The recent question we we where proposed in class about whether or not a major can be considered real or fake is an interesting assertion.  How can one define a persons subject, and presumably, area of interest as either real or fake?  It seems to me that these are far to simple words and couldn’t possibly hope to encompass all that each collegiate subject entails.  But how could you, if you where so inclined, measure the “worth” of an area of study.  Certainly rigor would be the best option, you could rate subjects based on how rigorous their academic coursework is.  To do this, you could conduct a survey to determine how many students drop out of each major due to course rigor and/or poor grades.  This would give you a moderately clear picture of how difficult the major is while avoiding the issue of certain individuals being good at certain disciplines but not others.  When it comes to questions like this it is best to avoid personal opinion as much as possible, opinion is a bad measure of anything quantifiable.  However the University does not need to make this assessment, society makes the assessment for us through income.  Society values certain areas of knowledge more than others, this is an inescapable fact.  We, as a society, pay certain jobs more because we value their work more (for example, doctors are paid more than museum curators).  Of course this is not to say that one should only choose a major for monetary reasons, you should always follow your passion and find a way to make a living doing what you love.  But, its also important to recognize and appreciate those members of society who take it one step further, work a little harder, and do a little more.

– Travis Piser


One thought on ““Real”

  1. The more I think about it, the more ridiculous it seems to approach how “real” a major is by assessing its rigor, practicality, or financial benefit. I think we’re confusing the true meaning of “real” with too many other unrelated ideas.

    By examining a major’s rigor, you can prove (or disprove) that it is rigorous. By examining a major’s practicality, you can prove that it is practical. By examining a major’s financial benefit, you can prove that it is lucrative. Rigorous, practical and lucrative do not equate with “real,” “valid” and “worthy.” I would argue that all a discipline must do to prove its “realness” is produce something of value: huge and tangible like a bridge or obscure and intangible like a complicated literary theory. I think that true realness should be measured by the reality of the body of work of the discipline, not by other external factors.

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