I have been studying my degree for about three years now. In those three years, I never expected to learn so, so much about communication—I didn’t even know there was a lot to learn about it. My degree is stereotypically seen as one of the “easier” degrees in the campus and whenever I hear someone belittle it, I want to break down in the middle of the road, in front of this person.
Easy? Try learning about the seven communication traditions and the theories under these traditions while trying to maintain your sanity.
My degree is hard. It’s hard because, unlike the undying concepts of mathematics and science, the topics that we’re studying have a goal. And one of the clearest signs that we have achieved this goal is when our degree is of no use to this world anymore. It’s kind of like the college version of Nanny McPhee:
When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me but no longer need me, then I have to go.
Excluding, of course, the part where she says they don’t want her.
While studying about the critical tradition, I’ve also come to realize just how ironic and risky my degree is. In simple terms, we aim to help the “oppressed”—quotation marks necessary because the word is subjective—in making their voices be heard so that they won’t be excluded from the discussion of this giant social circle where, most of the time, consists of only those who are powerful (eg. government, upper-middle-class people, the top 1%).
But sometimes, there’s a tendency for the practitioners of my degree to help these people in the wrong manner. What happens when you impose an idea, consciously or not, on these people because you think that this idea is what they need to deal with a particular situation?
We aim to help the oppressed not be oppressed. But then by imposing ideas of what we think is right for them, we ourselves are oppressing them.
Because of this, I’ve fallen in love with my degree again. At the same time, I’m frightened by it.
This is why I want to break down when someone tells me my degree is easy. Yes, it may not have the same type of difficulty that other courses have, but the fact that we’re dealing with actual people who depend on us—the possibility that we’re against oppression while being unaware that we, too, are oppressors—is an enormous responsibility and, for that, my degree is hard.