Why Not Both?

Recently I dove into my latest academic endeavor, which entailed declaring a second major. Many students are hesitant to declare a second major because of the work load that comes with studying in two separate programs. I know it has been a bit overwhelming for me, making the decision to double-major and really taking in all of the requirements set before me, so I’m here to share my thought process for those who are unsure of what they want to study, or for those who just cannot choose between two different programs – why not both?

When I first started here at Salem State I knew I wanted to be a history teacher. So I enrolled in the BA History program, with a minor in Secondary Education. One of my passions growing up was theatre, especially technical theatre, which I was really involved with in high school – I spent more time in the theatre than I did sleeping. It hadn’t really crossed my mind to study Technical Theatre in college, because I was so set in History and knew I wouldn’t want to give it up for anything. But I started going to see some of the Theatre Departments’ shows here at the University, and I really started to miss the theatre. I knew it was something I wanted to pursue, but I was too nervous to declare a second major. So I started with the theatre minor.

For people who think they might want to study something but are too unsure or too nervous to declare a second major – a minor is always a great idea! This way you get to take classes in the area you are interested in without the class burden that comes with a whole new major; most minors only require about 6 courses!

When I started taking theatre classes for my minor, I found myself really enjoying my time in class and really wanting to do more and more with the department. There was no way I was going to give up History to study Theatre instead – I loved it too much, so I considered making Tech Theatre a second major. I weighed out the pros and cons of declaring a second major, and I found that the pros definitely outweighed the cons.

If I declared a second major, I would graduate with two degrees. Two degrees allow for more job opportunities upon graduation! I would have a degree in my two favorite things and would be able to pursue my passions. Taking part in something I love was definitely worth declaring a second major.
The only con I could think of was that I would not graduate in four years like I originally planned; it would take me an extra year to graduate, but even this con I was able to work with. What’s one extra year to get a whole other degree? It’s small in the big scheme of things.

So if you’re considering declaring a second major, here’s my advice. It’s scary. But the thought of not pursuing what you love while you’re here and regretting it later on, could be even scarier. Pursue your passions. It may be more work, but you’re young, you’re already here, and if it’s something you’re interested in, studying it won’t be stressful – it’ll just be fun! Having more than one degree can only be beneficial to your future. And if you decide a second major is just too much for you, you can always leave one of the programs. There are people all over campus here and ready to support you in your academic endeavors, including myself and my fellow mentors in the First Year Experience Office. You’re in charge of your education – make it count!

Here is a link to the form to declare a second major – fill out your personal information and bring it to the department head of the desired program you want to be in, and upon their approval you can bring it to the registrar to be officially processed: https://www.salemstate.edu/assets/documents/registrar/Second_Major_Form_040111.pdf

Good Luck!
FYM Kelly

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