One of the issues many of our students here face is sticking to one subject. I, as a student, have trouble to sticking to learning about one subject area or interest and often like to jump around from subject to subject. I don’t like to be boxed into one field or one interest. It feels very limiting to me and I don’t like to not be able to learn about more things that are going on in different academic fields here at the college.
During my first two years here, I used to hop from subject to subject. This way I would take advantage of the various course selections while also fulfilling my distribution requirements at the same time. Here are a couple of examples of the kinds of courses that I took my first two years here:
- Colorism in Paradise (LALS 031) –> A class on the concept of race and colorism in Latin America
- Gender, Sexuality, and Social Change (PEAC 043) –> A class where we talked about how gender and sexuality (gen-sex) has affected social change throughout the world by looking at gen-sex in relation to religion, gender roles, and gender structures.
- Pedagogy and Power: An Introduction to Education (EDUC 014) –> A class where you explore the major questions surrounding educational policy, theory and practice.
- Data Structures and Algorithms (CPSC 035) –> A computer science course that utilizes C++ to cover object-oriented programming, data structures, and algorithms that are often used in the field.
So just with these four examples, you can see that I spread myself over various departments here at the college. That is the beauty of going to a liberal arts college. You are allowed to take classes in more than just one department. There is so much flexibility with the kinds of classes you can choose here and they, for the most part, count towards something, so whether it is fulfilling a distribution requirement or a major requirement the classes teach you something useful.
That’s why when it came to finally deciding on what to major in, the decision came easily to me. I knew for a fact I wanted to major in Theater. By the Spring of 2019, I had already completed a majority of the major and needed only three credits to go in order to fulfill the course requirements for the major. The performing arts are also the one subject that I’m pretty sure that I want to dedicate the rest of my life to. It was my second major that was going to be the issue for me to solve.
I was unsure about where I wanted to go with the second major. I knew for sure that I wanted it to be something completely different from the humanities-oriented Theater major. I looked through all the courses and none seemed to really be the kind of thing that I really wanted to study. Everything seemed to intertwine with something else so I saw no purpose in studying those subjects further when I do that on my own time. Then, I was hit with an idea. What if I decided to do a natural science/STEM major as my second major here at the college?
At my old high school, I avoided STEM like the plague and never even thought about the possibility of being able to major in something in the natural sciences. Here at the college, I really only enjoyed being able to take Computer Science. I was always in the CompSci labs doing my own labs or hanging out with my best friend who is also a computer science major. I was actually enjoying learning about the natural sciences at Swarthmore because I wasn’t just limited to learning about this one subject area. I was allowed to pursue other things without being boxed in. That’s when I decided to be a Computer Science major.
Everyone’s major is different from the next person’s. I’m lucky enough to be at a college where they allow me to do two drastically different majors at the same time. I’m able to continue my love for the humanities while also continuing to educate myself in subjects pertaining to the natural sciences.