Scents of the different majors


Illustration by Isabella Buchter

Kate Grumbles, News Reporter

Biology – Formaldehyde and mitochondria 

This is pretty self-explanatory; STEM majors out there will understand. These committed individuals exude the scents of the two things that they are most passionate about: formaldehyde and mitochondria. Catch any Bio major leaving a lab and hints of this unique scent will undoubtedly be in the air. 


Music – Johann Sebastian Bach 

There’s just something about the way all music majors smell that hearkens back to when Bach first invented the concept of music. Notes of old paper, spit and metal instruments appear in this refined, cultured scent.


Film & Media – Inside of a fedora 

Eau de film major is the raw, real, honest scent lingering on the inside of a fedora — you’ll know it when you smell it. One guaranteed way to draw this scent out is if you start to discuss your favorite Tarantino film. All of a sudden, this scent appears with a film major not far behind. Now is your chance to run; you’re not getting another warning. 


Geology – Earth

Geo majors exude an earthy, outdoorsy scent. Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on the individual geo major; it could be fresh flowers growing out of the ground, or sewage. Tread carefully. The geology major’s scent typically includes hints of basalt, schist and gneiss. 


Chemistry – Broken glass beaker 

Known universally as the rebels of academia, chemistry majors are typically just coming out of a lab where someone broke all their tubes or whatnot, someone had to do an eye rinse and someone else did the lab perfectly in 10 minutes. These high-pressure situations create a unique scent featuring Bunsen burner, glass and sweat. 


Sociology – Fresh ocean breeze

As the most socially adept of all majors, if soc students were a scent they would be something pleasant and generally well-liked by everyone. Interactions with any soc major are a breath of fresh air; you start to realize that maybe you are a product of society and your individual faults are the result of systemic issues outside of your control. Freeing, no? This scent features notes of Auguste Comte, anomie and researcher positionality. 


English – Penguin Classics

The English major is intellectual in a non-confrontational way, just like their scent. You know it’s there, but it doesn’t overpower you. This quiet scent is papery with notes of leather, wax seals and the quill pens that English majors write their papers with. If the conditions are just right, you might be able to smell a little iambic pentameter in the air.