Choosing a major, as decisions in college go, is a pretty big one. Of course throughout college students change majors, add majors, and turn majors into minors and once they graduate many people go on to do something completely different. Nevertheless, a major concentration represents a subject that each student will spend a significant part of their time thinking about and engaging with. That’s what makes the annual majors fair at Macalester such a great event. Every year senior and junior students from every major come to talk to first years and sophomores about what their experience with their major is like. I’ve been involved in the major fair all four years I have been at Macalester. My freshman and sophomore years I went because I had not completely decided what my major was going to be, my junior and senior years I went to represent the departments that I have devoted most of my time at school to.
When I was a first year, I wanted to major in everything. I did not even know what questions to ask about majors. By my sophomore year though, I really understood the value of the majors fair. It was a chance to talk to a real student, ask them about favorite classes or what their future plans are. I’m a history major, and while history is a familiar subject for almost all incoming first years, very few high schools teach history in a way that’s similar to the way it’s taught at Mac. The history major here is about critical thinking, learning how to read a source and to interrogate biases. While some high school programs touch on these skills in the history curriculum, not all do. I was happy to get the chance to speak to some really interested (and interesting) first year students about just how different their experiences in my favorite subject had been before coming to college. I hope the information I could give them about what it is like to be a senior major writing a capstone paper, was just as helpful and enlightening for them.
Class of 2012