During the fall of my sophomore year, as spring registration loomed over me, I made a big decision – one that changed the likely course my life would take. I decided to become an English major. But changing the course of your life is not without its share of necessary adjustments.
Or should I say problems? What would I do about mass communication, my existing course of study? The study of journalism interested me, and I enrolled at Linfield with plans of becoming a reporter afterward, but now I wanted something different. I wanted to teach English to high school students, to spread the word about words, the commotion about commas.
I decided that becoming a double major was the best action to take. I loved journalism, but I wasn’t in love with it; I wanted to let it down easy, to remain friends. After all, the all-seeing eyes of the mass media control nearly every word, sound and image we experience outside of our own perception. With the 24-hour news cycle and endless avenues of technological innovation, the media shape our world and, consequently, our paradigms. But no, that life wasn’t for me. I wanted to study the oldest mass medium: books.
Now, with senior year registration fast approaching, comes the reckoning. For the last year and a half, I tried not to think about scheduling conflicts, about pre-requisites put aside. I tried to think that everything would work itself out.
But now, I’m having some conflicts. Literally. History of American Mass Media, a senior year capstone course for mass communication majors, is being taught at the same time as Critical Methods of Literary Study, a course English majors are supposed to take during sophomore year. Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t take Methods then — it conflicted with Information Gathering, another required course for mass communication. This past fall, during the final offering of Methods, I was studying abroad. I planned on the possibility of taking the class this spring, but, alas, I couldn’t. It wasn’t available.
What I’ve come to realize about double-majoring is that it isn’t easy to do at Linfield — especially if you don’t decide to do so until midway through sophomore year. It seems as though requisite courses always conflict, and they aren’t offered nearly as often as one would hope. Many of the classes I’ve taken are just once a year, with no alternate courses. It’s possible to do, but it’s not a stroll through the park.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t leave my course selections up to the winds of chance. I studied my course catalog; I tried to take everything at the proper time, but it just didn’t work out. Now I have some real problems to solve. I’ll either have to take History of Mass Media from another college (and fork over the cost of enrolling in the course, which I really can’t afford) or convince my professor to let me do an independent study and work with him individually. I’m still waiting to hear from him: He’s on sabbatical.
Registration is April 12, and as of this writing I still haven’t figured out what my plan is. I’ll probably be spending the coming weeks figuring out some attendance arrangements with my professors. It all depends on how my scheduling conflicts are handled, which makes me realize that, for all the effort I put into planning out my two majors, there was nothing I could do to prevent this from happening.
Such is the plight of the double major. I guess it’s what I signed up for.
Read Jordan’s weekly blog at www.linfieldreview.com.
columnist Jordan Jacobo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org