Being a history major is the best. I learn new things every day about the world, and I get to act like a real historian without looking like a nerd. But history majors suffer from stigma. I get very annoyed when people question my decision, and so do my fellow history majors at Barnard and other colleges. Here are the 7 things that we are tired of being told/asked:
1. “You’re a history major? What on Earth are you going to do with that?”
Honestly, I don’t know right now, and that’s the beauty of being a college freshman; I’m figuring out what I want to do with the rest of my life. In a perfect world, I’d like to be an actual historian, but it’s not always possible to find jobs like that. What I do know is that the skills we are taught apply to a variety of different fields, from curation to ad sales, and most history majors at Barnard aren’t unemployed. For now, I'm choosing to focus on my studies, so please don't add more anxiety and pressure to my plate than there already is.
2. “Oh, so you’re going to be a lawyer?”
That question really, really irritates me. I have absolutely no desire to become a lawyer, or a politician, or anything remotely close to those jobs. Please don't assume that I am going to take a certain job. Also, it implies that being a lawyer is the only career path for a history major, which is far from the case, and rude of you to suggest.
3. “Have fun teaching, you’ll get paid nothing.”
Don’t ever, EVER say that someone is not going to make any money with a specific major—that's mean, and just not true. And about teaching, that might (or might not) be something I pursue at a later age, but there is nothing wrong with that. Teaching is a rewarding job because you get to help the future generation achieve their dreams; can all the billionaires in the world say that about their jobs?
4. "Ugh, I hate reading!"
This is something I hear way too often, especially from fellow dyslexics. I understand that it is hard for some people to read, but having a difficult time reading and not liking to read are two completely different things. If you are of the latter opinion, I feel sorry for you, because you are choosing to miss out on one of the joys in life. Reading is an incredible gift that we have been given, and to waste it simply because it's easier to watch the movie is devastating and a waste. The worthier experiences in life are, after all, earned through hard work and dedication.
5. “Can you write/edit my paper?”
Seriously? Are you really asking me that? To be clear, just because I am a history major, does not mean I write and edit papers for fun. And even if I did, I would not write your paper for you. I have more interesting things to do, like go to the archives.
6. “Why would you do that to yourself?”
And being a physics major isn’t hard? Oh, you're offended? Well, if you don’t want a snarky response, mind your own business and don't ask the question in the first place. Trust that I am majoring in history for a reason.
7. "History is boring!" Or, even worse, "History is irrelevant."
You think history is boring? You’re entitled to your opinion, but don’t shove it in my face, especially when history is something that I am passionate about. I wouldn't have chosen it as my major if I wasn't interested in the field. And as for history being irrelevant, the key to the future is learning from mistakes made in the past. History is a tool that can be used to figure out how to adapt to new challenges facing us, and this is crucial more than ever in the world we live in.
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