This started out as a Halloween blog.
Halloween is my favorite holiday, bar none. I always get way too into my costumes; I spend too much money, get too elaborate. Edward Scissorhands and Amy Winehouse (the first time around) were probably my most convincing efforts. This year, my roommate and I went as the Black Swan and White Swan from the 2010 Oscar darling Black Swan. We got way too into it, which seems to equal getting way too many compliments. It’s a fair trade.
So, this was going to be a blog about our adventures creating our costumes and making our way to and back from Fells Point on October 31st. It was going to be a blog chock full of Halloween pictures, a way for me to reminisce as I wait 357 days until next year’s festivities.
But as I hot glued $30 worth of black feathers in our apartment, I knew my blog should be about something much different. There was something much more spooky brewing under the guise of Halloween spirit.
I’m not meant to be a double major.
It’s taken a lot for me to admit that to myself. I’ve fearlessly, committedly devoted myself to this track of study that I deemed the perfect synthesis of everything I love. Film & Writing stood as this ideal intersection within my niche of the Humanities. I’ve spent all my time in Gilman, and claimed my favorite spot on campus to be the six-foot distance between the Writing Seminars and Film & Media Studies offices. I’ve been that little poster child for double majoring in what you love.
I mapped out my remaining semesters at Hopkins, since double majoring requires attention to your whole college plan. One wrong move and you risk not graduating on time with two degrees, or—dun dun dun—taking summer classes. I distributed my two majors’ course loads between semesters, balancing different demands. I stared at my four-year plan and felt terrified and sad. Each semester was filled to the brim with 18 credits of requirements, with Writing Seminars dominating each semester.
I thought of all of the classes I wouldn’t have the opportunity take. I thought of all of the classes I would reluctantly have to take. I thought of the Marketing & Communications minor I would never have the chance to work towards. I thought of all of the hours I would spend writing papers on literature and philosophy, two topics I don’t really care for. I was trapped inside my own brain’s crossroads of I don’t want to do this and Yeah, but I will, because I’ve always been supposed to.
So, enter my stages of grief of admitting double majoring just ain’t for me. (No, I am not now a Psych double major.)
DENIAL Telling myself 18 credits per semester plus full Intersessions every year was totally reasonable. Telling myself that Writing Seminars is in my blood and soul and to drop it would be to ruin my life. Telling myself that double majoring is the only option. Telling myself that double majoring would be the only thing that would get me to where I want to be. Telling myself that double majoring was no biggie. Telling myself that 6 classes of papers every semester is totally doable. Telling myself that it’s easy to manage a life plus work. Telling myself that required classes were my favorite classes. Telling myself a thousand lies to make Writing Seminars look like a feasible option for a double major.
ANGER I was mad at myself for not being a superhuman who could spit out papers like a printer. I was mad that I had wasted a year on requirements now ruled useless. I was mad that the writing classes that I love came with a brood of courses that I didn’t love. I was mad that I couldn’t will myself to love the additional requirements. I was mad that I wasn’t willing to sacrifice for the second major. I was mad that I could no longer fit into the hordes of students who double major. I was mad that I could no longer validate my writing skills with a degree.
BARGAINING I sought all the cross-listings in the course catalog, hoping to combine some requirements, hoping to mollify my stress. I tried to finagle each semester to be as manageable as possible. I looked into heavy loads for Intersession and possible summers. I tried to manipulate my schedule and my feelings in every which way to bend the world to my will. I thought about rearranging my priorities, changing my extra curriculars. I looked into every loophole. I figured that I could technically still take Writing courses, just not get the degree. I tried everything within my little grasp to make Writing Seminars possible.
DEPRESSION I realized that dropping Writing Seminars meant no longer having class with some of my best friends. I realized that I had so many stories and poems inside me left to write. I realized that I wouldn’t have the same community of people who don’t laugh when I described a phrase as “tasty.” I realized that my resume wouldn’t have that pretty, impressive stamp of two Bachelor’s of Arts on it. I realized that I would be “just” a Film major. I realized that I would never get to learn from certain renowned professors. I realized that I could no longer have a degree in something that I really, really love.
ACCEPTANCE But most of all, I realized that dropping Writing Seminars would free me of so many required courses that I feared and disliked. I would be able to invest my time in things I loved even more. I would be able to adopt a minor in Marketing and Communications, something that makes me excited and feel hopeful. I would be able to hop on a different track. I would be able to expand my horizons. I would be able to take some electives, not just major requirements. I would be able to set my sights on my dreams of working in Advertising. I would be able to focus on my amazing Film courses. I would be able to devote myself to my clubs and my work. I would be able to do so many things that Writing Seminars was hindering.
Mel Brooks is living my dream
So many people at Hopkins double major, and that’s awesome, and such a unique part of Hopkins’ academic perks. Film & Media Studies and Writing Seminars is actually a pretty common pairing, but it’s not what I need. It’s not what I want. Both programs are awesome and lend themselves to each other well… but that doesn’t mean they’re for me.
I was really scared that dropping Writing Seminars would mean losing a part of my identity. I’m a really indecisive person, and this double major was something I was also sure of, so I was extremely hesitant to give up that security. But I took a chance, and I feel relieved and free. Hey, college is about self-discovery and I’ve learned that my dreams, passions, and goals aren’t what they were when I entered college. And that’s totally kosher. I will always love to write, and I will always consider myself a writer. I don’t need a stamp on a diploma to verify my love of or skills in writing. I don’t need a degree to show people that I can and love to write; hopefully my writing speaks for itself. Writing Sems rocks, but it’s just not for me. I have my goals set on working in Advertising, and I couldn’t be more excited about my new adventure as a Film & Media Studies major and Marketing & Communications minor!
Bye Writing Sems, I love you!