The Case For A Self-Determined Education

Abolishing majors for a better education

The more time I spend here, the more frustrated I become with the university that I sort of chose to go to.

In response to the administration’s mismanagement of funds, they have chosen to merge small departments of similar goals within the College or Arts and Humanities & Social Sciences in order to consolidate funds. These mergers are happening while HSU undergoes assessment to become a polytechnic university, which would further emphasize STEM above the humanities. This hurts all students.

STEM majors may easily get the idea that they don’t need to develop communication skills, hurting their chances of conveying what their research means. Humanities majors will have a harder time receiving a decent education as their programs shrink to accommodate STEM, potentially encouraging them to leave or not enroll in the first place. Undeclared majors may feel pressured to choose one based on the resources available to them, rather than what excites them.

As an alternative I propose we abolish the major system entirely. Hear me out.

How many interesting classes have you enjoyed that didn’t count towards your requirements? And how many classes did you consider taking, only to realize that you can’t fit them in and graduate on time? Now what if any and all classes counted towards your degree?

Here’s what I propose. We stop using set lists of classes, and allow students to explore several fields. Any class where a student learns something new should count towards their graduation requirements. Taking preselected major classes limits student adaptability.

The Bureau Of Labor Statistics shows that Americans will have an average of 12 jobs in their lifetime, and only 27% of college graduates work in a field related to their degree. So why major?

In theory, a single discipline allows you to develop skills that will enable you to be successful in your chosen career. But your career will likely shift away from your degree the longer you are in the workforce. Exploring several fields in college will give you more versatility as you change careers later in life.

While we do need writers who can write, and programmers who can code, we also need to recognize that all types of careers are interconnected. A writer one year may be a filmmaker the next, and may enter a completely different profession the following year.

In modern times, everyone needs a comprehensive understanding of writing, anti-racism, science, especially as it relates to the ecosystem. A handful of GE classes won’t cut it. Forcing students to take classes they know will not help them in the future is unethical. Let us choose from any and all disciplines. Allow us to explore and develop a range of skills and knowledge.

More broadly, consider the real harm created by a specialized education that doesn’t acknowledge the need to question racial or other stereotypical biases. A 2016 study showed that 76% of white med students hold at least one false racist belief, including thicker skin, stronger immune systems and a higher pain tolerance than white patients. Two-thirds of women lawyers report sexual harassment by thier male peers, and that number is higher for women of color. Stated plainly, a high-level degree does not translate well-educated.

Everyone needs a holistic education that allows them to question all aspects of life and build transferable skills. We need scientists who can convey research in an understandable way, teachers who are both experts in their fields and can connect and communicate with students. (Math teachers, I’m looking at you.)

There are standards to be upheld. The graduation proficiency exam could incorporate ways to test people on the qualifications of the field they’re about to enter, ensuring that their courses were chosen with a goal in mind. But we should also acknowledge that most specialized careers require grad school or on-site training.

We don’t need to major. We need to learn, explore, and better ourselves.

Share This Post

More Stories

Nina G uses comedy to start conversations

During the virtual comedy event held by the SDRC, Nina Ghiselli tells her story and emphasizes the importance of student disability resources within schools.

It’s not just the Capitol Police

As the world watched from their televisions on January 6, we witnessed scenes unfold before our eyes that were, to many, unimaginable: supporters of President Trump swarmed the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building, then proceeded to break in and

The San Jose State University Football Team Comes to Humboldt

On a day’s notice from administration, the SJSU football team spends a week and a half in Humboldt practicing because their county did not allow it. Students react to their presence on campus in the midst of a pandemic. Directed

Homelessness in Humboldt, CA

This is the first trailer of a homeless documentary created by HSU students. We have spent months filming and will continue to film throughout the next year. Follow the heartbreaking stories of the homeless community around Humboldt county and the

Thrifty Arcata

Taking a tour of the local thrift shops in Arcata during the COVID-19 pandemic. Directed and produced by Skylar Gaven.

House Plants Generate Peace and Meaning During the Pandemic

Three different people with the same love for plants! House plants have become quite popular these days especially since we’re all basically stuck inside during the pandemic. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but these beautiful green oxygen-makers provide more

Prop 22 represents political favoritism of money over workers’ rights

California’s passing of proposition 22 on Nov. 5 represents a frustrating history of workers’ rights being trampled by the overwhelming influence of greed in politics.  This proposition forces app-based workers to be classified as independent contractors, rather than employees. This

Remembering Evelyn Andrews 10 months after her passing

By Katelyn Dendas It has been 10 months since my friend, teammate and freshman year dorm mate, Evelyn Andrews, passed away. I don’t remember what the grief counselor said or what transpired after that Monday, but I do remember arriving

Protestors seek to defund HSUPD

Two local, activist organizations work together to stage a sit-in against Humboldt State’s police department.

