Major Dilemma

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Hello, World.

I have a confession. It’s a confession that I don’t often vocalize because I am one of those people that hate admitting things such as this. I go round and round, silently hoping my fears, concerns, annoyances will disappear with time, yet I know they will only get worse… I have a love-hate relationship with my Liberal Arts major, and it’s not because I sometimes hate the subject or my experience with it. I am an English major with a Creative Writing Emphasis and a History minor. This major combination was my plan in the fourth grade (when I first learned that majors existed), and it is still my plan now. I love reading, I love comparing authors, I love writing, and I love anything historical. I’m kind of a nerd, I admit… but so far in my college career, I’ve learned that society doesn’t feel quite as enthusiastic about my major. I cannot even count the times that I’ve been talking to someone, often older and already in the middle of their career, who asks me what I’m majoring in, and once I tell them, reply with, “Ah, I see,” followed by a long pause, then, “are you planning on teaching?” If I had to offer a rough estimate, the number of times I’ve heard this is in the hundreds.
It really irks me, if I’m being honest. I hate how people just assume I’m going to teach. Even if my career path did include teaching, that is not a bad thing, and I hate the negative connotation and condescending tone that accompanies this line of questioning. I actually cringe when people ask me this, with that tone implying, “you have no future in a profitable, ultra-successful career.” In recent months, I started considering law school for a post-undergraduate educational route, and let me just tell you, this conversation I hate so much is taking a turn. I get the teaching question, and then when I respond with, “actually, I’m thinking of going to law school,” the person’s demeanor completely changes. Suddenly their eyes light up, and they begin showering me with information, telling me that’d be a great career for me, and that that’s a really great career. In these instances, I go back to conversations shared with my dad as a young girl, as a middle school student, as a high-schooler stressed about college, and now, as a college student.
In conversations where I express annoyance with people’s general lack of understanding about why I would major in English, my dad always says this, “major in what you love as an undergraduate, then move on to a grad school to specialize in something you can get a great job in (that you still love)”. So, for me, my undergraduate career is doing what I love, which is English. For graduate school, I may continue to pursue English, or I may go to law school because law has always been in the back of my mind, along with being a professor. I’m not sure which is more my “calling,” but I bet you I will figure it out. I just wish people weren’t so negative about liberal arts majors. I may be an English major, but at least I love my classes and my professors and what I’m studying, unlike my friends who study science or business simply because it will make them money eventually. I know money is important, and I know I want a job that makes a comfortable living, but I also know that I love English, and that I could do virtually anything after I get my bachelor’s degree in English. So, I suppose my sentiment in this post is this: do what you love, you can figure out logistics later, and don’t become discouraged to follow your dreams when others project negativity onto what you’re doing. I think there’s a saying that goes, “you do you.” I think more people need to follow this, and just do. And if you aren’t sure what you want to do, well that’s okay too. Just know that if you are doing something you love, it doesn’t matter what other people think.

Truly,
Callie Leigh

Judgment Day

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Hello, World.

The other night I was curled up with a cup of tea, listening to the Mumford and Sons Pandora station, and perusing Pinterest. I know there a lot of people who use Pinterest, and I know there are a lot of people who don’t, but seriously, if you ever need a little inspiration or words of wisdom about anything (and I do mean anything) you should really think about opening a new window (after you finish reading this, of course), and browsing the pages and pages of…stuff on that site.

Anyway, while going through the quotes page, I stumbled across a little gem that read, “Just remember that sometimes, the way you think about a person isn’t the way they actually are.” At first I read this quote, then kept scrolling, but about ten seconds later, I was scrolling back up, re-reading the seventeen or so words beautifully written by John Green (naturally).

Initially, a bunch of people rushed into my mind. People that I could easily show this quote to, and say, “you shouldn’t judge me.” But then, as I continued to stare at the quote, I started thinking about the people I’ve thought things about before actually knowing them. Judgment is part of everyday life, and even though we learn to “not judge a book by its cover” when we’re little, I’m pretty sure everyone eventually learns that is just an ideal. Honestly, we make presumptions about people within five minutes of knowing them. Actually, we make presumptions about people within five seconds of just seeing them. Just take a moment to think about the people who hadn’t even spoken to you, but that you had ‘all figured out’ right away. You may look at someone wearing expensive clothing, chatting on his or her iPhone, and think that he or she is a pretentious person that can’t possibly be compassionate. You may see someone who you deem unattractive, and assume he or she is just an idiot who doesn’t deserve your time. Sure, these are nasty assumptions, but human nature has a funny way of putting a dark spin on our immediate reactions to people.

People can say that they never judge people, and they’re the kindest being in the world besides Mother Teresa, but maybe those people just aren’t very vocal about their judgments because judgmental thoughts cross their mind at some point, some how, some way. The thoughts may not even be considered judgmental, maybe they seem more like ‘observations,’ but let’s get real; that’s just a culturally sensitive way of admitting to thinking judgmental things. While I admit that I judge people, and that it is wrong, I feel people probably think I judge others a lot more than I actually do. For years, I’ve battled what I call “the disinterested face syndrome.” With this ailment, I often come across aloof or disinterested in people, especially because I don’t really have a super inviting face. Usually, though, I am interested in people, I just take a while to warm up (maybe because I’m an introvert?).

Since I’m not the friendliest person right away—unless I’m completely alone and am forced to be outgoing—a lot of people assume I dislike them or just don’t care to get to know them. These assumptions are judgments, and they are things that people think about me, but aren’t how I actually am. It is a little ironic, though, because if I meet someone who is reserved or closed off toward me, I assume the same thing. Judgments exist in a vicious cycle, where people judge each other, one judgment gets vocalized, and the other person judges again even more harshly.

I’ve made silent judgments that have turned out to be completely untrue once I got to know someone, but that’s the thing: you have to try to get to know someone in order to be proven wrong. I’ve encountered a lot of people who make an assumption about someone, and then don’t care to get to know that person because they’ve already made up their mind. This isn’t fair, though, because people really should be more open minded, and have a desire to get to know new people. Everyone, including me, should aspire to live a life that is as close to judgment-free as possible. To borrow a quote from Sarah Dessen, the next time you meet someone, “Don’t think or judge, just listen.”

What are your thoughts on judgment? How can we become less judgmental?

Truly,

Callie Leigh