What’s your major? Whatever people are expecting when they ask me that question, Anthropology definitely isn’t it. Although Rice is a STEM-heavy university, the humanities and social sciences (which anthropology falls under) still maintain a strong presence on campus. Even when I was still applying to schools last year, I knew that I didn’t want to major in a STEM-related subject, which always prompted people to ask me “why Rice?” because they knew it as an engineering school.
Despite Rice having a reputation for being an engineering school or a STEM school, Rice still supports majors in the humanities and social sciences. You can still do research—as a friend of mine is going to start doing research with her history professor next semester—and you can still get internships. Also, the classes are usually smaller in the non-STEM subjects, allowing you to get to know your professors and interact with your classmates more.
I won’t say that being a non-STEM major has been easy all the time. While my classes generally have a lighter workload than Intro Chemistry or Computer Science, I don’t have as many people to connect with while I do my homework or study for exams. Sometimes I feel isolated because I’m not doing what everyone else is doing, but I wouldn’t think of switching to STEM just so I could “fit in” better. I love anthropology and I love my classes because I get to explore humanity through culture, language, and history, and I would never give that up. Plus, there are still plenty of people who I have made connections with through the social sciences and humanities, so I’m not disadvantaged in any way by choosing to not do STEM.
Being a STEM major isn’t bad at all, it’s really amazing, but so is being a non-STEM major. Everyone at Rice is supported and has numerous opportunities at their fingertips, regardless of major. So, when people ask me “what’s your major?” and I reply with “anthropology,” I just smile when they look confused or surprised. And I don’t get discouraged when people say, “what are you going to do with that?” because I have no clue what I’m going to do with an anthropology major, and I’m completely ok with that. I know Rice will help me in whatever path I choose to pursue after college, whether that be grad school, a job, or something else that I haven’t discovered yet.