By Jen Cooper
I came into Stony Brook as a biology major, I am graduating this Spring with a BA in Journalism, and I’m attending graduate school for my MFA in Creative Writing in the Fall. So, I’ve had a bit of experience in many academic fields.
The culture cultivated on Stony Brook’s campus favoring STEM classes and writing off humanities classes is nonsense. Clearly, I am now pursuing humanities, but my journalism classes were no easier than my biology classes. Anyone who has taken journalism 320 knows that it is arguably more difficult than say biology 203.
Each person has different strengths. I’ve seen STEM majors unable to write a two page analysis for a Women’s Studies class just as I’ve seen people unable to balance a chemical equation. STEM or Humanities. Neither is necessarily harder, just different experiences for different people.
Smaller class sizes in humanities courses aren’t always better or easier. Sure, it’s difficult to be in a 600-person chemistry lecture with a professor that is difficult to hear. But, on the other hand, you can’t sit on your phone in a 12 person reporting class. You must also participate, no matter what personal issues you have or how tired you are. At many of these large STEM classes, attendance isn’t even taken regularly whereas every single journalism, women’s studies, creative writing, or other humanities course I’ve been in has always taken attendance and grades are deducted if you don’t show up.
With recent cuts to humanities, many people feel like they don’t matter. Call me a snowflake, but it’s not weak to have feelings or be compassionate for those suffering. Humanities courses have helped better my life significantly whereas STEM classes have broken my mental health. For some people, the opposite is true.
So, what I implore everyone to consider is that no major or career choice is so much harder than another, but that people’s personal experiences affect how difficult or easy classes and life is for them. The ‘my major is tougher than your major’ game and ‘busier than thou’ complexes are really unbelievable. We shouldn’t glorify how little sleep we get or how difficult our lives are to make ourselves appear tougher, but rather show compassion and help each other through difficult times.
It wouldn’t be the worst thing to not fight each other, but fight the system that has pitted us against one another, like the University that shows favor for one over the other.