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Pursuing A Difficult Major Doesn’t Make You A Nerd

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difficult major pursuit

I’m writing this article in defense of those of you that have decided to pursue a degree in a field that practically eliminates your social life. That could be architecture, engineering, or a pre-medicine track full of chemistry and biology courses. You’ve sacrificed Tuesday Booze-days and Wasted Wednesdays in exchange for late nights designing intricate blueprints, memorizing the difference between Markovnikov and anti-Markovnikov additions for an organic chemistry class, or doing whatever the fuck engineers do. But don’t worry — you’re not a nerd.

Typically, if you’re pursuing a difficult degree, there’s a very good chance that you’re pretty good at what you do. There aren’t many engineers getting jobs with a 2.4 GPA. The work you’re putting in semester after semester to get that 3.9 is bolstering your fraternity’s GPA, and parents love seeing a high cumulative GPA when trying to decide if they want their son to join a fraternity. Every mom wants to see their son grow up to be successful, and hearing a well-put-together kid talk about how his fraternity has helped him grow as a man and find success as a biomedical systems engineering major is a major green light.

I know you don’t get to go out with the guys whenever they decide to go downtown on Wednesday nights, but who’s going to keep your brothers from driving home drunk from the bars? Sure, they could just call an Uber, but they know you’re up studying for that Statics quiz. You might not get to take part in the full debauchery of the evening, but you will manage to show up with a ride just before someone decides to take a swing at a bike cop. You’re their sober hero.

All this being said, its not like you people in “smart” majors are always boring. When you finally do have the free time to go out, you don’t hold back. We all know that one guy who buries his head in his books for weeks at a time, and we all know the feeling of excitement everyone in the squad gets when he announces that he’ll be coming out to party. There’s something beautiful and terrifying about the sense of reckless abandon that comes with someone who is drinking like it’s the last time he’ll be able to for three months.

I’d be remiss if I neglected to mention that when you get out of college, you’re basically guaranteed a job, a fast-track for a Master’s program, or a spot in a medical school. That means you’ve set yourselves up for a lifetime of 2-week-long vacations on tropical islands, a garage with a couple Beemers, and a wife who’s way out of your league. Those things alone are reason enough to pursue a tough degree.

I’m writing this mostly as a nod to all of you STEM kids trying to survive finals week without putting a gun in your mouth. You’re nearly done. Keep powering through — lake season is close. Until then, good luck. We’re all counting on you to give us discount Addy when you finally get that “Dr.” in front of your name.

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