Gender & Identity, Life

25 things that humanities majors are tired of dealing with

How can I write a paper that's only *10* pages???

As a Humanities major, you’re often put in the position of having to justify your major to family, friends, and acquaintances. Even if people are constantly questioning your choices, you know that passion is what counts.

Unfortunately, passion won’t always protect you from the pitfalls of college.

1. Reading. So much reading.

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When I got to college I thought I liked reading. I still do, sort of, but now most of the books stacked on my desk come from syllabi.

2. You’ve added up the number of pages you have to write for all of your classes.

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Or you haven’t. That’s cool too, and probably better for your stress levels.

3. You’re an expert at skimming.

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Not only can you read at an Olympic pace, you can understand and absorb what you read while doing it.

4.  Shakespeare.

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Does he belong to the Humanities, in the realm of the English majors? Or does he belong to the Arts and Theater? One thing is for sure: he wrote a lot of poems and plays, and we read them pretty often.

5. “What are you going to do with your degree?”

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This is something everyone worries about, so why does it feel like the question is usually aimed at Humanities majors?

6. Sometimes that question comes from your parents.

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It’s harder to brush off from your parents.

7. Take-home exams.

They’re much better than in-class finals.

8. Taking math or science requirements.

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People assume you don’t know what you’re doing. If they’re wrong, it’s infuriating. If they’re right, it’s still infuriating.

9. Everyone assumes your classes are super easy.

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See points one and two. A Humanities degree is a lot of work.

10. “Have you thought about law school?”

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A lot of Humanities majors go to law school. What frustrates me about this question is that everyone who asks it seems to think that they’re giving you completely new information.

11. When you’re working on a paper at the last minute and run into your professor in the coffee shop.

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There’s no use trying to hide what you’re doing. Your professor already knows because they’ve probably done the same thing a hundred times.

12. You don’t drink coffee, but for some reason, you’re writing in a coffee shop anyway.

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No time for questions, you have to write!

13. Alternatively, you do drink coffee and your blood is half caffeine by now.

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Is that how caffeine works?

14. When you’re in a coffee shop at 5:30 a.m. and you see a duck walk past the storefront.

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This one isn’t universal, but I’m still thinking about that duck. It was one of the most surreal experiences of my life and it left me sitting there as the sun just barely started to rise, trying to rationalize it. I haven’t seen a duck in that shopping center before or since.

15. “Are you going to become a teacher?”

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Maybe! Or maybe I’m going into another one of the careers open to me. It’s not really your business.

16. Theory classes.

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Theory classes: where all the readings are as dense as bricks.

17. When you actually understand what the professor is talking about.

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The moment you realize you know what “dialectic” means is wild.

18. Discussions sections where no one else raises their hand, so it’s mostly you and the TA talking with an audience.

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You did the reading and you have something to say, so say it!

19. When someone says something in the discussion that is just so wrong that you almost want to stop class to let them know.

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Would you stay after class to keep arguing? I am pretty confident I would be that person.

20. “You must love reading! What do you read for fun?”

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I can tell you what I read for fun in middle school. I probably had time for a few books in high school, too. But in college? See point one again.

21. Walking into office hours and asking your professor to help you craft a thesis.

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Put on a smile and admit you don’t have any concrete ideas. Talking it out with your professor helps flesh out your own thoughts.

22. Not getting comments on final papers.

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I know my grade, but what did my professor think?

23.  Not being able to read your professor’s comments on the papers you do get back.

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Now you have to go into office hours and ask.

24. Getting positive feedback that just stokes your ego.

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It’s not false modesty that makes you go, “Who, me?” My absolute conviction that I am a better writer than all of my classmates coexists with the unwavering certainty that I am in fact a terrible writer.

25. Getting critique that helps you improve your writing.

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Sometimes when a professor tears your essay apart (nicely), you get real advice to help you move forward.