Your course stereotypes are hurting our feelings
Geography isn’t just colouring in
Ever told someone what you study at university and then they tell you a joke you’ve heard a million times about what you do and expect you to find it funny?
Or what about when they ask you a question nothing to do with what you actually study and expect you to come up with the answer in a matter of milliseconds? Sure, course stereotypes are a thing but they aren’t actually funny and typically aren’t right.
Let’s take the classic example of Geography. It’s a course covering a range of broad topics including sciences to world issues yet people often still feel the need to state: “You just colour in for three years”.
We asked frustrated first year Geographer Andrew for his opinion on the commonly used stereotype. “I’m quite bored of being asked if I colour in all the time just because I do Geography. The joke has been going on since GCSEs and it’s just got progressively less funny yet certainly more regular.”
Anna, another another Geographer bored of these jokes, added: “My personal favourite is when I’m asked if I can name the capital cities of the world. It always seems to be the capital of Papua New Guinea which comes up. I think I’ve learnt the answer simply through people asking me, not because of my degree.”
Mathematicians are another bunch who are being caught up in a rash and presumptuous stereotype which just isn’t funny. Jess from Sussex explained how she’s lost count at the number of times she’s been asked a sum and been expected to know the answer in a flash. “Whether it is 1+1 when they’re trying to be funny or the square root of 650 divided by 78 when they want to be challenging. People are even asking me these stupid equations on nights out… It’s be old since the first week of freshers”.
Although stereotypes for your course may be annoying and untrue, spare a thought for those students who are put under the stereotype of another degree because some people just don’t have a clue.
Getting the annoyance off his chest, mature student Elliot discussed how when he mentions he studies Planning the first response is always, “so you basically do Geography”.
“Surely people with some logic would pick up the fact I didn’t say I do Geography, I do Planning. The ultimate is when people then go on to claim I’m the one who is colouring in all day… without even knowing what Planning is.”
Classics student Anna shares the pain of being classified under the stereotype of another course.
“I question how some people are at university and can’t tell the difference between degrees. When I say I do Classics why do others feel the urge to ask “Is that just a sugarcoated History” and then talk to me about Henry the 8th”.
It’s obvious these stereotypes are annoying and repetitive. But on some very rare occasions there are actually cases where they can be truly justified.