The STEM-Based Liars – Technique
There’s nothing quite like being a humanities major at a STEM-focused school. From teasing business majors for not having a job to feeling jealous of students who don’t have to take physics classes, Georgia Tech is full of these “friendly” comparisons. .
When a game of “Hot Seat” results in the question “Who has the highest GPA” or “Who works the hardest on a group project,” the academic orientation and rigor of the school is hard to ignore. . However, these categories often overlook a large group living, sometimes in secret, among their STEM-loving peers: humanities-oriented STEM students.
You might be wondering: if a person hates STEM, why the hell would they chase them to get their degree?
There is no simple answer to this question. One possible reason is the cultural implication of entering STEM. The children of immigrants are confronted with family obligations and the weight of their expectations often weighs on them in their choice of professional orientation. It’s no secret that parents take comfort in engineering and other STEM degrees, especially as the industry is booming and the job market is vast.
In their eyes, with the sacrifices they have made to leave their lives behind to seek a future in the United States, the least their children can do is pursue careers with job security, good pay and benefits. For my own parents, for example, any career in the humanities other than law appears to be a risk. Even so, they are liberal in what they allow my sister and I to pursue, but other family situations and dynamics are much more rigid.
Another possible explanation could be based on existing skills. Some students are just plain good at STEM. It’s easy to go through life chasing college success and confusing skill with fun. High school and college are structured in such a way that students strive for high GPAs and equate success with good grades, as opposed to learning and understanding.
For this reason, successful students in STEM-based courses may confuse their high grades and honors with interest and passion for a subject. Alternatively, there is a subset of students who are acutely aware of this phenomenon, myself included. We are aware of our ability to do well in STEM classrooms; in fact, on paper, we seem to be among the most passionate and motivated students. However, we are not blind to our boredom and distaste for the subject. There is a reason why you see me here, writing this article instead of studying for my Organic Chemistry II exam.
It all boils down to one question: is it important to be passionate about your career, or is it a westernized myth that society has dragged us into?
My mother would say the latter. She views a job as a way to get money and benefits and values using free time to pursue her passions and hobbies. Meanwhile, my sister believes that if her 9-5 is something she despises, her sanity will decline, making her disinterested and unable to devote time to hobbies. One can only imagine their intensive debates around the dinner table. However, in truth, there may not be a right answer. While that won’t solve my (or anyone else’s) existential college crisis, it’s comforting to know that we’re not alone.