Please Shut Up

Photo by Dedaković Ramiz on Unsplash

One day when I went to get a consultation for a medical service, the lady at the front desk decided to give her unsolicited opinion on my life decisions.

“What are you studying?” she asked me in a friendly manner.

“I’m double majoring in Religion & Culture and Political Science,” I told her proudly.

Her lips were thin. “What do you want to do with that?”

“I want to be a teacher or a professor.”

The dry look never leaving her face, she shifted her gaze to my mom. “You raised a dummy, didn’t you?”

I froze. Usually, I’m more comfortable with being confrontational than staying silent, but here I was, freaking frozen. Who the hell did this lady think she was? Who was she to judge me, and most importantly, my mom?

This incident happened a couple of years ago, and I still regret not having said anything to that lady. Someone else I met at a club event made another comment about one of my majors that ticked me off.

I feel pricks of irritation throughout my body whenever someone devalues my majors, or liberal arts majors in general. I’ll often hear people say that whatever college students learn in political science classes is stuff that they already know. That it’s just general knowledge and people are just trying to get easy A’s.

Now that’s bullshit.

I hate those incredulous reactions when I tell people about studying and writing I have to do, those humored looks that paint their faces; it’s as if whatever papers I have to write and whatever studying I have to do are easy and effortless.

Honestly, oh my goodness, just shut up.

First of all, Political Science and Religion & Culture aren’t just “easy” majors. Of course there are people who may find some subjects easier than others, but these majors aren’t just simply easy A’s. And what one person finds easy, another person may find hard.

When I study for my major-related classes and write essays for them, it’s not easy-breezy. Its hard. Taxing. Straining. Freaking draining.

Of course, some classes are easier and less work than others, but that goes for classes within every major, not just for my specific majors. There are even STEM-related classes I took that were much easier to me than my liberal arts classes. Like I said, level of difficulty is subjective.

I’m so freaking sick of people assuming that I, or anyone, can just BS it through liberal arts classes and that what we is taught is what everyone already knows. I freaking hate the assumption that whatever we learn is just general knowledge and thus a waste of time and tuition money. Like, oh my God. What ignorance.

The people who are claiming that my majors don’t really teach anything new or that they don’t have anything to offer— they are so off the mark. These people are claiming to be knowledgeable on Dr. Weisband’s concept of cosmic self worth and how it relates to atrocious acts against humanity such as honor killings. They’re claiming to know how Karl Marx excluded the role of the exploitation of women in developing a capitalist society. They’re claiming to know the stories of millions of rape victims of wars and genocides and the impacts they have on society today.

I bet that if I asked these people to explain these pieces of knowledge as well as others they would exhibit several gaps in knowledge and be dumbfounded. What we learn, aside from not just being “common knowledge,” is also far from being simple memorization. It’s understanding concepts and theories and applying them.

And another thing to note is that it takes courage and resilience to be a Political Science major. There are so many atrocities against humanity that you are confronted with and have to analyze. It can be so emotionally draining facing reality.

And how are we supposed to fix these problems if we don’t study them? If we don’t learn about them? If we don’t analyze them, their sources, as hard as it may be?

Pretending like they don’t exist, pretending that victims of crimes against humanity and oppression are just numbers and not acknowledging inexplicable suffering that continues to happen in today’s world will not change the fact that they are happening.

And for those ridiculing me for what I study because it’s not “practical” and because it doesn’t have anything to offer— what point is there in doing anything, in pursuing anything, in anything at all, if we neglect humanity?

“Humanity” isn’t just a simple concept to be studied generally and figured out. It’s extremely complex— there are so many aspects to it that complement and contradict each other.

Anyway, I’m just so freaking done with people laughing at may majors and the invaluable knowledge that they bring. I’m so blessed and so grateful to be able to learn what I learn. What I learn continuously humbles me and makes me realize how the world—how existence itself— is much larger than what I subconsciously think it to be. My perception of the world grows bigger with every new piece of knowledge.

3 Comments

  1. Ita

    You’re doing better than me. For a start I wouldn’t refer to her as a ‘lady’… what an appalling thing to have said to your mom and to you.

    I’ve never been to university, my health issues prevented me getting a good education – everything I know I’ve mostly taught to myself, so I admire anyone doing anything to get themselves a good education: just what you’re doing.

    Like

    1. Samantha Shamim

      Yes education from a university is very valuable! I am very fortunate and never my educational opportunities for granted. I’m sorry you weren’t able to get the education you wanted to, but I think it’s amazing and admirable that you were able to learn things by yourself! If it’s any help, have you heard of Khan Academy? Maybe you have already heard if it. But if you haven’t, it’s a really helpful website for people trying to learn or understand material. And it’s free which is the best part 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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