By Anna Meurer
Whenever I’m in a situation that calls for introductions and I have to say, “I’m a History and Religion double major and a Political Science/Philosophy minor,” I simultaneously feel a bit like, “See, see, look how cool I am!” and “I’m sorry you had to listen to that.”
Really, does anyone care what my minor is?
Truth be told, it’s a question I’ve been asking myself for the last three years. I’ve always had at least one minor, but I’ve flipped back and forth between various second minors at about the same rate that Egypt has changed governments.
It’s almost like Flavor of the Month: Security Studies? (too much red tape) Philosophy? (hard professors) Music? (not really).
Are you having a mid-major crisis about your minor? Been there, done that (repeatedly). Yet, despite the near-constant debate, I’ve never seriously considered dropping my minors altogether. Why? Because I think they’re ultimately a very good choice, for two reasons. A minor does (or should) accomplish one of two purposes:
College should be fun – what? No, seriously. There are few opportunities in life to be able to study something for no other reason than you find it interesting and be able to legitimately justify it.
In fact, it’s difficult to justify not taking the opportunity to study something you like when you’re surrounded by experts in that subject.
Of course, one could argue that this goal could easily be achieved by just taking electives at whim.
I agree, to some extent, but I’d argue the minor is the better route because it allows you to gain a certain level of competency in your subject, which is directly relevant to the second purpose.
Unfortunately, a minor is largely irrelevant to your degree as a whole. However, a minor can strengthen your degree if it adds a level of specialization. Interested in music therapy for mental disorders? You’d study Psychology, most likely. And so will roughly 1.5 million other undergraduates.
Add to that statistic the fact that Psychology currently ranks as one of the majors with the highest unemployment rates, and you might want something to help you stand out after you graduate.
Now, I’m not saying that a minor in an interest area is going to guarantee you anything but, but if you can demonstrate that it adds another level to your general degree and it is directly relevant to your focus area, it immediately puts you ahead of the competition.
So, back to the original question: are minors worth it? Most certainly, I’d say yes. Yes, because they combine the best of the “elective” aspect of college and the freedom to explore interests as well as a finished product for the future. Don’t take this as an injunction against individual electives. By all means, take electives as it suits your fancy (in fact, I hear archery calling my name for the spring).
However, (warning: reality check) remember that you didn’t come to college purely for fun. You can here for a reason, most likely involving money and future employment. So, the moral of the story is: have fun, but do it with a purpose. How so? Minors.