Allison Maebius: The Pre-Med and Pre-Law Dancer

HerCampus recently got the chance to chat with Allison Maebius, a senior who is double majoring and currently pursuing both a pre-med and pre-law path. Allison’s positive outlook on her busy workload and open perspective on her future career is just what we need right now in the middle of midterm season!


HC: What is it like to be double majoring in Biology and English? Is it a lot of work?


AM: Double majoring in two "unrelated" fields is an incredible experience! It is undoubtedly a lot of work, but I find that it has been incredibly rewarding. I find connections between literature and hard sciences that are not only interesting, but really meaningful to how I view the world around me. 


HC: What are some of the benefits of double majoring? What are some setbacks you've experienced?


AM: The benefits of double majoring are most basically that you get to study two fields that might not have anything to do with each other and find ways to prove that notion wrong. In science classes, I observe the world as one full of molecules and organisms that interact, and in literature classes, I am applying that perspective to critically analyze arguments with more complexity than most people. One of the main setbacks I have faced is the scheduling. College is a busy time for people with just one major, so it is very important to be someone who is good with time-management if you plan to double-major. You can't be afraid to ask for help when you need it! 


HC: How did you decide to double major in such different subjects?


AM: I grew up as a dancer and trained at a pre-professional level before college. When I came to the University of Michigan as a dance major, an injury led me to take classes that had nothing to do with dance and pursue other options. I took a general chemistry class and fell in love with the rigor of those difficult science classes. I was also really intrigued by the idea of playing around with molecules, so lab work was always a really fun time for me (and a great break from being in the studio all day!). My sophomore year, I started taking more English classes for fun and realized how much the sciences and literature have in common! I could manipulate rings of atoms to create a specific mechanism the same way that I could analyze an author's writing to create newfound perspectives. Everything came together, and I decided that I didn't want to compromise one subject over the other, so I declared a double major.


HC: A lot of college students tend to have this unsaid belief that science degrees entail a very separate career path from other LSA degrees, like English. How would you challenge this belief?


AM: There is a lot of stigma regarding degrees in the humanities. The belief that science degrees only lead to careers in science and English majors only lead to careers in writing is not necessarily true. When you look at applying to jobs in the real world, everyone is always so surprised, but employers look for that overlap and versatility! The more versatile and well-rounded you appear as a candidate for really any job, the more your unique perspective can be valued. It is a serious asset to be able to go into an interview when you are confident in multiple fields rather than just one. It shows employers that you value open-mindedness and awareness of your surroundings.


HC: When did you first become interested in being pre-med and pre-law? How did you deal with your strong desire to enter both fields?


AM: I always had a weird fascination with the brain and have thought about becoming a doctor since I was in elementary school, but that was always overshadowed by my passion for dance. At the same time, both of my parents are patent attorneys that play valuable roles in developing the fields of science and technology, so I always strived to learn what they were doing. I took a lot of interest in the different inventions they were patenting and got the "inside scoop" on what it is like to be a lawyer specializing in biotechnological inventions. Eventually I got to intern at a patent law firm and got really interested in pursuing a pre-law path. It is hard to be someone who is so interested in these two different fields, but I mainly just focus on the core of the things I love - science, literature, and writing - because I know that from there I will end up in the field that is most appropriate for me.


HC: Ultimately, what type of career do you see yourself working in?


AM: Right now, I am planning to pursue my Masters in Biochemistry at the University of Michigan and ultimately apply to either law school or medical school. In the next year, I plan to get my EMT license, so I can learn how I interact with patients and if I find that I enjoy this path, I want to become a doctor, hopefully a cardio-thoracic surgeon one day! But if I don't like it or find that it is not a strength of mind, I plan to apply to law school and become a patent attorney. Either way, I will be able to apply my interests in ways that can challenge me every day and I am looking forward to that variation. 


HC: What advice would you give to other students who are interested in completing multiple majors?


AM: Completing multiple majors can be really difficult, but I encourage anyone who is even interested in two different fields to consider it. Not only is it a great way to not have to choose between your interests, but also this is a great way to push yourself as a student and get a more well-rounded perspective on your life.


HC: What advice would you give to students who're deciding between pursuing a medical career and another field?


AM: For students who have interests in medicine and other fields, my best advice is to explore your options! Everyone is always so surprised that employers and even medical schools want well-rounded, versatile, unique individuals. Don't give up on those other fields just because you have a dream of becoming a doctor and don't settle for a major just because it ensures a stable career. The more you can expand your views and take classes that have nothing to do with medicine, the more you will be surprised at how much those other classes enhance your learning ability and overall outlook on your own life. 


As Allison put it, college is the time to find yourself and discover your interests. Even though double-majoring is a lot of work, don’t completely rule out this option is you’re waffling between two majors. Following your passions will make you much more well-rounded, multidimensional, and ultimately more impressionable to your future employers in any internship or job interview. 

So, follow your passions, get on that grind, and keep pushing through midterm season! It will all be worth it!



Images Courtesy of Allison Maebius