Three weeks ago, I was considering a double major. Torn between my love (and apparent knack for) history and my fascination with (and practicality of) political science, I wondered if I could just do both. The general response from everyone I asked was a shaky, “Well, if you think you can do it…” Of course, double-majoring didn’t seem to be an easy feat, so I honestly didn’t know what to do.
Let us first note that my school was ranked by a very credible source (I’d tell you but then you might guess my school, and that’s an automatic greenlight for my Russian sniper…) as one of the top fifteen schools with the most difficult general education requirements. Not only does the university have all of its students complete a “core” group of classes, each college within the university sets its own requirements as well; as it were, my college essentially asks for the university core twice over (double lit, double math, etc.).
Then, of course, you have to actually take classes to fulfill your major. A history or a poli-sci major is 33 credits, or eleven separate classes; now, double that, and you’re looking at a whopping 66 credit hours, or twenty-two necessary classes. This isn’t even taking into consideration a minor (because who double-majors AND tacks on a minor, right?!).
I’d emailed my adviser about potentially double-majoring, and she said she’d draw up a tentative four-year outline to see how I would have plan out my semesters in order to fit two majors. I was scheduled to meet with her today, and on my way to her office, I began to practice how I would tell her I wasn’t double-majoring after all. Somehow, I just didn’t think I could handle taking maxed-out semesters and summer school courses just to make sure I could graduate on time.
“I made your outline,” she said, looking through the manila student file with my name on it. “So you know, I did triple-check this to make sure all your graduation requirements were fulfilled. And…”
I bit my bottom lip, dreading to hear the words “summer school”, “eighteen-credit semesters,” or worse, “fifth year.” There was no way on earth I was taking a fifth undergrad year. No way.
“…it’s perfect.” My eyes widened. My adviser continued. “You could very easily fit in two majors and not even have to take summer school. In fact, you could even add in a minor and you’d still be taking really light courseloads. See?”
She handed me the outline, and I looked it over. It wasn’t a lie. All of my required classes were there, and just as she’d said, my semesters were on the lighter side; in fact, my senior year could consist of two twelve-credit semesters, which were so light that they almost qualified me as a part-time, rather than full-time, student.
“It’s all your AP credits,” she explained when I failed to respond. “You came in with fifteen AP credits before you even set foot here in August. That’s exactly one semester. And with your language placement, that’s another chunk of credits you don’t need to take. Now, were you considering a minor?”
“Theology,” I whispered, still unable to wrap my head around what I was seeing.
“Great! Let me just calculate that…” she took back the outline and added in the classes for a theology minor. “Yep,” she affirmed, “you can do that. A double major and a minor puts you at 129 credits by the end of senior year.” (To graduate, I need 128.)
So, ladies and gents, it looks like my academic career has been decided: a double major in history and political science, and a minor in theology, along with the declaration of pre-law.
Alright. Now… let me just step away for a moment and let that entire sentence sink into my head…