Double Major

“I’m double majoring” is a phrase that gets automatic raised eyebrows which may be either impressed or worried, depending on the student in question. As I’m going to MIT, the difference isn’t necessarily because of me but rather depending where I am. If I’m at home or with my friends and the words slip out, I get the frown or raised eyebrows (depending on the person) of worry or surprise. If I’m talking to random people it’s often the raised eyebrows that show they’re impressed, or sometimes that they’re confused. Though that may be because in English (as opposed to MIT talk) my double major is quite long.

“What are you double majoring in?”

The answer for MIT kids: “2 and 21W.” Response: concern and/or surprise.

For everyone else: “Mechanical Engineering with a focus in Nanotechnology and Manufacturing, and Writing primarily focused in Creative Writing.” Yeah. I get the confused face a lot. 

I’ll be honest with you – I really enjoy getting the confused face. Not exactly from the ridiculously and unnecessarily long title (which I will admit to beefing up depending on my audience), but from the difference in interests. Especially if they understand how widespread concentrations in nanotechnology and manufacturing are (for those who don’t know, that’s the difference between playing with atoms and building cars). It’s more common to double major in things such as mechE and CS or EE (computer science or electrical engineering), or mechE and material science, or even mechE with a concentration in design for the purpose of creating a star-up or inventing or something like that. But mechE and creative writing?

I like to also mention that this means a double thesis: an invention and a book (most likely), both needed to be completed by my senior year. At the moment it looks like research that I’ll start in the fall of next semester, and a collection of short stories that I’ll be writing starting… well, this summer.

Okay, okay I do enjoy being the odd ball. It’s something that I always have been, even in my own family. Standing out and doing something or being someone different has always been fun for me. But even more than that I get to finally be able to professionally run the gamut the way I always have. My interests have always been this diverse. Before, people would look at me reciting the things I’m interested in with a shake of their heads. “Well, enjoy it while it lasts,” they’d say, hinting at the impending doom of streamlined, all-consuming majors. But now I can develop and put to use skills that I’ve enjoyed since I was little. “Returning to my first loves” as it were. The fact that something like that is even possible assures me of a future I’ve never been confident enough to dream of.

I may not be concentrating in design, but having a focus like nanotechnology and manufacturing assures that I will be exposed to a wide variety of things that will give me ideas in how to branch out the technology we have today. I may not produce the next Harry Potter or even the next Hunger Games, but my increased skill in creative writing may give me the diversity I need in order to appeal to a wider audience, both in writing and in inventing (a shameless plug for my Writing, for which I would appreciate any range of feedback).

I suppose I could twist this to make the focus of this post to be: Look! I’m doing it, so you can do it too! Don’t let go of your dreams! Or some nonsense like that. But the last time I heard someone make a laundry list of their accomplishments for the sake of inspiration, I found it not only ineffective but insulting. No, lady, I thought, I’m not like you. There’s no way in hell I’m ever going to be like you, so stop making it sound like your success can be normal. Because in all honesty, I can’t respect someone who would rather tell me where they are than show me how they got there.

No, the point of this post is to celebrate. I’m not sure if anyone remembers how scared I was two years ago for the impending doom hidden within the big, bad, MIT (I hid it nicely behind the semblance of being bored). But with yet another year of college down the tube, I can honestly say that I’ve grown and came out the better for it.

Now, I can look forward with a smile. Expectation is making me giddy, the great lessons gained from looking back makes me feel like sharing, and best of all, the goodness of our God is making me feel like dancing.

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