated a slew of backlash. Occasionally, a comment mocking the offended for taking a “joke” so seriously will surface.

I get that the article was supposed to be satirical. I think most of us do. The problem is that the sarcasm failed, and once you strip Amber’s attempt at humor, all you get is a piece that degrades women our age.
And do you know what that does? It makes UGA look really bad.
UGA doesn’t have the greatest reputation. The students are typecasted as raucous Bulldog fans, belligerent drunks, and members of Greek institutions. In 2010, the Princeton Review crowned us the number one party school in the nation. As a result, thousands flock to Athens each year to include themselves in the wild parties and downtown bar scene they hear about. Trust me, it’s a little overrated.

I’ve seen people who go to other schools use the article as an excuse to mock UGA.

Like with any school, there is so much more to UGA than the Greek community and partying. Some of the most fascinating people I’ve been exposed to are UGA students. I’ve met incredible actors, singers, writers, and artists, brilliant mathemeticians and linguists, and several girls in sororities who stand apart from the “sorostitute” label – one of these girls inspires me incredibly. I might not walk around campus wearing Nike shorts and a sorority t-shirt, but I am going to take The Beach Boys’ advice and stay true to my school.

So why didn’t you, Amber?