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Common Stigmas Against Uni Degrees

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There is a strong stigma around most uni degrees, which can leave a negative generalisation on the students in those degrees and categorise them as a ‘type’ of student. Thanks to the movies, memes and the media, there seems to be degrees that are great for your reputation – and degrees that aren’t:

Economics

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The stereotypes that people associate with students of finance and economics degrees are basically future CFO knob-heads. The stigma on these ‘types’ of students is that they have no passion or love for anything, and only live to make money. Economics and finance student, Rhiana, tells Chattr that “people just think you’re money hungry, which I guess is right for some, but for most that’s far from the truth.” On the other hand, there’s the positive stereotype that students studying finance are intelligent and good with numbers, and will probably be able to afford to put a deposit down on a house before the rest of us. 

Arts

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The creative ones who take up film, design and history majors usually have to fight off quite a bit of hate. There’s a negative stereotype that revolves around Arts degrees that the arts students aren’t studying a serious degree. Carla, a student studying a Bachelor of Ancient History, told Chattr that this isn’t the case:

“People often assume people who do Arts don’t work as hard and aren’t really serious about their future, which is 100 percent wrong. Most of the time it’s people studying what they’re passionate about instead of chasing the dollar.”

Carla also mentions that the degree being ‘lazy’ couldn’t be further from the truth – there is a lot of reading involved and she’s learning two ancient languages. Advice for high school students who are feeling unsure about pursuing this degree is that it totally does leave you employable. Carla says that in reality, employers often find it really interesting when they see you’ve studied an Arts degree and you have a broad, creative set of skills to offer. 

Communications

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This degree is actually glorified, which can still lead to a negative impact on students who decide to undertake this degree just because of the stereotypes . Public relations and advertising in particular have a reputation for leading to fabulous careers and celebrity status, like Samantha Jones in Sex and the City. If you’re passionate and willing, you can make it. However, not everyone can get an office in a 54 storey building overlooking the harbour bridge while your EA brings you a strong latte with two sugars – as great as it sounds, it’s unrealistic thinking. It’s the students who have a fire in their belly for PR, marketing or journalism who will make it. If you’re only stepping in the game for the “sweet life” then this really isn’t the degree for you – there’s a lot of competition out there.

Science

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Even though it’s the scientists and doctors of the world who find cures for diseases, discover new species and report the next random food that is slowing killing us, we give them a lot of shit. They’re labelled as geeks, nerds and losers on TV, but sometimes it’s also science students giving other science students a hard time. It’s a war amongst themselves. Biodiversity and conservation student, Jake*, reports that biology students are “characterised as too stupid to do chemistry and physics by engineering students.” Jake continues by mentioning that his major “boils down to a biology degree mixed in with a bit of environmental science” and that he feels undermined, as his degree appears to others as ‘not real science.’ This is obviously untrue. Jake studied both physics and chemistry in high school and decided that biology was a better fit to his interests. He plans to work with animals and discover new types of species – one of the most beautiful careers in the world.

Psychology

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Similar to Arts students, psychology students get a bad rap for not studying a “proper degree” and that it’s “worthless.” Psychology is so important – it’s understanding how the human mind works and why we are the way we are. It’s a fascinating education. The stigma is that once you obtain your graduate certificate, there is no employment opportunities. Wrong. The world needs social workers, therapists and forensic psychologists. Just like almost any other career, there’s competition. You just have to name it and claim it, and you will succeed.

No matter which degree you are studying, it’s important to remember that each has a value to offer society, and each can lead to employment – no matter what the stigmas dictate.