Wednesday, June 13, 2012

You're a History Major? So you're going to be a lawyer, right?

Well, yesterday was quite exciting.  I got a call inviting me to an interview for my first choice grad assistantship.  They said they could do it over the phone but my mom wanted me to go down there in person, so she bought my plane ticket.  I leave on Sunday, interview and look for apartments on Monday, maybe more apartments on Tuesday and then home on Wednesday.

Anyways, grad school will get its own post once I know about if I'm in or not.  Today I'm going to talk about being a History major, why its awesome and why it sucks.

Once upon a time, I was a Chemistry major.  I took 3 years of Chem in high school and really liked it.  Except for the fact that we never really did any labs.  Fast forward to my Junior year of college.  I'm still a chemistry major and am absolutely hating all the lab work that I had to do.  I was also not doing as well in my classes as I would have liked.  In combination with not enjoying my major like I should, I was also taking 2 other classes; Evolution and Europe In Upheaval, WWI and WWII.  The Evolution class started off with talking about Darwin and the history of evolution for the first 3 weeks.  I absolutely loved it.  I was also really enjoying my history class and professor.  I was also doing really well on the tests.

Long story short, I have a "mid-college crisis" and decide to change my major.  Thankfully the History major at Alma is only 9 classes and most classes don't have much in the terms of prerequisites.  This led me to taking 2 classes the winter of Junior year and 3 classes each semester of my Senior year.  While it seems crazy, it actually wasn't too bad.

The positives of being a History major?  The classes are fascinating, at least to me.  I got to take courses in Medieval Mediterranean history, Constitutional history and South African history, which was my favorite.  I also became a much better writer and got better at taking criticism.  After taking 4 classes with one of the toughest graders at Alma, I learned how to compare and contrast World War I and World War II in under 1,000 words, and did a damn good job at it.  I also got good at researching, which will likely come in handy for grad school.

The negatives?  Well, everyone asked me if I was going to be a lawyer or a teacher and then got confused when I said I wasn't going to do either.  Another negative is if you become a History major without really having a plan of what you're going to do with it (Law School, teaching, Grad School, Museums) you tend to get very confused and question your self-worth as a student.  Or at least thats what I did...  Another difficult part of being a History major is trying to explain to others that your degree really is marketable and useful to society.  Whats even harder is actually doing what you just convinced people of.

Do I regret changing my major?  No.  Not in the least bit.  Do I ever wish I had double majored/stayed with Chemistry?  Only when my job search is going horribly.

I'd say I'm doing pretty good for myself.

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