Getting to my Major

This week, we asked our eMentors: What is your major, and how did you get into it? Also, if you had the freedom to create your own major, what would it be? What is it that you want to study? Hit us up at uwgearupementors@gmail.com!

Paige

I study psychology here at the University of Washington and I LOVE it!!  I initially came into UW thinking I would study Microbiology.  I’ve always had a morbid fascination with infectious diseases like Ebola.  So, my first quarter I started out taking chemistry and math classes.  I hated them.  With a passion.  I had a epiphany about half way through the quarter that went along the lines of “I don’t want to study this sort of stuff for four years”, “I don’t like working in a lab”, “I really like working with people”, and “Psychology has always sounded kinda interesting”.  I took two psych classes the following quarter and, poof!, haven’t left the department since.  It’s a wonderful program at UW.  Here’s a link to learn more about it if you’re curious!

http://web.psych.washington.edu/

If I could create my own major…wow this is actually a hard question for me.  I actually have to be boring and just say a modified psychology major.  It would be solely focused on the clinical side of things.  So in other words, I would spend my time studying abnormal disorders.  The major would have an eating disorders class, a schizophrenia class, an ethics in clinical practice class, internship time in an inpatient psychiatric ward (I did an internship like this at Children’s hospital and learned a lot from it; I think any person interested in clinical psychology should experience this sort of environment)…so essentially my major is a lot like getting a clinical psychology PhD hahaha What can I say, I have found the subject that fascinates me more than anything else in the world.

On the sillier end of things I would also create a Queen Elizabeth I major.  She’s just so cool!  Classes would be on Elizabeth’s wardrobe and makeup, her politics, her banquet table, rumors and scandals, a day in the life of a lady in waiting, jousting for beginners, a class on current British royalty (just for fun, Kate and William ARE getting married you know)…you get the picture 🙂

Beza

My undergraduate majors are Psychology and French.  When I was thirteen years old my older sister took her first psychology class in high school and she wanted to become a psychologist. This was my first introduction to psychology.  Wanting to do everything my sister did, I also blindly decided to study psychology.  However, I didn’t really understand what psychology was all about.  My freshman year in high school I started reading books about people who were influential in the development and growth of psychology. That same year I became an alcohol and drug helpline operator.  Talking to people about their different problems sparked a deeper interest in psychology.  I didn’t take any psychology classes until my spring quarter in college, but right after taking my introductory to psychology class, I knew that I have found something that I would like to invest my life in.  My decision to major in French is very random. I have taken French class for three years in high school and I wanted to continue to take it in college. I didn’t decide to major in French until I studied abroad in France. Studying another language, especially French opens the world to me and gives me an advantage in terms of working in francophone countries and so on.

If I could create my own major it would be survivorship major.  This major will include classes on how to survive in any environment and any setting.  For example: surviving tough times, such as natural disasters, economical hardships, surviving in wilderness, and overcoming simple day to day life situations; such as parenting, midlife crises and so on.  Students who major in survivorship will have the chance to learn in real life settings.  Gradates of the survivorship major can become certified trainers who educate others these survival skills; they can get jobs as fire fighters, policemen, or join organizations such as Red Cross and so on.  Because most of the fields listed do not really require a college degree, survivorship can be used as a minor, a double major or it will be a degree that requires less class room work and more field training.

Kyle

My major is political science, but I am planning to add an environmental studies minor this spring. Going into college I was not one of kids that had my whole life planned, in fact I had no plan. Everyone always put me down for not having a plan, but I was just not ready to decide what I wanted to study until I got into college and tested all the fields that interested me. I spent my first year taking as many classes that interested me as possible, while making sure that they would fill my pre-requisites at the same time.

I took classes in architecture, geography, urban planning, art history, political science, environmental studies, and law. I ultimately decided on political science because when I read through the political science course list I realized I had said “I want to take that” after every single course I read so I took two poli sci courses I enjoyed. I also started reading the Seattle Times for the sports page, but realized more and more that I was drawn to the national and opinion pages. It was then I decided political science was what I wanted to spend the next 3 years studying.

I always knew I was interested in the environment, but I didn’t know I wanted to minor in it until I was taking Enviro 100 and was studying animal migrations and was completely drawn in.

My advice to every student would be to spend their first year trying out different majors before you decide. Most 100 level courses are designed to give students an overview of the topic and the major so take as many as possible. Once you have done your due diligence exploring your options, follow your passions in school regardless of whether that major will help you make lots of money, because you will only achieve your potential if you are passionate about what you are studying.

If I could create my own major it would be called environmental justice. I took a class on environmental justice which concerned the relationship between people and their environment and in what ways our endless consumption is degrading that relationship, particularly for low income people. I hope to leave the world a place with less poverty, healthier people, and a still pristine environment for the next generations and by empowering marginal people and leading a more sustainable lifestyle we can do so.

Jocelyn

I am currently on course to receive two majors from the University of Washington, two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Sociology and Vocal Performance.  I always get questioned as to why I have chosen majors that seemingly oppose each other. Questions like, “What are you going to do, sing your closing arguments?” are thrown around each time I am questioned about my fields of study.  I assure you, this would never happen, I am sure the judge would throw me out of court and the jury would label me as insane!  I am simply doing vocal performance because I love to sing.  Throughout junior high and high school I performed in choirs as well as solo competitions.  I love the performing aspect and I have always been comfortable singing in front of large groups. For this reason, I auditioned and was accepted into the program as a freshman.  Later on in my college career I decided that I wanted to add on an additional major to round out my college experience.

My general interest in law and the impacts upon our society led me to the Sociology field. Sociology is a discipline focused on the study of people and societies.  In classes we generally center on individual choices and how they impact culture.  With this degree I am giving myself a strong base for law school.  Focusing on particular groups and their association with criminality will suit me well upon entrance into graduate level work.

If I could make up my own major I would strictly focus on crimes against women and children.  Although there are classes that encompass these issues, I would be interested in solely focusing on these topics.  My major would be called Crimes Against Women and Children with a focus on domestic studies.  This last part simply means I would prefer to focus on crimes impact within the United States rather then abroad.

Manmeet

How I Chose My Major:

I wasn’t completely sure what I wanted to major in when I first got to the UW so I took a number of different classes during fall and winter quarter to narrow down my choices. My “Making of the 21st Century” class is what led me to apply to my major, international studies. I’ve always been really interested in current events, politics, and international relations, so once I learned about the international studies major at the UW, I knew it was the perfect fit for me. My major is really interdisciplinary, which is what I like most about it. I have taken classes relating to political science, law, societies, and justice, and Asian studies as part of my coursework. I also chose my major because it is one of the most intensive reading/writing majors at UW. I eventually want to go to law school and I figured that the best way to prepare for law classes would be to take a lot of reading and writing intensive classes as an undergraduate.

I’m also minoring in human rights, education, and diversity…I have a lot of interests. I really enjoy my major but I truly found my passions while taking classes for my minors. These minors might not seem that related, but they’re all centered around the common theme of social justice. Over the course of these past four years I’ve really come to realize how much I value living a life of purpose, and the classes I’ve taken for my minor are what have led me to this realization.

If I Could Create My Own Major….

My ideal major would be social justice. My volunteer work as a college student has made me understand the importance of acting as an advocate for others. I think it’s really important to not only recognize what sorts of issues are facing our communities, but also understand what we can do to change things. A social justice major would probably involve taking many of the classes I’ve already taken through my minors. The overarching theme of this major would be to engage students with current issues such as education, discrimination, etc. and learn how we can utilize policy and civic engagement to create change.


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