What if I want to study everything?


Illustration by Andrea Nebhut.

“What’s your major? What are you majoring in? What are you studying?”

If you haven’t already gotten tired of that question in its many forms, you will. Who is actually pretending to know the answer? Many of us know what it’s like to scramble for a response to this question. Do we bluff and recite the well-rehearsed monologue on how exactly our major is going to apply to our future? Or, do we admit that we are lost in the search for our focus? The latter can be especially hard to do when you are talking to someone who has planned their graduate school, career path and retirement party.

Trinity endorses discovery, something I didn’t fully appreciate as a first-year. The freedom to sample a variety of disciplines is a luxury. During my time here, I have studied the history of cities in an urban studies class, calculated optics equations in a physics class and crafted a ring in a metalworking studio class. This is part of the core curriculum at Trinity “” diversity and discovery. It is something we can be proud of, instead of hiding in fear of judgement and comparison. No cat ever did die from curiosity.

For my readers interested in taking a bajillion classes, as I was, consider auditing a class or taking one pass/fail. You can select one class a semester that is not related to your major or minor and that will not count towards your common core to take purely for credit “” just ask about it at the registrar’s office. Yes, technically it is more credit hours, but it can’t hurt your GPA “” and you only need a 70 or higher to get a “P” for passing. I wish I had known this as a first-year, as surely I would have felt a lot less pressure taking a heavier courseload.

It’s also never too early to reach out to Career Services for some simple personality tests, career interest quizzes and more. I know I was knocking down the door to the office of Katie Ramirez, the assistant director of Career Services, during the first semester of college so she could give me the StrengthsFinder assessment, which they recommend to hold off on until your second semester. But, if you are like me and dying to know more about where you might fit, a little persistence can go a long way.

Finally, as we all would like to graduate in four years, seriously evaluate the added value of attaining a triple major and quadruple minor. Is it worth it if you can’t dabble in exciting classes? Ask around with alumni, advisors and mentors to discover the importance of your major; many of them will tell you that it is largely irrelevant (apart from certain, highly technical vocations). Instead, consider an interdisciplinary second major. That’s the fancy name for “create a major,” where Trinity students can cherry pick a course load for approval as a legitimate path of study.

To conclude, a philosophical note: we don’t have to have it all figured out. With the right outlook, uncertainty can be exhilarating. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable about the future and plan just as far as you can see. As said by Hector Barbossa, “For certain you have to be lost to find something that cannot be found.” Let’s get lost in the search to find ourselves.