Undergraduate Major Insecurity

Here it goes again. A conversation begins with “Science classes on this campus are so hard!” and concludes with, “I like taking Sociology classes...because they’re not real science.”

As a Sociology major, I sometimes feel as though I am not good enough. I feel as though I need to constantly explain myself to my peers and older adults. Whenever I answer the most frequent question an undergraduate student will hear—"What is your major?"—I receive the follow-up inquiries regarding what exactly is my major and what careers are associated with it. Or, I simply receive a snide smirk and stare. I’m sure my other fellow Liberal Arts majors can relate to a similar feeling of inadequacy during these sorts of interactions.

Not only is it tough combating parents and peers’ interrogations, but there is also the matter of figuring it all out. Another name for Liberal Arts majors is “non-occupationally specific majors.” Our majors do not signify that we are heading in a specific direction, or towards a specific career. The truth of the matter: I do not know what my next step will be after I graduate and receive my bachelor’s degree. In spite of all of this confusion about the future, I dare to ask myself and others around me: Is not knowing really all that wrong?

 

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As I believe other Liberal Arts majors can agree, there are many difficult courses in the department. These courses are taught by professional academic scholars who require students to spend numerous hours analyzing different texts and research models.  Analyzing text is more than simply memorizing important dates and names. Students are expected to gather information from materials provided by their professors as well as through their own research. Thus, with their own academic findings as evidence, these students develop the knowledge and means to challenge what they read. Essentially, Liberal Arts majors are taught to question why societies and the organizations within them operate the way that they do. It may sound like common sense; that of course individuals have the freedom to ask questions. However, how many actually do?

Additionally, how many of these individuals who do question why the world around them is the way it is have the knowledge and experience to create well-structured arguments and to present strong supporting evidence?

While Liberal Arts majors may not demonstrate a clear career path for individuals to follow, they do provide students with a strong foundation to build their skills around. With these practiced skills, Liberal Arts graduates are able to provide unique perspectives to their workplaces.