02/10/2014 09:29 am ET Updated Apr 12, 2014

Study What You Love, Not What Others Think You Should

Has anyone ever taken it upon themselves to tell you that what you are majoring in is stupid? That your major isn't going to make you money because it is in the arts or humanities (or any other subject area that they don't agree with)?

When people hear that I'm a literature major in hopes of becoming a writer, they fix me with a "you're stupid" look, and go on to tell me how hard it is to become a successful writer and that I really should consider majoring in something else. And even if they don't say it, I can sense it in their voice when they ask me what exactly I'm going to be doing with a lit degree.

Comments like this really used to get me down, and I know there are a lot of people in the same situation. But you know what? No one has the right to tell you that your major is stupid. We all excel at different things. If we didn't, the world would be a pretty boring place. Here are some tips on how to deal with people hating on your major, and how to keep your spirits up.

Be confident in what you're studying:

My dad always said to me "Do what you love and the money follows." Of course you will need to work for it, but it's better to do what you love than to do something just because it "pays" more, but you hate it. You know what your strengths are, and just because they may not be in science or math does not mean your subject isn't worth studying.

Zach Beckman, a third year theater student at UC Santa Cruz, says he responds to hate on his major with, "One day I'll be super famous, you'll see."

If people are tearing you down, saying you'll never make it in your major, simply turn the table and assert that yes, indeed you will. Honestly, what can they say back? They might roll their eyes, but your confidence will make them leave you alone for sure.

Need some help building up your confidence level? This article on mind tools can help.

The joke is on them:

Getting defensive when people say your major is stupid or too easy will sometimes only fuel the fire. Instead of trying to explain that though your major is different than theirs, you still have a lot of work, try not to let people get you all worked up (I know it's hard), especially if they are close-minded and trying to reason with them will get you nowhere.

Noah Kramer, a fourth year theater design student at UC Santa Cruz, said a good comeback would be "Come to us [theater majors] during finals week and see if our major still sucks."

Having no finals to cram for is definitely something to gloat about. Though others will say that's what makes your major easy and not up to their standards, you can say that's why it's awesome, because you get to do what you love and enjoy the perks it comes with.

Kalynn Butcher, a second year literature major at Palomar College, gave me her method of dealing with hate on her major.

"The way I deal with people hating on my major is that I brag about all of the vacation time I will be getting,"  she said. "I find that if you make whoever is questioning you laugh, they will leave you alone a lot faster."

It's kind of like if you got a bad nickname when you were a kid. The more you tried to fight the nickname, the funnier it was to the other kids. If you embraced it on the other hand, it lost its power to hurt you. Embrace the things in your major that other people will try and use against you. If you take control of the situation, they become powerless.

According to this article by Jeffrey J. Selingo in the New York Times, what you study is not nearly as important as how you study and actually liking what you do. As long as you put in the effort, you'll get results.

Stand up for what you are studying:

Though the light-hearted method above does work, sometimes you just get so fed up that you have to correct people if they have a completely warped idea about what your major is.

Colette Naylor, a second year merchandise-marketing student at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise, says that since she goes to a fashion school, a lot of people take her major as a joke.

"I tell them it's not like drawing pictures like they think," Naylor said. "It's a lot of projects, writing and research."

Like with anything, people judge before they even know the whole truth. It's okay to stand up for what you are studying, and explain to people that you have a lot of work to do too, it's just different than what they might be doing.

Don't waste your breath:

There are some people that will still belittle your major even after you explain what you do. If this happens, you can take the approach that Ian Dominguez, a second year student at Palomar College, takes, and simply tell them, "I'll do me and you do you."

If they are taking time out of their day to hate on what you do, chances are that they themselves are unsure about what they are studying. Maybe they are doing engineering because their parents made them and they hate it. You never know. Just know that there are people who will enjoy pushing your buttons, and that is when you just need to take yourself out of the situation and move on.

Surround yourself with positive people:

Having a good support system is the key to feeling confident in your major.

Kramer mentioned, "If people are hating on my major then they probably aren't my friend anyway."

Get the negative people out of your life and surround yourself with people who support you. It will make you feel so much better, and will help you realize who your true friends are.

This article, by Cherie Burbach, highlights why having positive people in your life will really benefit your health, your mind-set and your overall happiness.

Remember why you wanted to study your major in the first place:

With so many people telling us what we can and can't do, we sometimes lose track of why we were doing it in the first place. Remember that you picked your major (most likely) because you enjoy studying it and you want to get a job dealing with the subject.

Butcher keeps her end goal of teaching in mind as she pursues her literature degree.

"I am really looking forward to making my students get excited about reading."

When you do something you love, your passion for it will shine through and will definitely inspire others.

"For me, reading has been an escape," Butcher said. " It has changed my perspective, and has opened my mind to the world."

Stick true to your gut, and major in what you think is right.

Keep in mind: "Those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind"- Dr. Seuss

By: Francine Fluetsch, UC Santa Cruz