It is interesting how as college students, and even graduate students, we characterize each other by our majors. I think we put each other and ourselves into the box of our major; we major restrict ourselves, in a sense. I do it constantly; it’s sort of the culture of our time, I suppose. We see an English major and decide that all she is is brainy and nothing more; a math major is constantly referred to whenever mathematical issues come up, even if it’s something simply like dividing the bill between a few people; and a person with a science major must be Asian because only Asians are smart enough, right? I think this stereotypical thinking limits us in how we see others’ potential, and inhibits our perspective of our own abilities. I am not just a literary scholar; I love music and singing, art and accents, world travel and camping in my backyard, the physiology of sight, etc, etc. I could go on forever about my interests, because they are wide and numerous. But for some reason, the college generation today boxes themselves in by talking about and thinking of people as only one thing. We let our major give us our identity, rather than allowing our major to contribute to our already full and diverse identities. Everyone has many interests, but unfortunately for us, the college culture trains us to see only one: whatever we majored in. I’m sure these constraints fade as time goes on, perhaps you get a job in a completely different field than what your degree is in, or you begin a family and become even more distanced from studies that were relevant to you in college, or maybe you just cultivate a full life as an adult that is filled with many hobbies and interests, rather than being tied to one thing in general, as college students typically are. Nevertheless, this constrictive thinking exists in our culture, and I think it’s hindering our ability to branch out and try new things!
If the culture and my friends say that since I’m an English major, I should do something concerning writing, that’s all well and good. However, nowadays, the message we receive is not “you majored in English so you’re equipped for a job in the English field” but rather “you majored in English so that’s all you are good at and if you try to do something different or anything else besides that, you will fail, because you’re an English major.” This message is crazy in light of the fact that every year people graduate from college and get a job that has nothing to do with their major because the economy sucks and they can’t get any other job or because they’re interested in that thing in addition to what they majored in. The point is that we should not limit ourselves, and thus set ourselves up for failure before we have even begun, by thinking that our majors and college degrees define us. No, they shape us, teach us, grow us, and certainly open our eyes to new things which interest us (hopefully), but our major is not all that we are! Especially since we as Christians have Jesus, we need to find our identity in Him over anything else, and then out of that core identity, we have interests and desires which flow into our personality and shape/hone who we are over the course of our lives. Your identity is not all about your major, and we shouldn’t make it so. Our culture needs to break the bonds of this closed-minded type thinking to allow for growth and change in the individual members and the society as a whole.