A major reason why I chose to attend a Liberal Arts college is because I had no idea what I wanted to major in while applying to colleges my senior year of high school. After years of being told what classes I needed to take, the freedom to choose my own course of study seemed like too much to handle.
However, once I got to my college, Hobart and William Smith in Geneva, New York, I quickly figured out what classes interested me enough to want to keep learning more. Now, as a junior I am a double major in Writing and Rhetoric (similar to a Communications major at other schools) and International Relations.
My first semester of college, I took a class with the head of the Writing and Rhetoric department. I loved the books that we read and the way the class was set up. Though we had papers or some type of writing assignment every week, we were encouraged to consistently revise our work to be graded in our final portfolio.
I have always loved to read and write, so I especially enjoyed this class. It was different than any English class that I had taken before.
Instead of talking about what an author wrote, we talked about why the author wrote something—why did he or she use certain words or punctuation and what was its intended effect on the audience?
Since my first year I have taken several Writing and Rhetoric classes, each of which has made me a stronger, more confident writer. The range of classes I have taken include Print Journalism, Discourse Analysis, Adolescent Literature, and Introduction to Publishing.
Overall, I chose to major in Writing and Rhetoric because it interests me and I believe that no matter what my future career may be, a key aspect of it will involve the ability to write well.
Becoming a Double Major
My second major, International Relations, appealed to me because of its interdisciplinary fashion. International Relations (IR) combines classes from several fields including Political Science, Economics, History, Religion, Anthropology, Sociology and more.
All of these fields seemed attractive to me, so it was appealing I could take a variety of classes. My school also requires that IR majors take four semesters of a language, another aspect that I felt was important.
The major also allowed me to choose a regional focus and a thematic track—I chose to focus on East Asia with a theme of Political Development and Economy.
Majoring in IR seemed very practical in our very globalized, modern world.
Choosing a Major: Follow your interests!
To me, the most important part of choosing a major is to make sure that you are interested in it. While some courses are more exciting than others, overall you should look forward to your classes and be excited about what you’re learning.
You should desire a career in the field that you are studying.
While majoring in Accounting may seem like a practical way to pay the bills in the future, it is probably not the best plan if you hate math.
Some majors may seem harder than others, but if you are truly interested in what you are studying, you will be motivated to work hard in your classes.
If you aren’t sure what you want to major in, sign up for a range of classes to see what appeals to you the most and use the Internet as a tool to see what careers are possible with what degrees. Also, don’t be afraid to use the professors at your school as a resource.