As a communication major, I face a lot of opposition in my chosen field of study. For some, it’s our “lack of real curriculum”; to those individuals it’s seen as a cakewalk to publish a 16-page newspaper on a weekly basis, including scouring the often stagnant campus life for something worth writing about.
Maybe our modest undergraduate student population of 1,500 doesn’t realize this, but given our suburban location and small student body, we go above and beyond what colleges two or three times our size do. Check out their newspapers. They’re just as long and have an editorial staff of over 15, if not over 20.
Do you know how many we have? Eleven. To put this into an even greater perspective, only one section of the newspaper has two editors devoted to it. We also don’t have a single web editor, or any graphic design staff. No one on the staff is majoring or minoring in graphic design.
This numerical difference may sound like a technicality – and, really, the current editorial staff has triumphantly overcome more than their fair share of obstacles due to how much more they have had to take on individually. However, with each passing issue comes a feeling of hopelessness, of despair and a lack of appreciation.
As a liberal arts school, the paths of different majors are intrinsically intertwined, with ideological and pragmatic opposition often just a seat away. It’s easy for minds and perspectives to clash, for thoughts to collide and cause unheeded conflict. But allowing this to happen, allowing pedagogical differences and departmental intricacies to manifest into the formation of academic and social caste hierarchies, is unnecessary. The last time I checked, we weren’t on the kindergarten playground; none of us have cooties. Why, then, deem one department, one philosophical tenet of education, above the other?
If I’m a communication major, I should be allowed to be one. There’s no need to discriminate against my choice and to consider yourself high and mighty for choosing differently. Even if you’re a science major and you believe that your work in a lab far precedes the importance of disseminating knowledge, such beliefs are best kept to yourself.
Animosity towards other interpretations of what’s important is not necessary. Appreciating and respecting differences is essential unless you’re talking about science’s ancestor, phrenology. You know, the science that effectively institutionalized racism? Hopefully we’ve evolved from that mentality.
But this is not merely a defense of the newspaper. This is bigger than that; it’s a defense of education.
On Cabrini’s campus and perhaps in the world at large, there’s an emergent social rift between an individual’s chosen area of study and the scale of importance that their field corresponds with. It remains perfectly sensible to see science as superior to the study of English, if the societal justification is that oncology, the study of cancer, is more important than analyzing Shakespeare. But arriving at such a narrow generalization in and of itself is absurd. No one at Cabrini is actively working to find a cure for cancer. This isn’t a school for rocket science and therefore there’s no need to treat one discipline as a divine calling and another as a demonic transgression.
Overall, the world needs to accommodate differences.
Only in the past 100 years has a concrete shift in mentality towards the hard sciences taken root. Consider how small that is in comparison to the field of philosophy, for example, which has been around for thousands of years. If anyone, philosophers deserve the right to tout their superiority.
And even then, what would Friedrich Nietzsche say about all of this?
“All truth is simple… is that not doubly a lie?”