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Patel: All majors are created equal

Meera Patel, Columnist

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Are some majors really harder than others?

I’ve always been a firm believer in the concept that anyone can do anything if they try hard enough. Can you be an engineer? Sure, if you put in the work and time and do enough practice problems. Can you be successful as a film maker? Yes, if you know the audience you’re trying to appeal to and understand the characters with which you’re working.

So if both engineering and film require hard work and dedication, why is there a perception that one is harder than the other? My pre-med and engineering classes require me to put in a lot of time in order to succeed, but this is also true of a lot of other classes at Northwestern. Often, people are impressed when I tell them I am a biomedical engineer. The real reason I’m an engineer, though, is because of a split decision to transfer out of Weinberg before I even came to NU, not because I’m the next Albert Einstein.

I chose NU because here I would have the flexibility to explore. I could transfer from Weinberg to McCormick, McCormick to the School of Communication, or just take random classes in other schools. Of course, you generally want to emerge with a degree by the end of your four years, and flexibility is controlled by an application process to transfer between schools. The point, though, is that I came here with the vague notion that I wanted to be an engineer and explore other subjects as well. Everyone wants to study something that interests them and is willing to put in the time and energy into learning whatever they choose. Isn’t that what college is supposed to be about?

Just because I am an engineering major, it doesn’t mean I’m naturally smarter or better at understanding engineering concepts than anyone else. Anyone can check that box on their application, put the time and effort into engineering classes, practice problems enough to do them quickly and accurately and emerge with an engineering degree at the end of four years. The same goes for any other major on campus.

So the next time your friend is complaining to you about all the work he has to do, don’t blow it off because he’s in “easier” classes or because he has an “easier” major. Keep in mind that every subject is difficult and rewarding, and each is challenging in its own way.

Meera Patel is a McCormick sophomore. She can be reached at meerapatel2015@u.northwestern.edu. If you want to respond publicly to this column, send a Letter to the Editor to opinion@dailynorthwestern.com.

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