6 double majors share their best tips

What’s it really like to be a double major?

It’s one of the most important questions to ask yourself as you decide if two majors are right for you. And an inside perspective can make all the difference.

We talked to six current double majors to ask them why they did it, how it fits into their career goals, and their advice to those considering.

Here’s what they had to say.

Blog Header: Merall Sherif

Merall Sherif

Majors

Pre Health track – Premedical

Biology

Neuroscience

Minor

English – Poetry

Why did you combine these majors?

I majored in Biology because I have been enthralled by the human anatomy since I was three years old and picked up my father’s stethoscope for the first time.

I chose the Behavioral and Cognitive concentration of Neuroscience because it allows me to explore neuroanatomy through the lens of its applications to human behavior in aspects such as memory, sensation, and perception.

I chose to minor in English and focus on poetry because spoken word and slam poetry are how I was able to reclaim my voice as a Libyan-American muslim woman. Through my poetry, I was able to empower myself to speak my truth about moving through the world bundled up in the layers of my intersectional identity and learn to honor my most-authentic self underneath.

Frankly, my greatest aspiration would be to learn how to grow empathy in a petri dish and that is why I paired a double science major with an English poetry minor.

How do you plan to use them in your career?

Health care is about evaluating and treating a person’s well being as a whole, not just their diagnosis.

As an aspiring gastrointestinal surgeon, I believe that in order to help people heal, we need to prescribe them compassion and pill capsules in equal parts.

 What’s your advice to a new student considering a double major?

To anyone considering a double major, I would encourage them to cultivate more than one dimension of their potential and to seek the academic path that nurtures the most pansophic thinker possible.

I would tell them that it would be a shame to exercise one side of their brain and neglect exciting the action potential in the other.

Why did you combine these majors?

I came to CSU without a very strong idea of what I wanted to do. My favorite subject in high school by far was English, but I also considered myself an environmentalist and wanted to go into a field of work related to sustainability.

I picked Ecosystem Science and Sustainability (ESS) because the curriculum delves into the more scientific and technical aspects of sustainability that I wanted to be familiar with, but it also incorporates humanities classes, which cater more to my personal interests and strengths.

However, during my Sophomore year, I realized I was missing writing. Some of my friends in the Journalism and Media Communication (JMC) program recommended considering it as a second major.

The curriculum has a ‘second field’ built right into the major, so I found I could balance the coursework well and still graduate on a 4-year plan. I took some prerequisites and declared during the second semester of my sophomore year.

It’s been great having a scientific major that gives me very practical, technical skills and balancing it with a more flexible, creative major. Plus, it’ll be neat when I have both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree.

How do you plan to use them in your career?

My somewhat-canned answer to this question is “environmental communications.” I want to work at the intersection of communications and sustainability.

To elaborate further, in my internship with the Institute for the Built Environment and work with the Warner College of Natural Resources, I’ve been able learn about concepts surrounding development and sustainability, as well as community engagement.

I would like to use the communications skills I learned in JMC and apply them to engaging communities in sustainability efforts and practices that I’ve learned in ESS. But like many seniors, I’m still trying to figure out exactly what I want out of my career, and what it would look like for me to achieve these very broad career goals.

 What’s your advice to a new student considering a double major?

Take the time to look at what courses are required in the majors you’re interested and have conversations with your advisers about what you want to learn.

Your academic advisers are a great resource and want to see you succeed, so they will be able to help you figure out the best way to satisfy all the requirements you need to satisfy, while also putting you in classes that interest you.

You may end up having to take some summer courses or heavy workloads during the semester, but it’s worth having the broad range of knowledge that gives you all the tools you want to have in both your academic and professional career.

I often think of what Heinlein said, “Specialization is for insects.”

Blog Header: Brian Dusek

Brian Dusek

Majors

Business AdministrationMarketing concentration

Communication Studies

Minor

Political Science

Why did you combine these majors?

After interning for U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in summer 2017, I felt as though I found what type of career and life I wanted to have. While there, I really saw how much I enjoyed working in a Public Relations setting.

I was already committed to attending the Business School as a Marketing major at CSU, and I thought that by adding a Communication Studies major I would gain a lot more skills and understanding that would be really useful to me in the future.

Overall, I wanted to combine all of my qualities and favorite things into my college education; I’ve always wanted to work in an exciting and flexible job, I’ve always really enjoyed talking and communicating with people, and I have a passion for politics.

Finally, receiving a Liberal Arts and Business education is something really exciting to me, as the variety of classes I’m taking are extremely diverse, interesting, and useful.

How do you plan to use them in your career?

I hope to one day work as a Campaign Manager or Public Relations officer for a politician or firm. These jobs require a lot of advertising, political, financial, and communication knowledge and skills, which is beyond just a Business or just a Communications Studies major will teach me.

