The 10 Struggles of Double Majoring

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We all go to college for the same reason: to get a degree. Granted, some of us also go for excessive partying and drinking, but it’s mostly for a degree. But what if you could get two degrees for the price of one? Surely, more is better than less, right? That’s what I thought when I decided to tack on a second major in comparative literature on top of journalism. While I don’t regret my decision at all, I can safely say that double majoring comes with its own set of struggles.

1. Answering “What’s your major?”

Ah, yes – the question you’re bound to get asked 56,427 times (at least). More times than I’d like to remember, my answer leads to a long stream follow-up questions. “How are you going to get a job?” “What do you want to do with that?” “Aren’t they kinda the same thing?” Next time, I’m just going to tell people I’m an engineer.

2. Drowning in requirements

Imagine how many requirements two majors add up, as if one major doesn’t already keep you in class all day. It’s a scary thought and one I choose to ignore for the sake of my mental health. So many courses, so little time. I’ll paint you a mental image: imagine that you’re in the ocean having a grand old time until you suddenly see a huge wave coming your way.

3. Scheduling problems

You know what I love? Waking up at 6 a.m. on registration day only to find that two of the classes I need for my majors take place at the same time. Face palm. It’s times like these I wish I could be two places at once. Unless Hermione Granger lets me borrow her time-turner, I’ll just sit here all depressed — stuck trying to pick which classes to take this quarter and which to add to my endless list of requirements.

4. Pondering if you’ll ever graduate

With so many requirements, it’s no surprise that I don’t think I’ll ever wear a cap and gown. According to USA Today, only 53% of college students graduate in six years. The daydream of graduating in four years went out the window with my double course load. I guess I can work with six and subconsciously hope for less.

5. Writing until your fingers bleed

Both my majors are writing-focused, so guess what at least half my classes feature each quarter? That’s right, writing. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing, but I could totally go without having four papers due in a single week. Can’t I just take a fun art class instead of writing a ten-page paper on a short story? A girl can wish.

6. Balancing work and classes

Balance is great. Everyone should strive for balance. Balance is… something I no longer have. This is something everyone who takes on a part-time job while attending college can understand. Double majoring just adds more hours to your day (and more severity to your headache). Cue the fits of “what did I get myself into?” Have fun.

7. Saying goodbye to your electives

For some unknown reason, part of me has always wanted to take a dance class – even though I’m possibly the most uncoordinated person ever. However, this may never happen thanks to my complete lack of electives. More likely than not, your electives for one major end up becoming the required classes for your other major. On the bright side, I don’t have to worry about hurting (or humiliating) myself in dance.

8. Keeping up with reading

Whenever I tell my friends I “just have to read tonight,” they go off on how I should consider myself lucky. Excuse me? Did I forget to mention that both my majors are focused heavily on reading? By “reading” I mean I have to somehow read 200 pages a night while trying not to throw myself out a window. I miss the days when I could actually read for fun.

9. Buying textbooks

I’ve always loved how my Comp. Lit classes require us to buy novels instead of 500 page textbooks. I can find what I need on Amazon without dropping my life savings at the campus bookstore. But when you’re taking two lit classes along with a course in communications, prices add up faster than you realize. It’s times like these I wish I was a trust fund baby.

10. Prioritizing between majors

I see my majors as my two little babies. How am I possibly supposed to choose which one is my top priority? That’s crazy. Unfortunately, I’ve had to choose between the two to register for classes. All it’s done is make me feel like a bad mom.

Elizabeth is a junior at University of Washington majoring in Journalism and Comparative Literature. She's always trying to be less sarcastic and always fails miserably. One time she met George Clooney and everything in the world made sense for those precious three seconds.

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