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My Love Letter Dedicated to All the Stupid Majors

Written by
Abbigail Lewis-Maher
and
and
June 27, 2023
My Love Letter Dedicated to All the Stupid Majors
Photo: Romina BM via Unsplash

I was a stupid 17-year-old, but I am sure this is a thought you have had as well. Going to post-secondary immediately following high school during a global pandemic was not exactly the movie-esque experience I had been promised all of these years. I remember sitting in my twelfth-grade philosophy class, thinking about how I felt lost and helpless during this time. The next chapter of my life was about to begin, and I felt as if everyone around me was going to flip the page before I had even begun to write. I sat down with my mom one day, looking at the university admission stuff and was told “You have to pick something.” When I looked through the options and saw philosophy as a choice, it was the only thing that felt right. I remember the looks of confusion and disapproval from the adults in my life, but I maintained the idea that they just didn’t understand the value I saw in my newfound passion. 

There was something beautiful and enthralling about my high school philosophy class. It sparked something within me that just felt right. It could have been the fact that a lot of my friends were in that class, or that’s the year I got medicated. It could have been my sentimental and superstitious nature getting the best of me, giving in to something that supplies an endless stream of content to both of those parts of me. Regardless, I have committed to it with my whole heart. It has genuinely become what drives me, and has made me ambitious towards a future I never really pictured before. That means a lot more to me than nods of approval, and half-hearted ‘congratulations.’

I remember being asked by countless people what I would possibly do with a philosophy degree; I was teased at work, being told I wouldn’t go any further than the position I still currently hold at Walmart (fuck you, Ed. Happy 11th or however many years at Walmart, by the way). People would say they were so proud of me for getting so far, but they wished I had picked something else. Perhaps you’re alongside them, or perhaps you’re a philosophy major like myself, wondering if you should have gone with that science degree. If you are a philosophy major, I am here to tell you, wholeheartedly, that your work matters just as much as the work of any other major. 

I’m going into my third year here at Trent as a philosophy and sociology major, specializing in applied ethics. So call me a phony, as I am not a full philosophy major. Though, I can assure you that adding sociology into the mix did aid me. At all. Questioning the value of my future became accompanied by questions of authenticity, as many of the adults in my life were not aware of what sociology is. And you know what, sure, my plans for the future change all the time. But that is literally just how life works. Things do and do not work out, that is the chance you have to take. I can assure you though, I am on a clear and concentrated path towards the rest of my life. I know I would have disagreed at 17, but I want to stick around for at least a little while now, so I am not too concerned with being able to see the end of the road yet. 

To be entirely and brutally honest with you, I do not care if something materialistic comes from my philosophy degree. There is something much more important that comes from taking these classes. Through many, many hours of reflection and introspection, I have become a more critical thinker, while remaining open-minded and kind-hearted. I have learned to see the reasoning, and sometimes the value in the opposite argument. I have learned to have my argument stripped down to nothing, but I have become more than able to rethink and reframe my thoughts while maintaining my morals. Ignorance truly is bliss, but when you care about others as much as I do, it is hell. The value of my work is not only monetary, but symbolic and internal. 

Though, perhaps this is exactly what you would expect from a self-proclaimed emo 19-year-old philosophy major (should I mention I am also a poet?). Would you expect me to say I’m writing this in the midst of a thunderstorm, as I watch it roll in over the lake in my small hometown with Fall Out Boy on? Because I am. 

I don’t care what your major is, but I suggest you find something more than money within it. Yes, I am telling you to pursue the major your parents talked you out of. If you find meaning and purpose within your studies, similar to the way I do, I am begging you to continue them with your full heart. Your passion will guide you somewhere great. I will forever raise my glass and smoke a bowl in honour of any arts major. This has been my love letter to you.

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