Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Triple majoring doesn’t triple your success

Samantha Ratner

Going to college and earning a degree is an incredibly commendable endeavor. Double majoring, or even dual-degreeing, can be just as difficult and rewarding. As a dual-degree student, I know how difficult it can be to devote the necessary time to two separate degrees in a way that allows me to succeed in both. 

Meeting students pursuing three or four majors baffles me. While their ambition and work ethic is admirable, their choices make me second guess if what I’m doing is enough. We must remember that simply having more degrees does not define one’s success. Rather, it’s the experiences we acquire in and out of the classroom that inevitably shape our futures.

Students should consider adding minors and certificates rather than a third major.

While having more degrees might appear great on paper, spreading your focus over so many areas of study may have negative implications for your college experience. 

Anastasia Paul, a senior academic advisor for Plan II, said she encourages students to pursue both single and double majors. Paul also recognizes how a second major can create more stress for students.

“I love purely Plan II students, and I actually lean towards encouraging more of them if possible,” Paul said. “I completely agree that college can be stressful for double majors, especially some of the heavier ones in CNS, business or even engineering. Those can take a toll on students.” 

Adding a third major can potentially create even more stress for students, which in turn can negatively impact their mental health. 

Despite the possible implications of a third major, some students pursue it because they fear being seen as unimpressive or not accomplished enough when they graduate.

“Some students (add a third major) because they feel inadequate, like they’re not doing enough,” Paul said. “Out of fear or pressure, they are starting to pursue a third major and that’s not a motivation that will continuously fuel you. If you pursue something out of fear, it’s eventually going to die off.”

Paul explained that while a third major does depend on an individual student’s ability to spread their focus, assuming too many responsibilities can be overwhelming. She said she encourages students to pursue just one major, add a minor or double major.  

In some instances, adding a third major can work well for students. Om Joshi, a Plan II, electrical engineering and math senior, attested to the value of three majors.  

“I added math at the end of my sophomore year because there’s a bit of overlap with (electrical) engineering (and math), and it wasn’t that many more classes,” Joshi said. “There were one or two interesting math classes that I wanted to take, and I thought there might be some advantage to having the math major.”

Joshi found significant overlap between his three majors. However, his case was circumstantial and does not necessarily apply to every student. 

“Seek out courses that are interesting, and if it happens to collect into an additional degree or earn an additional certificate that you believe there’s value in claiming that … by all means it’s a great idea to go for it,” Joshi said. “There shouldn’t be a pressure, and it shouldn’t be over-stressing or overstretching to find extra majors just for the sake of getting extra pieces of paper.”

Minors and certificates are a great way for students to explore their interests without the burden of taking on an extra major. They allow students to explore and gain experience in areas both related and unrelated to their fields.

Students should recognize the difficult academic work they are already doing. Earning a degree in college is challenging enough, so there shouldn’t be any pressure to take on more than a student can handle. Allowing yourself to fully enjoy and explore college will prepare you just as much, if not more, than overloading yourself simply to look more accomplished. 

Lack is a dance and Plan II sophomore from San Angelo, Texas.

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