Double-Majoring, or, This Marks the End of my Sanity

I’m not the kind of person that knew what she wanted to be since childhood. Far from it, actually. As a kid, I wanted to own my own pancake house; admittedly, that still sounds like a pretty awesome job, but clearly it isn’t something I’m actively pursuing anymore. When you’re young, you can dream of being anything; however, once college rolls about, all those big dreams need start coming together and turning into something feasible.

Here is the tale of how my collegiate career has evolved thus far, and how I’ve come to consider conquering that daunting feat that is a double major.

Junior year of high school, I was set on becoming an English major. Then I took an English class that I absolutely hated, and I finally snapped whilst taking an AP English Language exam, writing an angry letter in my test booklet declaring my divorce from the subject and my decision to pursue the social sciences instead. (True story; my love for English as a subject was never quite able to recover after that).

Come senior year and application season, I decided to somewhat reconcile myself with English and apply to schools as a journalism major, which I thought brought together the best of both worlds: the writing I loved from English with the content I loved from my social studies classes. Plus, I’ve always been a CNN geek, and I was set on one day being an anchor too. I got in to my dream school under this program and was happy. All the while, my friends and family would give me strange looks, noting that I had absolutely zero journalistic experience, having quit my Intro to Journalism class freshman year and never worked for the student paper (which, as it were, I was somewhat disgusted by; the content  was dull and meaningless and the proofreading was atrocious). Plus, I didn’t seem to have the personality for broadcast news, but for print, something I kept denying.

It's all Anderson's fault, that gorgeous man.

After accepting admission into my school, I got information about the classes required for my major. I should have been excited, but oddly, I wasn’t. Something didn’t feel right; these weren’t classes I was even remotely interested in. I came to terms with the fact that this wasn’t for me, and contacted my school’s admissions office to transfer into a different program.  I can’t quite remember what inspired me to choose political science, but I did, involving a transfer from the College of Communications to the College of Arts and Sciences. It was a successful move, and I began studies at my dream university as a poli-sci girl. My first semester saw me taking an international relations class, which I absolutely loved. I had made a good choice; poli-sci was it.

But then second semester came around.

I’m currently taking a western civilization history course, a gen-ed I was required to enroll in. I’ve always loved history and was looking forward to this class. I didn’t, however, expect to be as blown away by it as I have been. It’s one of the best classes I’ve ever taken. Ever. And on top of that, I found out that I’m actually pretty good at history–no, scratch that. I’m very good. I love just burying my head in my textbook and taking note after note on the subject, and as I found out through my test grades and my study sessions, I can remember it all incredibly well. I felt like this was the perfect fit for me, and that taking out a history minor (which would be easy, with several of my reqs already fulfilled thanks to AP credits) just wouldn’t cut it; I wanted to major in this stuff.

It isn’t as simple as switching majors again, however. As I pulled up the course catalogs for both political science and history and glanced over all the classes offered, I realized I honestly liked both nearly equally.Neither one negatively affects my plans to go to law school, and both can lead me to jobs in the government in case I don’t go to law school.

I can major in one and minor in the other, or I can double-major in both. It isn’t an impossible task, but it would require maxed-out semesters and almost-mandatory summer school to finish in time, not to mention double the studying of a single-major student. A major/minor combo would be more feasible, but it would force me to choose which one I want in which position, and (at least, in my eyes) it diminishes the gravitas of whichever subject is placed in the minor slot.

Anyone I’ve asked has given the same general answer: “Do whatever you think is best for you.” And I know that ultimately, the choice comes down to no one else but me. But I don’t know what to do.

So, any thoughts? What do you think about double-majoring? Are there any history/poli-sci majors out there who can impart some knowledge?


3 thoughts on “Double-Majoring, or, This Marks the End of my Sanity

  1. While I’m not majoring in history or poli-sci, I can sympathize. I originally started going back to school as a history/social studies secondary education major. Then I realized that if I wanted a job when I graduate, I had better not be a teacher. So I had a “major” crisis. I didn’t know what to major in. I finally settled on what I’m doing now. I’m currently double majoring in Criminal Justice and Psychology. It’s a lot of work to double major and yes, summer school is a must. I’ve done it every single summer since starting school. I’ve even done one or two intersession classes. I’m still looking at about another year before I’m done, but it will be worth it. I’m at the point where I still don’t know what I want to do with my education though. I’ve been contemplating law school, but if not that, I will definitely be going back for my Master’s in something.

    So, I guess what I’m telling you is that if you are interested in both of them, go for it. Just keep in mind (which it seems as if you are already aware) that it is more work. However, you will enjoy it because they are subjects that are interesting to you. I say go for it! I wish I had been brave enough to go for a history major! 🙂

  2. Let me first say, you are clearly a very smart young woman and you will likely succeed no matter what you choose. I am in my 40s, and only attended one semester of college, so I don’t probably qualify as an expert. I do have two daughters, however, and a multitude of mom-friends who struggle with such questions. Among my mom-friends especially, many of whom have been stay at home moms, they are finding that they don’t necessarily end up working in their field of study. Life changes you. Everything you think your life will be today, is likely to turn out much differently in ten, twenty years. Not in a bad way. Just in a different way. I’m just trying to say, don’t obsess too much about which is which, major or minor. Your communication skills and your smarts and your ability to adapt (i.e. chocolate chips) will allow you to pursue whatever you desire in the future. Add confidence and poise in there, and you’ll be unstoppable! Good luck!

  3. Pingback: On Second Thought… | The Undergrad in the Corner

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