The University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis.

Kumbaya: let’s stop competing between colleges

By in Opinions
If we don’t get rescued soon, we’re using your guitar as kindling. I don’t care if you’re a god damn music major!
As an English major I’ve heard all the digs leveled against my college and my degree. My personal favourite has to be, “What are you going to do with an English degree? Work at Starbucks?”

For the record, I’ve tried. They won’t hire me.

Other people think that being an English major is a joke in and of itself. I often wonder why my chosen degree garners so little respect and how my education can so easily be turned into a punchline.

I don’t think this is just the case for English majors. Many colleges and degrees are treated as less valuable than others; they are considered expendable, unnecessary and wastes of time.

The standard model for degree superiority goes something like this: Engineering degrees are better than chemistry degrees, which are better than political studies degrees, which are better than history degrees. The list goes on.

This made-up hierarchy does not reflect reality. What makes one degree better than another? How can I say that my education is somehow more valuable than yours?

The truth is, I can’t answer these questions objectively and neither can you.

I won’t pretend to be completely innocent in the “make fun of other colleges” game. I have my own prejudices that I believe to be true: business students only care about money and will do anything for a dollar, law students are pretentious and will argue about anything with anyone, med students have God complexes and think they walk on water.

Every time I meet someone from one of these colleges, though, they turn out to be more than the arbitrary stereotype I assigned to them and I end up feeling like a jackass. In reality, I’m jealous of what other students are able to do that I can’t.

I could never balance a budget like a finance student does. I could never stand up in front of other people and argue a case like a law student can. And I know I could never deal with blood and pain like a med student must.

Maybe in the end we’re all just a little jealous of each other. Jealous that chemistry students make potions and do experiments like the ones on Bill Nye the Science Guy, or that fine arts students create beautiful work to share with the world, or that med students get to wear really cool stethoscopes and save lives.

Maybe we see in other students a bit of what we wish we could be.

The truth is that every major is worth studying and every student is more than their degree.

Yes, maybe some of the stereotypes are true — maybe kinesiology students do love to go to the gym, maybe business students do like suits. After all, I do enjoy reading poetry and drinking fancy lattes. But if we look beyond these stereotypes and prejudices, if we refuse to label people solely based on what college they’re in, we can create a campus-wide community.

After all, we’re all in this together. We’re all missing sleep, we’re all worrying about what we’ll do next and we’re all wondering if what we’re doing is worth it. We’re all working for the piece of paper that will never accurately represent exactly what we learned or how hard we worked for it. Why can’t we all just respect each other? Because if we get right down to it, we’re not really that different after all.


Photo: lowjumpingfrog/Flickr

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