How I Chose My (Double) Major

Having trouble deciding on a major? Here's how one student struggled to find her path and how she decided to double-major in college.

Having trouble deciding what you want to do when you grow up? Here’s how one student struggled to find her path and how she made the decision to double-major.

I’ve always wanted to be a doctor, like almost every other kid at some point. And I’ve always had a fascination with science. I started out picking up bugs and rocks, wanting to study them, always hungry for more. I had to know how things worked.

Throughout school, my goal has only strengthened. My elementary years have left me, but Biology during freshman year was a breeze and piqued my interest. The next year, Chemistry was discouraging. I had a great teacher, but the class itself was so tedious and involved thinking in ways I wasn’t used to. It was so challenging I almost skipped out on a science class my junior year.

I had few options, but I decided to take Anatomy instead of quitting science. I’ve come to love this class, which replaced my fascination for science with one for the human body. I’m learning how humans work, which is thrilling!

Since I realized how much I enjoy it, I decided I want to become a forensic pathologist. Forensic pathologists are medical examiners who perform autopsies. The career intertwines the human body and problem solving, which appeals to me.

Related: What to Expect in a Criminal Justice Career

Although I’ve always enjoyed science, literature was a class I excelled in too. Writing essays was easy. Research papers were always something I found as a guilty pleasure rather than something to dread. I never put much thought into infusing literature into my career until this year.

I decided to take yearbook during sophomore year after hearing about it from my freshman literature teacher. I walked into the course blind to if I would enjoy it or if I would be any good. But I ended up loving it! Something about creating something bigger than me under a deadline created a eustress that I found addicting. Writing became a craft I handled in yearbook and later sharpened in Lit Mag during my junior year. And realizing that writing was something I enjoyed and could make a career out of shook all of my plans.

Related: 3 Tips for Aspiring English Majors

My sister is an Art major. She was heavily criticized (and still is), largely because of the fear of her not being successful enough to make money. My new-found love of writing meant I could go to a liberal arts school and become an editor or author or work in media. But if I did, I would have to face my parents not taking my career seriously just like my sister. I thought maybe I should just go to a more STEM-focused university followed by med school and work for a dream career my parents saw as legitimate.

We’re always told that our parents know best. With that ingrained in me since I was young, it complicated my decision. Yes, my parents’ opinion matters, but it’s ultimately my future, not theirs. I realized Pre-med would have intense classes, while a Writing major wouldn’t have all the math and science that I love.

I never want to let writing go, but I couldn’t just ditch my lifelong dreams for this new fascination. So I scoured over schools and compared them. That’s when I found the perfect solution: I’m going to double-major in both.

Related: Do-It-Yourself Interdisciplinary Majors

I know the workload will be insane, but I like crazy. I like having to work under a deadline and getting things done. I can do both and use both degrees in my future. I really want to be in the action doing autopsies. But with a Writing degree, I can still practice writing as something other than a hobby.

I could write for medical journals or magazines with both degrees. If I can’t find a way to make them intertwine, then I can write or edit as a freelancer. I really just want to have both doors wide open for me,

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About Callista Tyson

Callista Tyson loves creative writing and hopes to turn it into something more than a passion.


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