I also know that because of the powerful combination of these majors, my skill set will be a lot different than a lot of my peers. I will have many different opportunities because of the versatility of these majors.

 What’s your advice to a new student who’s considering a double major?

Make sure you really understand the different classes you’re required to take, and make a graduation plan that makes sense. Being 100% certain of your decision and the unique workload is important.

Being a double major student is something that feels really cool, because I’m taking such a wide variety of courses and meeting a lot of different people along the way. However, it is a lot of work, and there still is a lot of work ahead, but by reminding myself of all the great experiences and classes I’ll be in, I know it’ll be worth it!

Blog Header: Melanie Eoff

Melanie Eoff

Majors

Construction Management

Business Administration — Corporate Finance concentration

Why did you combine these majors?

I found my niche in life — construction finance.

I started in construction management and noticed a need for understanding how to handle money. Raising America’s standard of living is a passion of mine. This drive motivated me to pursue construction and finance together.

How do you plan to use them in your career?

Both majors will be used to help me pursue a position in construction finance. I believe knowledge in both fields will help me have better dynamic thinking skills than my peers. Having a competitive edge is useful in my career.

 What’s your advice to a new student considering a double major?

My advice is to prioritize what matters to you. Does graduating on time have an impact on your financial situation? Do the majors have courses that overlap? Do you have commitments to work, Greek life, or extracurricular activities?

Remember, your workload increases junior and senior year because of upper-level courses.

From a personal standpoint, a big fear of mine was becoming a “jack of all trades, master of none.” Finding realistic goals is vital to juggling a double major.

Blog Header: Mauri Richards

Mauri Richards

Dual Majors

Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering

Why did you combine these majors?

To be honest, I was not sure at first that I wanted to study engineering. One of my favorite things about CSU was the undecided program. I have always been interested in helping people but was not sure how I would help them in the future. I loved my anatomy and math classes in high school, but couldn’t see myself in the medical field. Luckily, I was given the opportunity to shadow at a prosthetics company. This opportunity sparked my interest more than any other profession has.

Around this time, CSU’s dual engineering engineering degree program was brought up in a conversation. I have a mechanical/technical brain from my father. We used to fix our dirt bikes each summer, so that is what led me to pair biomedical with mechanical engineering. At first, I was more interested in my biomedical engineering major, but my interest for mechanical engineering has grown due to all of the classes that I have taken at school.

How do you plan to use them in your career?

One of my favorite things about my majors is that I have so many options. It seems like my interests change every semester based on which classes I take.

Currently, I am extremely interested in joint-replacement technology. My dream internship this summer is to work for the company that designed and manufactured my mom’s partial knee replacement.

I also could see myself working in the medical device field in the future. These personal experiences have shaped my direction and I am looking forward to see how my interests evolve in the next few years due to my projects and classes.

 What’s your advice to a new student who’s considering a double major?

My advice would be for students to study something they are passionate about.

Finding a profession that you could see yourself doing in the future should be an exciting process rather than a stressful one. I often get lost in the stress of the semester, but when I remember what I am studying and why, my energy and passion is renewed.

One thing that I did not consider when I chose my major was where the jobs related to my majors are located. Mechanical engineering jobs can be found a wide variety of places; however, there are not a lot of biomedical engineering jobs in Colorado. There are a lot of smaller companies, but that doesn’t allow many students to stay in state for internships over the summer. It is possible but challenging. Think about if you are okay relocating for a job or if you would prefer to stay in state.

Why did you combine these majors?

I chose these two majors because they are the things I am most passionate about.  I couldn’t choose which one I liked best, so I decided to do both.

Once I stopped and looked around at my life, I realized that I could spend all day in the gym working out or helping people with their workouts, and not notice that the day had even passed. I also noticed that I could have a conversation with anyone about nutrition and that could also last all day.

How do you plan to use them in your career?

Once I graduate I plan to get my Registered Dietitian certification and become a freelancer in nutrition counseling. I’d also like to work in a gym training athletes.

 What’s your advice to a new student considering a double major?

My biggest advice for someone considering a double major is to look at their life the way I did. If you really just can’t live without one or the other major, then why not do both?

However, double majoring can be really hard when you have to balance the requirements of both majors. I absolutely love being in school and there is nothing else I would rather do right now, but thinking of graduating is really exciting.

So, I would say it’s important for people to think about that and whether the two degrees are worth being on campus extra time [if that applies to your situation].

Jill Baylis

Jill was a staff member in the Office of Admissions until 2019 when she moved to Denver. As a first-generation college student, she focused on simplifying the college admissions process and helping future Rams find community on campus.