Monday, March 5, 2012

My major? For a while, Indecision.

Since joining Mac, I think my major plans have changed at least 4 times. I just kept trying things and working with different incredible faculty members and departments that drew me for many different reasons. However, none really struck me as right until recently. 

Honestly, every department is amazing and a person can be happy in any of them, so it all just comes down to your interests. A person can find academic success in any academic discipline at Macalester. I can honestly say that the faculty has supported me and advised me kindly through each and every decision that I have made about my academic plan.

I came in considering International Studies, but once I learned what that was, what I understood it to be paper-writing about similarities between different parts of the world, I decided against it. Then I went with Political Science with an International Relations focus cause my First-Year Course was Foundations of International Politics. No go, political science and me just didn't gel. For whatever reason I found the essays needlessly convoluted and full of words invented for the purposes of writing the paper. After that I discovered a passion for Economics and Linguistics in my second semester here. I loved both for different reasons. However, I didn’t think I could study both and around that same point an International Development concentration was created on campus.

The International Development Concentration sounded great, as development work has always interested me and I thought I’d love it. But as I looked at the courses I learned that apparently I could not fit the concentration with both a major in Economics and Linguistics. I decided to do a major in Economics, minor in Linguistics and a concentration in International Development.

At this point I thought I was set, but after a meeting with Christina Esposito (a Lingusitics professor) I learned that my options with Linguistics could be limited to lesser graduate school opportunities if I chose to pursue only a minor. I decided that wasn’t going to be all right because I love the discipline and didn’t want to be held back if I wanted to go to grad school in the future. Plus, I was starting to sour on courses in the International Development concentration: It made a field that I find to be important morally into something far more academic than I could appreciate.

In the end I dropped the International Development Concentration and bumped up my minor to a major in Linguistics. Now, I’m currently double-majoring in Linguistics and Economics. Honestly it took a while to come around to the decision to do both and also work out the credits needed for each major, but I’m glad that I finally did. I think I have a better appreciation for both fields and why they matter to me after the convoluted path to reach this endgame.

I’m not saying that I have my whole life figured out now that I have set my major plan completely. But I can honestly say that I’m happy to no longer have to introduce myself as a Macalester sophomore majoring in Indecision. That joke stopped being funny at about the third use.

- Kyle Coombs '14