How Double Majors Can Ruin Your Life: Two Arguments for Doing Less

How Double Majors Can Ruin Your Life: Two Arguments for Doing Less

Thanks to Adam for pointing me to the blog, Study Hacks. Many good posts. They are primarily aimed at the student crowd, which I’m slowly putting behind me. The advice is really good and this particular post hit close to home.

I’m a double major in Language Education and Instructional System Technology and Indiana University. The decision to do this has made my life miserable. For years, people contacted me about doing the same thing. When ask that question, I respond, “DON’T DO IT!!” They are often surprised when I say it, but they understand better when I explain.

First, a double major means that you serve two masters. In a PhD program, this will work against you at every turn. You are already immersing yourself in the literature and culture of the field. This is difficult enough for one field, but in two? It’s impossible to keep up. You are always going to be behind.

Second, you will either end up ignore one group or the other. This will make forming relationships with your classmates and professors very difficult. The culture in departments doesn’t really allow for this. You will not get the full benefit of immersing yourself in a single group and this will affect you personally, but more so professionally, in the years to come.

Third, everything will take longer to do. More courses, more projects, more reading, more writing, more hassle. Your classmates will pass you by and you’ll be that old guy that’s been in the department for longer than many of the professors.

It’s too late for me. I’m nearly done. I’ve gone to far. It may not be too late for you. Stick with a single major and do it well. If you have other interests, do a minor or just take classes. After you graduate, you can do any kind of research that you want to do. You’ll have no class requirements or professors pushing you to go one direction or another. You’ll be free to explore.


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