Everyone obsesses over is their major in college. However, I always feel bored talking about my major. Why care about my major? I’m not going to really use it.
I prefer to talk about my minor, the subject I actually plan to build a career around.
I’m an English major and finished a film minor. I also plan to pick up a theater minor, too, because English is a damn short major at the University of California Los Angeles. I’m almost done with my major so should have at least the next year to just do my minor classes. And I could not be more excited.
I’m an English major because when I graduated high school, I had an interest in film and theater but my best subject was English. Honestly, I didn’t really try to get good grades. Sadly, now I do need to try. But it makes sense—it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t have to try in college.
I also thought it would be helpful to pick the writing skills that come with taking English classes. Essays, scripts, short stories: I like it all. Being an English major has certainly given me insight into different genres of writing.
However, I am not a very happy English major. As I write this, I am well aware that I need to read four whole novels for my classes. That should be outlawed.
The other thing is that every professor accepts essays differently. So every quarter, I must learn how each professor or TA prefers essays. And then I get graded on said essay. Is that fair? Is that helpful to develop my skills? Questionable.
In some classes, professors assign that we read Middle English. If you don’t know what that is, Google it. Having the word “English” in it is a lie. It is as foreign to me as Arabic.
So, you could say I’m not super happy with my major. However, it has taught me skills that I know I will use and there are definitely times I like it. I’m going to look like a nerd, but reading Shakespeare out loud is really quite fun.
My real happiness comes from my minors.
When I left high school, I obsessed over theater last three years but still felt certain that film called me. Now I’m the Managing Director of a student-run theater company. And oh, have times changed. I’ve also written a TV pilot script, directed and assistant directed many student films and experimented in other film positions.
Though my career path has likely changed, my passion for both subjects has not. I love my film classes more than my theater ones. I love being backstage more than on set.
These minors have given me the chance to show an employer not only that I will graduate early with two minors, but also that I have interdisciplinary interests and skills.
Yes, I can write. But I can also do so much more than that.
My film minor introduced me to fascinating new career paths. I took a class on the contemporary TV industry that brought in a guest speaker almost every week. I learned about development, production and distribution. I learned that TV is where storytelling is often the best now, and if I do ever want to pursue it, that’s where I want to be.
The professor gave us the history of the industry and we did an advanced research paper as a group. UCLA’s English major papers are almost never research papers, and so I only got the chance to develop my skills in that area because of my film minor. I even learned how to use the library database. Rudimental, I know, but I bet 98 percent of you didn’t know how to use it until someone showed you how to for a class.
My theater minor gave me the chance to analyze different forms of literature. Our English major likes to focus a lot on books and poetry. Occasionally do we drift into plays or films, but my theater minor has allowed me to explore so much more. I’ve studied song lyrics, filmed versions of musicals, seen stage plays and musicals online and in person that we have discussed, and have read many, many plays.
That’s the beauty of theater. The medium changes so much and the development of analysis skills changes with that movement.
I wouldn’t get the chance to experience all of these different forms and different ways of storytelling without this minor. Every musical I listen to shows me how effective music can be. Every filmed version of a stage production shows me how much everything changes when you change the form of watching. Every play I read inspires me and pushes me to challenge my imagination even further.
My minors allow me to push myself to find new things about my passions and learn about them in new and creative ways. They allow me to explore what I really want to do in my life and use the skills I developed from my English major into another discipline.
Being pushed is one of the best parts of college, but so is finding new things you never thought you could discover or learn. I am learning every day from my English classes, but also from my minor ones.
The other great part of my minor classes is the overlap in people with similar passions. A lot of English majors enjoy reading Beowulf in their spare time or writing poetry and that’s just not me. Okay, I exaggerated a little for effect, but it’s not entirely unheard of.
Regardless, I love watching movies and paying $60 to see Wicked, and so I find similar weirdoes in my minor classes. I get the chance to talk about my passions with people who get it.
I’ve noticed that if you love something, you try much harder. Now, I am never one to not do the reading or skip lecture for no reason, but I always put in the extra mile for my minor classes. I talk to the professor, I participate in class, I initiate group projects. My participation grade soars in my minor classes.
My minors have pushed me academically, aiming for the A+ instead of the A. Though that’s probably not the best attitude for my poor English GPA, it’s done nothing but showed me what I truly love and what I can achieve when I do love something that much.
I’ll keep reading every English book assigned to me and turning in every essay a day early, but I won’t have much fun doing it. On the other hand, I can’t wait to read the next play assigned.
I personally don’t think there’s a downside to picking up a minor. It breaks up your classes, it shows to potential employers that you have skills in multiple areas and it’s just fun.
You get to take the best classes—learn more about history while studying engineering or practice your art skills while majoring in business. It’ll be worth it, no matter what your doctor parents tell you. Trust me, I get it. My parents both have Ph.D.’s from Stanford.
But whatever happens, if you have the time and the passion to pick up a minor, do it. I will never regret taking mine and I’m certain I’m not the only one.