So, a couple friends and I were discussing various University programs the other day, and someone made this comment:
It’s not fair to say that a 90 in Engineering is worth more than a 90 in English. They’re both hard for different reasons!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to undermine Arts degrees. They take a lot of work, and it’s completely viable as a job choice, especially if you love it. But it’s not the same.
Last year, I was doing a Physics major and Math minor, and this year, I’ve switched to a Computer Science major, but I’ve always been a well-rounded student. Decent at everything, great at nothing, if you will. Most of my good friends are doing Engineering, or some sort of hard science, or math. I’ve also got a bunch of friends who are doing English, History, and Business.
And it’s not the same. I have a friend doing Process Engineering, he’s in 7 courses, and has class from 8AM to 6PM with little to no breaks, 4 labs a week, and is writing 10 finals this semester. He’s one of the smartest people I know, he studies all day, and gets mid 80s. He’s great at math, writing, and science, and is generally well-rounded.
Meanwhile, I have a friend doing an English degree. She’s in 4 courses; 3 of which are in-class, and one is online. She’s in class from 1PM to 3PM most days, no labs, and 3 finals. She writes her essays while hanging out with her friends, and gets mid 80s. She’s good at writing, yet completely unable to do basic math such as factoring.
This is a trend among every Engineering major and English major I know.
Bit of a difference.
You’ll have to excuse me if I’m a bit hesitant to say, “Oh yeah, totally means the same thing.” Again, I’m not trying to undermine it; every degree takes work, just different amounts of work. I realize there are people doing English majors who are brilliant at math, or Engineering majors who suck at English, but in a general case, hard science students do a Hell of a lot more work. When I brought this up, the retort I got was:
But an English degree takes so much more creativity, it’s not like math or sciences, where you just plug things into formulas. You’ve gotta be able to think things through.
I get this one a lot, and it’s something a lot of people seem to think. What people don’t realize is that, once you get passed the basic level math and science courses, it stops being “Plug the given distance into d”. Last year, in my Physics course, I had to derive my own formulas, based on every unique situation, to use in the problem. Computer Science’s very foundation is using computers to solve problems.
If that doesn’t take creativity, I don’t know what does. Sure, English and Business require creativity to come up with ideas and present them, but to say Physics is just “Plugging things into formulas”? To say Math is just “Tossing around some numbers”? To say programming is just “Typing up stuff on a computer”?
Shocking. Positively shocking.