What your major says about you

For most freshmen looking to make friends, “what’s your major” is a perfectly reliable conversation starter. Looking back on it, subsequent conversation normally did not extend beyond “math" and “okay, cool”, and that is fine — although it can be a slight buzz kill when someone wants to explain linear algebra at a night out. 

In my case, I used the “what’s your major” question not as a way to make friends but rather to determine who I did not want to be friends with. Have I already mentioned that I am a bit of a prick? 

Of note, I did not discriminate against specific majors, but rather against those who acted like they had a single idea of what they wanted to do with their lives. 

“Oh, thanks for asking, chief. I’m planning on double majoring in computer science and physics, with a minor in philosophy and a certificate in markets & management.”

Ya, pass. 

I can confidently say that this was not the response of any of my current friends. Their responses likely more closely resembled:

“To be honest I have no clue. I’m just trying to get drunk tonight.” 

There is a correlation — albeit a loose one — between one’s personality and major. But for this article’s sake, let’s pretend like everyone of the same major has the same personality. 

Prepare to be insulted. In the end, this is all in good fun. 


Starting off with everyone’s favorite trust fund baby, we have economics majors. Often, they can be found partaking in a coffee chat at Saladelia, where they have perfected the art of brown-nosing. “The ends truly justify the means” for this crowd, willing to sacrifice both their time and dignity for the paycheck and prestige. Hey, I can’t blame them. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a second crib by the ripe age of 25.  

It is likely they will tell you how passionate they are about investment banking, but don’t let them fool you. These students are always in interview-mode. Truth is, they likely have already begun planning their exit into private equity five years out. 

They “summer” in the Hamptons and “winter” in Aspen. They go to Duke basketball games but never in the lowly student section. And why would they when Daddy can get them into the Champion’s Club? I will give them credit: this crew does know how to party, as they comprise what seems to be half of Greek life. 

Political Science/Public Policy

I lump political science and public policy together because they both can be divided into two classes of individuals: future lawyers and former economics majors. The latter group likely switched over once they realized that (i) economics is not a cake walk and (ii) that as long as you interview well, recruiters do not care if you are an economics, political science or even a theater major. 

With their light course load yet equivalent internships attained, this group truly embodies the saying “work smarter, not harder.” Of importance, they are great people to have as friends. They are as fun as the economics group, but are certainly more down to earth, largely because they acknowledge that their future Nantucket home will likely not be beachfront — unlike their economics counterparts. 


For pre-med kids, college is an opportunity to boost their future medical school application. Thus, they involve themselves in countless activities on campus — most of which they do not have any genuine care for. From research to volunteering, to undergraduate pre-med societies started by former pre-med students to help themselves get into medical school, this group truly does it all. Wait until they find out that this could all be for nothing if they do poorly on the MCAT. Uh oh ... was I not supposed to say that?

Now, I will give them credit. This crew has opted into a rigorous academic pathway and not seeing a paycheck before 30 simply because they are dedicated to helping others. That in itself is incredibly honorable. Now, whether this is because they are truly a good person or because their parents will disown them if they don’t become a doctor is besides the point.

Good on you, pre-med students. It will all be worth it in the end. 

Maybe …

Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies (GSF)

Now, of course, I recognize the irony in that this comes from a cisgender, straight, white male. Sorry, what I meant to say is that “I am a cis, straight, white male, and I use he/him pronouns.” And admittedly, I had been advised by peers to abstain from addressing this group out of fear of what some may call “cancellation.” But I am sorry to say that no major is safe from my critique. 

GSF majors most certainly have incredible hearts, often concerning themselves with the correction of historical wrongs, uplifting those who have been mistreated, and the overall future of humanity. But for god’s sake, they are also the last group of people I would ever want to grab a beer with. 

Though, it’s not like they would have time to grab a drink anyway. Their Saturday nights are already pre-booked by a 20-person protest against the endangerment of the Fluffy-Backed Tit-Babbler (a rare bird species indigenous to Southeast Asia). Or was it rather the installment of an oil pipeline in Alaska? I may be getting my dates confused. 

Their track record for taking a joke is certainly not among the best. So I hope they have all woken up on the right side of the bed on this beautiful morning. 


First, if I may make but one assumption — you, whoever I am writing to, is most certainly a dude. You have a love of movies, but specifically all things Christopher Nolan, and your favorite historical figure is without question Genghis Khan. 

You will go down a five hour wormhole on a Tuesday, learning about the practices of gladiatorship in Ancient Rome. Yet, you somehow do not have the time to take 30 seconds to make your own bed or do your laundry. Get it together y’all. 

What I do admire about you is that your reason for selecting this major is solely due to your infatuation with history. After all, it is most certainly not the career prospects that are offered. We all know these are limited. But this is okay because in the end, you too will likely become a history professor, where you will make it your mission to ensure that your students do not make the same mistake of becoming a history major as well.

After all, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” You’d know something about that, right? 


Of the engineers, we have those who actually want to be engineers and those who endure four years of Pratt only to go into finance, tech or medicine. You may make fun of public policy and political science majors for their “light” course load; however, it appears they may be the smarter ones after all. Because while you are studying for your higher level physics exam, they are playing spikeball on the quad. 

And all for the same job opportunities. 


There is a subconscious superiority complex at play here, in recognizing that the Pratt acceptance rate is slightly lower than Trinity’s. But humble yourselves, Pratt Stars. University of Colorado at Boulder has a higher ranked engineering program than Duke, and I can assure you that they are doing a lot more with their free time than studying.  

I must give you credit though: I initially had thought of Pratt students as some type of foreign species, incapable of integrating into the populace. But it turns out that you guys are actually more normal and less interesting than I would have thought. 

Interpret that how you will. 

Love, Alex. 

My major

First, I apologize to those whose majors have been omitted from this piece. As I think you may have realized though, perhaps you were the lucky ones after all. However, I am a fair person. Therefore, I think it only appropriate that I now rip into myself after ripping into all of you. So, let’s get into it. 

I am a biology major, but no, I am not pre-med. So, yes, my decision to take organic chemistry was a personal choice. What a nerd, right? I tell people that I want to be a biotech entrepreneur, but truthfully, I do not have a single clue what that means. My current plan is to pursue a Ph.D., where I, an admitted extrovert, will spend five years cooped up in a lab, in which my closest friends will be the fruit flies and mice I am experimenting on. Perfect.

I will likely work in pharmaceuticals for some time before I realize how difficult it is to make money in this space. And at some point, I too will end up selling my soul to capitalism and enter the world of finance, where my former peers — the brown-nosers and all — will likely serve as my superiors. That may be a tough pill to swallow.  

So, truthfully I have no clue what my career path will look like. And unless you are one of the insufferable people I met during O-week, you likely do not either. And that is perfectly okay. For all I know, an economics major may go on to become a playwright. A history major may preside at the top of BlackRock. Perhaps a Pratt student becomes the next president (though I doubt this given their lack of personal skills). KIDDING. Kinda …

My point is that despite everything I have said in this piece, our majors do NOT define us, nor do they place barriers on what we can and cannot achieve in the future. 

I hope you enjoyed the read.

Alex Berkman is a Trinity sophomore. His column typically runs on alternate Tuesdays.


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