Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 4
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Navigating the STEM Wilderness: An English Major’s Struggle for Survival

Ah, Whitman College; it is here we find ourselves in the heart of academia, observing the fascinating ecosystem of a liberal arts college. Amidst the lush intellectual foliage, we discover a particular species struggling for survival in the challenging terrain — the English major.

Unlike some species confined to specific academic domains set in laboratories and classrooms, English majors have a natural instinct to roam freely across campus throughout the day. They have hours on end to dine in the nearly-empty Cleveland Commons, they soak up sunlight as they read under trees on Ankeny and they lie in bed as they write essays for homework. When they are not engaging in these activities, they are often found nestled in the halls of Olin, engaging in group discussion amidst a small class size. 

But in the vast and intricate landscape of academia, the English major finds themselves navigating the challenging terrain of distribution requirements. Much like a fish out of water, they are plunged into the depths of an Intro to Geo class, grappling with the unfamiliar realm of scientific discourse and the geological intricacies of rocks, driving them closer and closer to the desire of banging their head against one. The journey continues as they enter the arena of a math class, where they are placed before a list of equations, the only type of sentence they cannot read. 

As their day comes to an end, marked by an excruciatingly lengthy lab session — the only one of their college career — the English major finds themselves lost to an unfamiliar linguistic realm, surrounded by STEM peers tossing out esoteric terms like “columnar jointing” and “Grammarly.”

The impact of this linguistic disorientation lingers, particularly during moments when insults about the English major’s presumed future seamlessly integrate into conversations, pushing them into an existential crisis. This stark contrast extends to the envisioned futures of STEM majors, who anticipate cruising in Teslas with top-notch sound systems, ready to amplify their TED Talks while the English major struggles to afford even basic writing tools, resorting to tracing words in freezing snow on the very streets they call home. 

Yet, there’s a silver lining for the English major — they won’t need to invest in an eye cream to conceal the telltale signs of sleep deprivation plaguing STEM majors, their social circle reaches outside of study groups and, most importantly, the English major doesn’t have to depend on AI programs to be literate.

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