Written by Grace Winfree
Throughout the last few years, I have found there are two sides of the academic coin. Regarding attitudes, a student can either view her schoolwork as a major point of pride from accomplishing tough courses and preparing for an intense career or as blow-off classes that add up to a degree that generally does not receive much praise — or somewhere in between. I speak on behalf of the latter category, as communication majors tend to receive comments from peers about how their homework status is more of a laughing matter.
I suffered whiplash in my transition to college. For seven years, I attended an academic magnet school with fellow students who challenged me in our shared studies and went on to Ivy League schools. But when I entered college and my academic path, I immediately felt discredited for the work I wanted to do. Science majors were shoving their labs and lectures in my face, and I thought, “What are my communication skills even worth?”
Whatever your major is, or whatever category you fall into based on a stereotype, I think we need a reminder of what a healthy attitude toward school should be: that we take pride in our work as a user of our God-given talents, but we should not give that work power to single-handedly define our worth as a valuable person in society, especially not in comparison to others. Since the curriculum is so different across various departments, comparing workloads contributes to a toxic academic environment. I am unable to mention each particular area of study and address the perception of rigor that comes with them, but I urge you to investigate the mindset you have of your schoolwork and the intention behind it.
We all know that God created us with different talents and abilities, so let’s start showing respect to every career path, as all are necessary for humanity’s success. To the future teachers, videographers, child-life specialists, designers, social workers and coaches, we not only need you, but we need you to believe in the work you do, too.
There is value in a work ethic, period.
Perhaps you are guilty of either discrediting or giving too much credit to your work, due to a simple comparison to what others are involved in. Value personal judgment on that, yes. You should know your own standards and what drives you. But do not get subliminally fooled into considering your academic challenges worthless or worth too much because of what is or isn’t required of you, and respect the professional goals of your peers, as well as yourself.
You have to know what you’re getting into and stick with it. If you have a stereotypically “easier” major, give it everything that is required and more because you have a gift that is meant to be used. If you have a “harder” major, don’t discredit the work other people are doing just because they chose a different path than you. Embrace this challenging journey you set out to take, knowing it should pay off in the end and you will play a vital role in the lives of others.
My fellow Bison, it may be time for you to flip that coin.