Getting stuck on the Trump train

Writer Anthony Aragon details his experience of accidentally joining a pro-Trump car rally.

Justin Turner exposes the World Series to COVID-19

Justin Turner didn’t need to be the story in the wake of the Dodgers’ first World Series victory in 32 years. Instead here we are, wondering what sort of, if any, punishment Major League Baseball will decide to hand down

Four more years of fear

News Editor Carlos Holguin explains why he is worried about the next four years.

Dismal democracy

The Lumberjack editorial staff comments on America’s flawed electoral system As the world watches the United States 2020 election results, waiting for our pseudodemocratic process to churn out a new president, historically unprecedented voting methods misrepresents the reported Election Day

The Mario triple pack invokes a nostalgia attack

When I was a child, the first video game system I owned was a Nintendo 64. Among the games I played was Super Mario 64. I played it all the time and when I wasn’t playing it, I was lying

Women’s lacrosse drops their competitive season

Greta Roberts, president and player of Humboldt State University’s women’s lacrosse team, made the decision with her coach and teammates to cancel the upcoming spring season. The team decided that not being able to recruit in the fall would be

Dobby’s proposition opinions

Haven’t voted yet? Well, you’re running out of time. Here’s a quick rundown of California’s propositions on the ballot this year

Corporations buy out propositions

In a series of general and misleading advertisements, corporate backers of Propositions 22 and 23 show their grubby hands

CDOR continues virtually

The Campus and Community Dialogue On Race returns covering global justice for Black Lives.

Indigenous Food Sovereignty

Local food management practices of the Tolowa Dee-ni, Yurok and other indigenous peoples.

Humboldt State Admin attempts to discredit the Lumberjack

***A Lumberjack editorial represents both the majority opinion of the student newspaper’s editorial board, nine editors, as well as the overwhelming majority of Humboldt State University’s student body. Collectively, an editorial echos, embodies and advocates for community beliefs.*** Insensitive communications

Music of the Moment 6

21 Savage and Metro Boomin drop a classic with “Savage Mode II”

Spartans arrive at HSU despite campus concerns

***Editor’s note: SJSU football program was tested in congruence with Mountain West conference guidelines*** The Spartans have arrived and this time they’re not carrying spears or shields. Instead the San Jose State football team stepped onto the Humboldt State campus

Music of the Moment 5

After shooting Megan Thee Stallion, Tory Lanez cancels himself

Welcome to the Twilight Zone

Comparisons between episodes of the classic TV show The Twilight Zone and our own dismal reality

Music of the Moment 4

YoungBoy Never Broke Again dodges the sophomore slump with his new album “Top.”

Self-Care Cuts

Changing your hair to change your life

HSU Seaweed Farm sets sail

The first commercially-approved seaweed farm in California will be on the map.

Music of the Moment 3

For better or worse, Big Sean is likely gone for good.

More Layers, More Protection?

Humboldt State demands double masking on campus, does more layers equal more protection?

The Ethnic Studies Bill is a Blessing

Ethnic Studies will thankfully become mandatory for all California State University students – as it should be.

The Complex Interface of Humans and Wildfires

How fire suppression is a mixed bag in Humboldt County Every fire season, blankets of smoke roll over Humboldt County. Here on the coast, that’s as close to wildfires as some of us get. But our practice of fire suppression

Defund HSU’s Police Department

Incidents of racism from the former UPD Chief, past examples of excessive force from current officers and a shrinking university budget.

How Not To Be Bitten By A Kitten

Please prepare to be prey Congratulations, a baby feline has recently come into your life. If they’re anywhere from 2-18 months, they bite. They see you as prey. Because you are prey. You always have been. You always will be.

Graduating Into Uncharted Waters

HSU graduates attempt to navigate a world turned upside-down by COVID-19 In May, Humboldt State University graduated hundreds of students, as it does every year. Unlike past years, graduates didn’t get to shake hands with their respective dean and receive

HSU Cultural Center Budget Slashed

Associated Students leaves student body devastated after significant reductions in cultural center’s budget.

All aboard the plague ship

Unprecedented times are met with normalized behavior, HSU puts students and community members at higher risk after reopening campus and student housing.

Music of the Moment

The hip-hop community rallies behind the Black Lives Matter Movement

Inside the Immune System

How the body uses multiple levels of defense against foreign intruders

Catcalling Can’t Continue

Verbal harassment toward women is about control and the assertion of gender discrimination

Major League Marijuana

Why I don’t think marijuana is everything it’s cracked up to be in baseball

Pigs Compost on Campus

CCAT tries to reduce HSU’s food waste footprint through new pig program