BWW Blog: Doing Double-Duty - The Pros and Cons of Double Majoring
So, you've decided to double major? Or from the fact you opened up this article, you're considering it at the very least...(unless you're my parents, but that's an exclusive exception. They're morally obligated to read it). However, regardless of how you stumbled upon this article, I hope it is of some benefit. As a double major, I've noticed there's a lot of wide-eyed stigma around it. I'm here to break down the fears, misconceptions, and expectations associated with declaring and pursuing a double major.
The biggest question I always see surrounding this is:
Will I still graduate in 4 years?
In short, yes! It is extremely manageable to knock out two majors within a regular four-year degree track. Especially if the two majors are nice compliments to each other. From my personal experience, I am currently pursuing a double major in Theatre Arts with a concentration in Writing for The Stage and Cinema, Television, and Emerging Media (a Communication and Media Arts based program). The two programs are based in creative fields, as well as my particular media interest being in script writing, so there are a few classes eligible for double-dipping. Basically, what that means is one class, that could be a requirement for one major, is an accepted elective for another (or vice versa). Or, you might get super lucky and have an identical requirement for your two programs. It's all dependent on your school and the programs you select. I entered college with the intent to double major from day one. So, comparing and contrasting program compatibilities was a big key point for me on my college search. But, if you're already enrolled, it's something your advisor can very easily help you out with on course enrollment and advice!
However, it is important to note, this does leave out a lot of extra room for exploration into other fields through electives. If you don't want to be confined to a stricter schedule, it would be wise to make a loose break-down of your 4-year plan to see how much extra space you would have to dabble around. If this isn't for you, it might be a great alternative to consider adding a minor instead of a major.
The next big one is:
Does it cost more?
This is highly dependent on person-to-person and when you decide to declare your second major. I won't lie: It is very possible you could end up having to pay for additional classes not covered in your tuition to bump up your course load for a couple semesters. But, going back to the 4-year plan mention earlier, if you decide to double major within your first year-two years at school, you can easily cover all of your necessary curriculum within your allotted tuition. But again, this just allows for much less (to potentially no) room for elective exploration.
Next comes the social question I get a lot:
Will I have time outside of course load to hang out with friends or have fun?
Of course! Now, there will be times where your academic work can seem never ending and overwhelming, but this is just a big case of responsible time management. With being a double major, you're learn how to get really good with your time really quickly! My best piece of advice is to plan your work (especially readings) into times where you're doing something but not doing anything at all. What I mean by this is if you take public transit to school, work, home, etc. read while you're on the bus or subway! You'd be surprised how much you can knock out in 20 minutes. Also, if you're like me and are a concert fanatic, bring your work with you. It sounds nerdy but it's a life saver. If you wait in line for hours on end for GA events, bring your notebook or your textbook to keep you occupied. Phones make this even easier than ever. Many textbooks have PDF copies online or just take pictures of sections you need to read, study, etc. I also carry flashcards with me of content I need to review so if I'm waiting for food or stopped up in traffic, I can whip them out and get in a quick study session. Get creative with your time!
But perhaps the biggest piece of advice I can give is to trust your instinct. After all, this is your education and your future. Don't just pursue a double major because you think it'll look good on a resume or it'll give you access to more job opportunities. You get out of your education what you put in. At the end of the day, getting a degree is just a fancy (and overly expensive) piece of cardstock with signatures. Pursue a double major because it fulfills your creative, career, and educational passions. You'll know exactly what that means. I can't describe to you what it feels like to be on the right path because it's something that you'll just know - it's unique to your own.