Why I Decided Against A Double Major (And Changed My Entire College Plan, Again)

My sophomore year of high school, probably as a result of watching too much Grey’s Anatomy in my free time, I was absolutely positive I was going to Princeton or Yale for biology in order to become an OBGYN surgeon. Then, I shifted my focus to the very closely related career field of art and animation, with the ultimate goal to direct the next biggest Pixar movie that would sweep the Oscars. Then, senior year and my freshman year of college, I was certain I was going to major in environmental studies, specifically to combat climate change… and that didn’t work out so well either. It was somewhat of a miracle to my family and friends when I finally settled on double majoring in early childhood and family studies and psychology late into my first year. Or so they thought. 

When the waiting was finally over and I was accepted into the ECFS program earlier this month, I was ecstatic. So why was it also at that moment that I decided to completely drop the idea of an additional psychology major for good? 

This was a tough decision to make; I was already knee-deep in the psychology prerequisites that I could've used toward other things, and not to mention my mom had majored in the field three decades earlier, so it really seemed to be destined to happen. But, I also weighed the fact that I was beyond excited about getting into ECFS as well, and then I realized that in order to do well in these fields and make connections for a promising career, I needed to be devoted to both of them equally. I couldn’t realistically see myself whole-heartedly focusing and engaging with the course material in one major, without both my grades and dedication for the other eventually suffering at some point down the road.

Honestly, I think the best way I can simplify this is by citing a quote from the wise (and rather blunt) Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation, who said, “Never half-ass two things. Whole ass one thing.” That’s probably the reason Leslie Knope had a successful run for city council, that then (spoiler) led her to earning President of the United States, right?

Another thing that I’ve been considering lately, with yet another huge change in my college career, is my need to differentiate between what I get the unique opportunity to study at one of the country’s greatest universities, and what other fields may interest me that would be better if they stayed as just “interests.” Yes, I do have a strong interest in education and want to engage in work that benefits people’s lives through it. I also have an interest in marine biology and what lives in the Puget Sound, and I've recently found through one of my classes this quarter I'd like to know more about movements in American art history. And yes, I’m still fascinated by how the human brain works and the new findings in psychological research that are published every day. 

But, in a traditional college experience done in 4 years or less, I don’t have the time to pack the 20+ topics I find interesting into my quarters before I graduate, and that’s totally okay—I’d be in college until I was 50 if I really explored everything I wanted to, which, you know, kind of defeats the whole purpose. That’s where trips to the Seattle Aquarium or walks on the beach, excursions to unfamiliar cities to explore art museums, or simple journeys to the library to see what other people are up to in their studies come in handy. I realized that learning more in what you’re passionate about doesn’t have to stop at your major, because, as cliché as it is to say, you can really learn from the world around you if you put in the effort. I think you get more out of life that way anyway.