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Mind Over Mat(t)er-ial

In some sense, we are always competing. There seems to be an instilled hierarchy of majors, with STEM students ranking at the top, and all other disciplines falling somewhere below. I really cannot say whether this break-up is based on the difficulty of classes, future employability, or some other devised construct. However, I can say with certainty that no major is any “better” than another. Each one comes with its own difficulties, just as students come with respective skills. Some students are gifted in Chemistry, but cannot write a cohesive five page paper. It all comes down to the individual, not the department into which they fall.

The other harsh reality is that we bicker over majors that are assumed to get us jobs post graduation. However, employers have been choosing to prioritize the skills of the individual in question, over their field. Companies have defined the eight most employable skills sought in workers, these include: ability to effectively communicate, teamwork, problem solving, technological fluency, capacity to learn, initiative, organization, and self management. In a world where knowledge is evolving so rapidly, our education is only able to keep us competitive a few years after graduating, but being able to communicate, plan, and learn will take employees further than any single degree. To boil it down, we spend so much energy comparing majors, when the reality is that personal qualities will take a person further than any degree will. With that, as students we need to prioritize not only academic success, but growth in other respects as well.

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