Advice from a Dual Degree-er

Advice from a Dual Degree-er

It's not for the weak-hearted.
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Are you ready to lose your life?

Kidding. Kind of. As a college student pursuing a dual degree in both biology and clinical laboratory science, with a minor in chemistry - I can promise you nothing, but give you a few insights on the life of dual degree major. For one, a dual degree does not mean double majoring.

A dual degree, in the United States, is a program created by two universities that essentially has one student finish one major faster, while the other one is still in progress. Whichever one is leftover will be the one the student finishes with the second school. So a dual degree essentially has you working and graduating under two different colleges.

So what is life as a dual degree-er, aka a joint degree program major? Tough. Although, that should not be too surprising to hear, right? When you do a dual degree, you are undertaking more coursework per semester than your other peers. You might even give those STEM and writing majors a run for their money with the amount of time you can expect to accumulate studying or spending in the library.

However, besides calling it tough, I can also tell you that the path is lonely. Take that in whatever sense you want to take it, but it is indeed very lonely. Seldom many people undergo a dual degree program, and so you will find yourself possibly juggling two different peer groups - for example, business and law majors, depending on your program. Besides that, many people might try and convince you to drop one program and switch over to just one major pathway. Why? Because the road is tough, the commitment is huge, and not many people ever completely realize the sacrifice of time and leisure that it takes to get to the destination.

As a dual degree program major, or as a possible candidate for one, I can also advise you to always try and be connected to your advisors and mentors. Since the program is typically an articulation program with two different schools - you will find that your main advisor on your primary campus may not have all the answers to your questions and/or problems. So reach out and find out who the admissions or faculty advisor is on the other campus, and keep in touch with them to make sure you are taking the right classes for the program and not just your primary school's classes.

Also, don't take 'no' as an answer. Like I said, the road is tough and many people will be encumbered by your predicament as well as not believe in your success. The key to pushing past their doubts is by not listening to them and pushing through. You will have to fight for more credits per semester, maybe even more financial support, try to squeeze into other classes, etcetera.

The point is, the path is narrow and bumpy, but if you persevere, your will reap what you sow or maybe even more!



Cover Image Credit: Aurimas

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8 Things You Should Never Say To An Education Major

"Is your homework just a bunch of coloring?"
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Yes, I'm an Education major, and yes, I love it. Your opinion of the field won't change my mind about my future. If you ever happen to come across an Education major, make sure you steer clear of saying these things, or they might hold you in from recess.

1. "Is your homework just a bunch of coloring?"

Um, no, it's not. We write countless lesson plans and units, match standards and objectives, organize activities, differentiate for our students, study educational theories and principles, and write an insane amount of papers on top of all of that. Sometimes we do get to color though and I won't complain about that.

2. "Your major is so easy."

See above. Also, does anyone else pay tuition to have a full-time job during their last semester of college?

3. "It's not fair that you get summers off."

Are you jealous? Honestly though, we won't really get summers off. We'll probably have to find a second job during the summer, we'll need to keep planning, prepping our classroom, and organizing to get ready for the new school year.

4. “That's a good starter job."

Are you serious..? I'm not in this temporarily. This is my career choice and I intend to stick with it and make a difference.

5. “That must be a lot of fun."

Yes, it definitely is fun, but it's also a lot of hard work. We don't play games all day.

6. “Those who can't, teach."

Just ugh. Where would you be without your teachers who taught you everything you know?

7. “So, you're basically a babysitter."

I don't just monitor students, I teach them.

8. “You won't make a lot of money."

Ah yes, I'm well aware, thanks for reminding me. Teachers don't teach because of the salary, they teach because they enjoy working with students and making a positive impact in their lives.

Cover Image Credit: BinsAndLabels

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No, A Colored Student Did Not 'Steal Your Spot,' They Worked Hard To Get Here

I keep hearing this ignorant question of, "How come illegal immigrants can get scholarships, but I can't?"

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Real talk, this whole "they're stealing our resources!" thing has to stop.

It ranges from welfare to acceptance letters into prestigious universities. People (and by people, I'm referring to those who identify as white) have made the assumption that they are having their opportunities stolen by people of color. That's ridiculous.

I love my university. I love the people at my university. However, when I sit in a classroom and look around at my colleagues, the majority of them are white. Of course, there are some classes that are filled with more people of color, but for the most part, they're predominantly white. So, let's say that out of a classroom of 30 students, only 7 identify as people of color.

In what world can somebody make the argument that those 7 students are stealing the spot of a white student? I don't think people realize how hard those 7 students had to work just to be in the same spot as their white counterparts.

Let me use my experience: I am a Latina woman who is attending university on a full-ride scholarship. I don't always tell people about this, because I don't feel like being asked, "wow, what did you do to get that?!" A lot. I keep hearing this ignorant question of, "How come illegal immigrants can get scholarships, but I can't?"

First off, those "illegal immigrants" you're bashing, don't even qualify for financial aid. They don't qualify for most scholarships, actually. Second, have you considered that maybe, that "illegal immigrant" worked hard in and outside of school to earn their scholarship? I received my full-ride scholarship on the basis of my GPA, but also because I am a lower-class woman of color and was selected because I am disproportionately affected by poverty and access to a quality education.

So, this scholarship was literally created because there is an understanding that minorities don't have the same access to education as our white counterparts. It's not a handout though, I had to work hard to get the money that I have now. When white students get scholarships, it's not a handout but when you're Latina like me, apparently it is.

This way of viewing minorities and their education is damaging, and further discourages these people from receiving a quality education. We didn't steal anybody's spot, we had to work to get where we are, twice as hard as our white colleagues that are not discriminated against on a daily basis.

Instead of tearing down students of color because you didn't get a scholarship, why not criticize the American education system instead? It's not our fault tuition is $40k a year, and we have no reason to apologize for existing in a space that is predominantly white.

To students of color: you worked hard to get where you are, and I am proud of you. To white students: I'm proud of you too. We all worked hard to get to where we are now, let's lift each other up, not put each other down.

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