I major in Mechanical Engineering and Political Science. When someone hears what I study, I’m usually meant with two reactions. First up is a look of bewilderment, followed by an exaggerated “why?” that sounds like it just came off the script of a Disney Channel show. The second is a small smile with the word “overachiever” on the tip of their tongue.
It’s always the latter that makes me laugh.
The short answer to why I study both: I want to be a problem solver, and engineering teaches you how to become that type of person. In addition, I also want to be able to look at the bigger picture. Have a cool new advancement in biomedical engineering that is going to change the forefront of medicine? I want to also be able to think about who has access to the treatment and how it’s going to plug into healthcare.
I wouldn’t be able to study both if I didn’t have a passion for the fields. I wouldn’t be able to handle my courseloads if I didn’t like to take the classes. And I think that’s something that gets lost in translation to a lot of UR students when they decide to take on heavy courseloads — whether they actually like to learn what they’re studying. I’m not saying that if you’re taking a hard major, you have to enjoy every class regardless of difficulty, but if you are pursuing a double or triple major, the passion better be worth the pain.
It’s the beginning of a new year, and a lot of incoming students are about to embark on their collegiate journey. I bet a lot of first-years have plans for double or triple majors, because that’s just the kind of people UR students are — we like to have a full plate. However, as most of us quickly realize after that first fall semester, college is a lot! We are inevitably forced to make choices — do we keep grinding and try to make our double or triple majors work, do we try it out one more semester, or do we completely switch gears? The thing I wished someone told me on day one is if you’re passionate about something, it’s not going to feel like work. Political Science can be challenging, but to me, it’s fun to read the Constitution and see the impact each word, each punctuation mark has on our interpretation.
This may sound harsh, but if you are double or triple majoring because you think you’re in a race with your peers, you’re only running yourself into the ground. Don’t double or triple major if you are doing it for a mark on your resume, because then your life will be a living hell for the next four years. Of course there’s leeway to this mindset though; if double or triple majoring is going to be rough at first but will get you to your dream career or your passion, then climb the rough terrain so you can get to the top! What is going to make you impressive is the passion that you have — whether it be in your study, career, or something else your career and study will enable you to do.
Always think about your ‘why’ when it comes to the schedule a double or triple major entails. Because at the end of the day, it’s going to be you doing the homework — so try to enjoy what you’re doing along the ride for what it’s worth.