As spring break quickly approaches, the task of choosing a major, or at least narrowing your choices, is on the minds of most sophomores. But how does one choose? Since your arrival at Haverford, undoubtedly you’ve heard at least one advisor say, “Study what you love!” It’s just as likely you’ve heard someone else say something to the effect of, “choose a practical major, one that will help you get a job.” I’ve talked with many students, and parents, who fear those two considerations are mutually exclusive. The good news is there are countless stories of Haverford alumni who dove deeply into their favorite subject matter and went on to pursue meaningful, interesting, and rewarding careers – sometimes with close connections between their major and career, but quite often not.
The point is not that your major doesn’t matter, but rather that throughout your time at Haverford you will develop a variety of valuable transferable skills and competencies that will help you in your professional lives. Some of you will pursue careers that require specific knowledge and content skills you will develop through your majors or concentrations. Many of you, however, will find yourself on a path in which you apply the broad range of both specific and general skills (i.e. writing, public speaking, analysis, etc.) that you will refine during your time as an undergraduate student.
It’s Major Declaration Season!!
To recap for those of you who don’t know me, I’m Kelsey, a senior, double majoring in English and Linguistics. A couple months ago, I answered a question on the Sophomore Forum about double majoring. You can read that discussion here.
Double majoring really worked for me, and I’m so glad that I’ll (hopefully!) graduate this spring, having experienced both disciplines, written both theses, and worked deeply with two different departments in two very different but related academic areas.
Although I had originally planned them to be the same essay when I applied to be a double major, I’m actually working on two theses, both on related topics. I’ve been studying Quenya, the invented Elvish literary language that J.R.R. Tolkien created for his realm of Middle-earth (NERD ALERT). Because the language was written into the book, I’ve been able to look at one topic from both a linguistic and a literary perspective, which has been especially important, as Tolkien himself was a linguist and a writer.
That’s one of the main reasons I decided to double major: my interests lie at the intersection of English and linguistics, and I found them to be easily combinable. My English knowledge makes me a stronger linguist, and vice versa, and I wanted to write a thesis in both.
But that’s not true for everyone – in reality, Continue reading