Since I’ve started college, I’ve been asked the same question over and over again. “What are you majoring in?”And every time I reply with “art history,” I am quickly thrown into a pit of questioning that tends to come with an extremely patronizing tone. And without fail, the next question is inevitably, “What are you going to do with that?” I’m certain that this is a common occurrence for any college student studying whatever it is he or she is studying. And I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m extremely tired of constantly justifying my collegiate decisions.
As a humanities major, I often find myself the butt of many jokes. Apparently, what I — and many others — study, isn’t meaningful in many people’s eyes. Which is a sad realization. Honestly, it’s usually those science majors that get on our case. Not to say that I disagree with their academic choices, or anyone else’s. Far from it! I’m impressed — amazed that people have the brains for concepts I could never grasp, and the universe knows I’ve tried. My mind is not cut out to understand anything about ionic and covalent bonds or chemical reactions. Also, I will never properly solve a problem involving half-life nor will I ever fully comprehend quantum mechanics. Math gives me a headache. I’m more than happy to have left limits, derivatives and integrals behind me in high school. I absolutely can’t stand them. So, in my mind, it’s incredible that there are people who actually do enjoy these things.
Why can’t other people feel this way about art history? I know art isn’t for everyone, and I don’t expect it to be. I’m positive there are many people in the world who just can’t bring themselves to like art. But that’s how it should be, really. Affection and respect are concepts that are not mutually exclusive. So, people of the world, why can’t you just respect the decisions of others to study what interests them? First of all, what’s the fun in studying something you don’t enjoy? Why study something you dread? (Besides, I already dread some classes that I’m obligated to take as part of my major or minor — why make it harder on myself?) Secondly, shouldn’t people be happy that not everyone they’ve ever met is majoring in the same fields and vying for the same careers? You would think this would be a comforting fact. Anyway, just because you major in something in college doesn’t mean your whole future is determined.
All I know is that you should enjoy your time at college, studying what you genuinely find interesting. So, when you’re studying for hours and hours late into the night (and early morning) and you are cursing at everything, at least it will be at things you do like. I’d rather spend my weekend nights crying over the fact that I have to write an essay about paintings I’ve been staring at for hours or a 300-page book I have to finish reading for my English minor than over anything else. I take pride in my studies. Shouldn’t everyone?
Krissen Kawachi is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences and a weekly columnist for The Daily Free Press. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.