Ask A Fifth-Year: Major quandaries

Jacob Horn

Dear Jacob,

It’s been over half a year since I started going to Lawrence, and I still haven’t declared a major yet. Do you have any advice?


Fickle Freshman

Well, Fickle, no matter what you choose to major in, I encourage you to do the dual degree. It doesn’t really feel like too much work and it will only take you an extra year. It feels like the university is saying, “If you stay an additional year, we’ll toss in another degree for you.”

I often find myself tempted to stay at Lawrence for an additional year to tack on an additional major to my dual degrees. If you overload and take four classes a term, you can qualify for most any major.

But, then again, this involves filling out some rather tedious paperwork through the registrar’s office, and I don’t feel like detailing my experiences on that topic just yet. Maybe a fellow Lawrentian will conveniently ask me about my experiences with overloading next week.

For your benefit, I will not pursue this plan for I fear that the hypothetical contents of my “Ask a Sixth Year” column would be even more bitter and incoherent than what you are currently reading.

Now, onward to the actual departments and what major you should pick. And here I must apologize. I’ve taken a wide array of classes, but the most experience I have is in my own majors of music and English.

I don’t think physics would be all that entertaining to me, because I would just try and slip “entropy” into as many classroom discussions as possible.

I became bored with computer science, since all I could think about during class was: “When will we discuss the Borg?” You could be a philosophy major and just say “Oh really?” after every statement made in class.

There’s always the option to design your own major that adheres to a decided-upon course load. This takes more creativity on your part, since you can’t simply say, “I’m going to major in ‘Star Wars’ studies.”

You’ll need to find an advisor who doesn’t think your major is stupid and a series of established classes that could help you achieve your goals. Last time I checked the course load dealing with the Force was rather limited in scope. Or non-existent. Either or, really.

In all seriousness, pick what makes you happy, and take as many varied classes from as many different departments as possible. I guarantee you will not find many places in the real world to have discussions on warfare tactics in ancient Greece or what your thoughts are on planetary evolution.

Don’t pick a major that you think will get you a job, because that sheet of paper called a diploma won’t get you a job. That sheet of paper called a résumé will. Also, a rich relative wouldn’t hurt.

If you find yourself indecisive in the coming weeks and need a response by Friday’s issue of The Lawrentian, e-mail me at