BWW Blog: Tailoring Your Major to You
At the end of last week, the schedule of courses for winter quarter came out, also known as The Week That Lauren Freaks Out For A Solid Five Days Over Which Courses To Enroll In. As a third-year, I am fortunate enough to be nearly done with my required courses for my major, so I now have the flexibility to take more courses that are not necessary for graduation. For both Literary Journalism and Drama, I am required to take upper division electives in each department. Instead of choosing random classes that just sound fun and exciting, I am trying to be a bit more strategic.
I am not an actor. However, I do want to write about acting, drama, and musical theater. Several of the required classes at UCI for the Drama major or minor include acting. While I still have to take those courses, I can use my upper division elective requirements to take courses I find more pertinent to my intended career path: theater journalism. In Winter 2020, UC Irvine's Drama Department will offer the second course in a series called History of American Musical Theater. For a journalism student seeking a stronger foundation in the subject she intends to write on, this class is a dream come true. This course is not specifically required for my degree, but it satisfies a requirement while also giving me tailored knowledge that will be highly applicable to a career in theater journalism. This class will absolutely be a top priority when I am enrolling in courses.
The "Development of Drama" series is one that actors in this major often roll their eyes at. Many aren't a fan because "it's a lot of work" and isn't as interactive as, say, an acting course. However, I see it differently, as I believe a theater journalist can and should learn as much as possible about the development of dramatic works and be able to examine the content of the play itself. I lump this in with my Culture in Performance class, and while I am not aware of the general attitude toward that, I know that I can find similar opportunities to research and learn in a way that feels like I am building toward my future career. While some see these courses as just requirements they have to power through, I see them as an opportunity to deepen my understanding on the subject in a way that will help me with my writing on theater in the future.
In one of my first pieces, I know I talked about coming back from a great internship and adjusting back to being a full-time student. What I didn't address is that for many (myself included), having that taste of working in your intended career field can be so exciting that coming back makes school seem less enjoyable at first. Let me just emphasize that this feeling is temporary, and if you adjust your mindset and overall outlook as to why you're in college, you can even turn this into motivation. I have those moments when I think why am I in school when I could just be getting hands-on experience in the field? When those thoughts pop into my head, I try to view my schoolwork and class time as premature, hypothetical job training. I haven't been hired for ___ job yet, but if I was, what are the things that I would want to know in order to be adequately prepared to work here? What would I want to have a firm grasp on in order to feel confident in my skill set on the first day? Those are all things I should focus on learning in school. Why? Because knowing them before I even graduate makes me more marketable as an employee.
And there is your motivation to continue to ask questions, go to class, and learn.
Creating my schedule for next quarter is going to be different this time around. Instead of stressing about which courses to enroll in, I am going to look at this as an opportunity to learn the skills that I will be able to directly apply to a future career. I am about 18 months away from graduation, and I am determined to make my way down my mental checklist of skills I want to bring to a future employer.