As of this semester, I am a declared music performance major—the only first-year music major here at EMU. I really want to study music, but honestly, the thought of what I will do after college scares me. When there are so few job opportunities for someone with a B.A. in music, it seems pretty naïve to pursue that degree. However, a double major would allow me to pursue music…and something else. So I decided to look at what logical options there would be for a second major, but I did not find much. That is not to say that double-majoring in general is terribly hard. Lots of people double major. The problem is I do not want two related majors, with half my classes counting toward both of the degrees. What I really want is to major in two different fields.
With 128 credits required for graduation and a 60 semester hour cap on requirements for a major, it seems like it should not be impossible to double major in separate fields. However, once you add as many as 35-38 semester hours of core requirements, there is simply no way to make all the classes fit. The only way to take all the necessary courses in eight semesters—or seven if I choose a semester-long cross-cultural—would be to combine or reduce the requirements of one or both majors. I realize that it would be pretty much impossible to do that without compromising the integrity of the degree. I suppose a better idea would be to take summer courses if I needed to. The only other option left is to forget a double major and fill up my leftover credits with a couple of minors, but is that as good as a second major?
I would like to think I am not the only one facing this problem. In all my major-searching, one thing I noticed was that music is not the only “worthless” bachelor’s degree when it comes to finding work after college. While there are a few majors that basically guarantee a specific occupation after graduation, many people will likely graduate college without knowing exactly what job they will end up using their degree for, or whether they will even find a job related to their major.
Along with that, a double major is becoming more useful, and maybe even necessary, than it was before. In today’s economy, it is becoming increasingly important to have more than one marketable skill. With recent lay-offs and so many people looking for employment, hardly any position is secure.
Students can no longer expect to graduate from college and work in a specific field for the rest of their lives. It is growing increasingly common for job applicants to have multiple positions at various agencies or companies within a short period of time, and having many different jobs listed on a resume is no longer viewed as negative. In light of this, a double major would be very helpful in navigating the world after graduation.
I am not asking for it to be easy to double major, only for it to be possible. I am planning to work hard. I did not come to college to sit and watch movies; I came to get a degree and prepare for the rest of my life. Right now I am simply trying to figure out a way to fit in a double major without having to stick around for a fifth year. It will be difficult, and I may not be able to do it, but as of right now, I plan to try.
-Jacinda Stahly, copy editor
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