It was the first semester of my sophomore year when I clearly remember sitting down to study at on-campus Starbucks. There is always just as much talking as studying going on there, and I remember distinctly hearing someone ask another person the very common question: “What is your major?” While this question is easily asked somewhere on campus every day of the year, the response to the answer was not as common.
The student answered the question with “social work,” to which the student who asked, said “Wow, what do you do with all of your free time?” I was disappointed. How could someone be so forward? What would they accomplish by asking a question like that?
While the social work student played it off I’m sure, the rest of the story is unknown to me. I just remember thinking about all of the possibilities of responses that could have been given and were not. Disrespect in regard to someone’s life choices is not uncommon. It may not be in putting someone down for their major, but picking another person apart for how they act, who they are friends with and even what they believe in. It is a trap that we all too often fall into.
No, every major is not the same. No, not every person has to accumulate specific facts or memorize every bone in the skeletal system. No, not everyone has the same vision for their life, but isn’t that what makes deciding for yourself what you want to do, so unique?
Each degree takes a different type of person — some who can easily do one thing might very well struggle with another simply because they are different types of work. To the social work student that was disrespected that day in Starbucks, I would say props to you for what you will do, because it is something that I could never pursue myself. To anyone else who has had a similar encounter because of his or her degree, I would say kudos to you for knowing yourself well enough to make the choice best suited for your future.
I do not, however, want to seem as though I am above this. We all at different times, for whatever the reason, put others down maybe in an effort to feel more secure about ourselves or to be funny. It’s not always easy, and we will not ever be perfect when it comes to treating others respectfully. Yet, by remembering that we all are different people with different talents and aspirations, we can all hopefully come to the conclusion that a little respect goes a long way.