By Becky Buhrke
So you’ve graduated high school. Check. You’ve moved into your college dorm room. Check. You know exactly what you want to study…or not? College can be overwhelming for students trying to narrow down what major they want to study – after all, the rest of your life and career rests on these decisions. What happens when you can’t just chose one major? What if you want to major in more than one thing? No problem. PUC is the place to double major!
Whether you simply have two different areas of study you want to examine more, or you want to pair up two majors that work well together for a professional career – or even graduate school – PUC gives you the opportunity and resources you need to successfully double major. As a double major myself, studying English with an Emphasis in Writing and History with a European History Emphasis, here are a five tips for anyone considering double majoring:
1. Take Advantage of PUC’s Quarter System
Unlike in a semester system school, it’s relatively easy to graduate in four years with a double major. Why is this? Typically, each semester or quarter, the average student will take around 15-17 credits. That means with a semester school, you can take up to 34 credits a school year – but in a quarter system, up to 51 credits. More credits means you can take more classes you need in order to graduate on time. The key is to take advantage of this system. Some students take the bare minimum number of credits each quarter to be considered a full time student (12 credits) and as a result, it takes them longer to graduate and it’s practically impossible to double major. I suggest taking at least 15 credits per quarter to stay on track.
2. Manage Your Time Well
You’ve probably heard this before: “In college, you have three options: sleep, school, and friends. You can only choose two.” Where you put your energy is where you will succeed in those various aspects of life. College can be a tough transition for the average high school student because it requires you to put in a lot more hours of studying for your classes. This doesn’t mean you can’t balance this stress out though. Make sure to find time for yourself too – you don’t want to get burned out!
Over time, you will gradually become accustomed to higher levels of stress. Try and space out some of your harder classes with some easier general education classes. If possible, instead of having your first two years comprised entirely of GE classes, mix it up with some major classes so by your senior year, you won’t be overwhelmed with entirely upper division classes. Work with your advisor as well so you know exactly what classes to take and when.
3. Get Involved With Your Departments
This doesn’t mean you have to join a club or an honors society (though those are great things to get involved with!), but make sure you get to know your advisors and students within your major – they will become the support group you need to survive difficult classes.
The professors at PUC take the time to learn your name and get to know you. Part of the benefit of attending here are the small class sizes, which make it easier for professors to form personal relationships with students than it is at larger public schools. Most departments have pre-vespers several times a year, when a professor opens up their home for students to visit, worship, and have delicious food. Making an effort to go to events like these will help you become familiar with people in your department. And who knows – maybe your department will become your second family!
4. Choose Subjects You Love
I’ve talked with countless seniors over the years who wished they majored in something they liked. Don’t wait until it’s too late – pick something now you like and you won’t regret it. Never choose a career only for the money; you will eventually end up hating it. By choosing a subject you have a genuine interest and passion in, you will enjoy going to class and studying. Then when you apply for jobs in a field you’re interested in, listing two degrees instead of one on your resume shows you’re dedicated and knowledgeable. It will also set you apart from the other applicants, which is always a good thing.
5. Be Prepared
Know what you are getting into with a double major. Most majors require you complete a senior thesis – two majors means two theses. Is that impossible? Not at all! If you put your mind to it, you will be able to. Students do it all the time. However, you will have to put more dedication and time into your studies than your friends, and if you end up taking an extra year to graduate, that’s another year you have to pay for. Double majoring is easier than people think, but it also doesn’t mean your time here will be a breeze. College is hard whether you’re taking one major or two. Both are going to require hard work and discipline!
As I am coming to the end of my college experience, I must say I truly enjoyed my time at PUC as a double major. It was definitely worth the extra effort and provided a nice challenge for me in my college life. I recommend doing a double major for anyone that is interested! You won’t regret it.
Editor’s note: If you’re thinking about double majoring, you should also consider taking summer classes to help lighten your course load during the regular school year! Classes at PUC during the summer are 50% off too. Learn more by reading our blog post “Why You Should Take a Summer Class at PUC.”