The Next Generation: I Double-Declared
I’m celebrating the experience of having finally declared! One year of realizations, almost two semesters of near-certainty, and months of unnecessary delay later.
Having entered into college dreaming of majoring in psychology and having spent the entirety of my first year realizing that psychology may not be for me, I was the only person surprised when I set my heart on sociology and English. Especially English.
Sociology made sense (I loved the social elements of psychology more, and if every psych course was my Spring ’18 Psychology of Diversity class, I probably would have never left), but I had been resisting my love of English for as long as I can remember. English has always been my best and most-loved subject. Most of my mom’s sweetest memories involve me reading or writing, and it was the thing I received most recognition for growing up. For some reason I could not have imagined majoring in English; in fact it was the last thing on earth I wanted to do, regardless of two English professors my first semester at Bryn Mawr practically begging me to major in the margins of my essays, or how many papers I wrote like English ones, or the fact that I couldn’t imagine college without English. I’m only just learning to admit that all of the signs were there, all along.
So, here I am. Laughing, now, that for reasons of ease, I declared my English major first.
It was the professors in the English and sociology departments as well as older sociology-English double majors who eventually put an end to my stubbornness. I have so much love for English House, the professors of color I met in my time here, and those who have also chosen to make these majors their home. The process of declaring was pretty simple: a meeting with my dean; a tentative list of planned, intended courses; and reaching out to major advisors to finalize my choice.
Her fellow Banter Blogger Rachel Hertzberg ’19 interviewed Britt on the challenges of double majoring. Here’s an excerpt from their conversation:
Rachel: Which major did you choose first, and why did you decide to add a second?
Maria: I chose sociology first, pretty early in the fall semester of this academic year. I had realized that psychology couldn’t capture all of my intellectual passions as naturally as sociology did and that I could still look at how people engage with one another while maintaining my dream of counseling and opening up more options for what I may do in my professional work. Not long after, I realized how much I need English in my life—chances to write more creatively and analyze language in a way my brain naturally does, that I could only really get from English courses that I would enroll in anyway, English major or not.
R: How do your two majors complement each other?
M: I think having understandings of both enrich one another. I can employ sociological concepts to English material or take my critical eye for analysis into sociology. ... For sociology, there’s certainly a research part of my brain that I need to turn on when I inhabit those spaces, where taking a sociological lens to literature is more seamless. Especially with the English courses I’ve taken, which tend to emphasize social identities.
R: Do you have any advice for a first-year student about choosing a major?
M: Give things a chance! Explore, trust your intuition on what things you love to think most about; there are so many expectations, but remember that the choice is yours, and there is always more learning, time, and a whole world for you outside of undergrad that will bring things you may not expect. The most energizing majors will come from there.