As a sophomore in college, I can attest to the constant stress that many of us college students face daily. Trying to take it day by day is the best that many of us can do it this point, with the goal of making it to the end of the week with your head above water. However, when you're a double major (or even triple major), there is the added pressure of trying to complete an additional degree program.
As a double major in Marketing and Chinese, I've picked up on several patterns associated with completing two majors. Without further ado, here is a list of 8 things that I've noticed that happen when you choose a double major in college.
Crossover Between Class Requirements
For many double majors, there will be classes that you take for one major that will count as credit for your second major. As a business major at URI, it is a requirement that students take two semesters of a foreign language class. Since I'm majoring in Chinese, that requirement naturally gets covered. In my freshman year, one of my roommates declared a second major in math because his first major, computer science, placed a strong emphasis on the subject. Having a second major will often help you with work in your first major.
You Meet The Same People
It should be expected that when you enter a new class, you'll start to recognize people if it's a requirement for your major. After a while you form a group of friends so you can meet up to study, prepare for exams, and look over notes from class.
Intentionally Connecting Topics Between Majors
Whenever we start a new unit in Chinese, I always try to connect the material to information regarding the business world. This mostly pertains to lessons including monetary, numerical, and legal affairs. In my business classes, I try to analyze what I'm learning, and if necessary, seeing if I would know how to translate class material into Chinese.
Unintentional Crossover Between Majors
A few months ago, I wrote an article that talked about common occurrences as a foreign language major. This is an example of what I meant. I cannot count how many times I've been in accounting or statistics class and have subconsciously translated something the professor said into Chinese. Obviously, being able to say business terminology in Chinese is beneficial, but it's frustrating when you're trying to understand the material as you receive it.
Stressing About Subsequent Semesters
Most if not all college programs use a system involving prerequisite classes. Basically, you need to pass certain classes with a certain grade in order to get into the next semester class. At the same time, you have to keep up registration for both your majors just to ensure on-time graduation. Of the 5 classes I'm taking this semester, 4 are prerequisites for my spring semester. I've had to keep grades at a respected level while trying to coordinate the best possible schedule for next semester. If you think this is simple, you're simply not human.
This should be obvious. College is a hefty price tag for most students and their families, so there is a direct incentive to do well. Aside from the cost, another reason for us to do well is to keep our place in our programs. As I stated earlier, you need to pass a prerequisite class in order to enroll in the next class in sequence. Most programs require a C or better.
The same goes for when it's time to graduate. Both your cumulative GPA and your GPA within your majors must be above a certain level. Again, this is usually around a C, or 2.5, in most programs. It's common sense, but the pressure to do well is apparent, especially when maintaining good grades for multiple programs.
There Are Plenty Of Resources
As much as the students want to succeed, the professors want it just as much. That's why there are endless opportunities and resources to get extra help if necessary. Every professor has office hours established so that students can come and ask questions. Many programs also employ tutors. These tutors are usually upper-level students that are paid or given credit to help freshman and sophomore students. Obviously as a double major, there is more to study, so there are more resources available to help me succeed. Whatever you're studying, there will be help made available to you, so utilize every opportunity you are given.
It Will All Be Worth It One Day
Every night as I sit in the library, stressing about countless tests, Chinese essays, and statistics problems, I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This pressure will be worth it one day when I can officially add B.S. Marketing and B.A. Chinese to my resume. Being a double major also increases your potential for employment, because companies see it as proof that you can succeed under an immense amount of pressure.
As we near finals, I know that so many people reading this are under insane pressure. Double major or not, just know that you can do it, and there will be payoff one day.