Dear people of the world,
My first question for you is “why?” Why do you think it is important, or kind, or relevant to put down someone because of what they have decided to study? As a recent graduate of an Arts degree, double-majoring in English Literature and French as a Second Language, I have heard my share of negative comments:
“So you, like, read lots of books and talk about them?”
“I don’t get why Shakespeare is important, it’s so old I don’t know why we study it anymore”
“Did you ever think of studying something that will better society?”
Well, do I have news for you, darlings! I do read a crazy amount of books and if by “talking about them” you mean “investigating what the intricacies of this novel says about the bigger picture of society” then why yes we do talk about them!
“Why would you even want to learn another language? Soon enough everyone is going to speak English”
“French isn’t even spoken in that many countries!”
You get my point. Add these comments to the ones I get about also pursuing a degree in education (“there are no jobs” or “those who can’t do, teach”), and it is not at all hard to see how discouraging it can be.
Enough with the negativity, though. I am here to share some tips on what we can say to people whom are studying something you don’t necessarily understand. I have listed below some comments that may cross your mind when someone tells you what they are studying and what you can say instead:
What they say: “I’m a Chemistry major!”
What you might think: “Ew. Chemistry is so boring”
What you should say: “Cool! I’m happy that you are studying something you are passionate about!”
What they say: “I’m a History major!”
What you might think: “Studying history is a waste of time”
What you should say: “Interesting! There is so much to learn about our world, it is exciting you enjoy your learning!”
What they say: “I’m a Math major!”
What you might think: “Oh my goodness I would hate to think about math day after day”
What you should say: “Good for you! My brain doesn’t process math easily, I’m glad you’re doing something you enjoy!”
What they say: “I’m a biomed major!”
What you might think: “So you’re going to be a doctor, then?”
What you should say: “Cool! Biology must really interest you!”
What they say: “I’m a Theatre major!”
What you might think: “There are no jobs in that field”
What you should say: “How exciting! I am happy that you are pursuing something you are passionate about!”
When in doubt, my dear readers, you can always go with something to the effect of “was ______ something you always wanted to study?” or “what sparked your interest in ______?”
You don’t have to agree with someone to respect what they have chosen to study.
Be kind to one another.