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September 27, 2016

On taking a double major: J-r Sanchez

by Abigail Napeñas

Taking up one course is hard enough, imagine how difficult it would be to take up two! Driven by passion, J-r Sanchez, a junior studying Biology and Physics, talks about the ups and downs of being a double major, and how his love for the sciences continually fuels him in the path he has chosen to take.

Interviewer: What inspired you to take the leap and pursue a major aside from the one you are currently taking?

J-r: I developed an interest in taking a second major when I was still in high school. Back then, I knew I still really wanted to go into Med, but through my experiences, I developed a growing interest in Research as well. Eventually, I decided I didn’t just want to become a doctor, I wanted to pursue post-graduate research as well, specifically in the field of biophysics. It invites many possibilities since it’s a relatively new field, and it was really the thought of one day being able to contribute to this growing area of research that I decided to take a second major in BS Physics along with my current major in BS Biology.

I: How is your college life now considering you are taking two majors instead of one? How has this affected the way you handle your academics as well as your extracurricular activities?

J: Academically, the workload is still pretty okay since I’m only taking around two additional subjects per semester as compared to my other blockmates. Most of the stress mainly still comes from either extracurricular stuff (AKA the things I voluntarily chose to bring upon myself) and core subjects (AKA things I’d still have to deal with, double major or not). Other than having less free time and having to deal with more inconvenient schedules every week, there’s really not that much of a difference in how I deal with acads and orgs before and after I started double majoring. If something was already working well for you before, then I’d suggest you continue doing it.

I: What are the challenges you encounter as a double major?

J: There’s the challenge of having to do two theses at the same time next year, and also the challenge of forever having to maintain DL standing so I would be able to overload with no problems the next semester. But the real challenge for me – that would probably drive any person wanting to double major insane – is that enlistment will never be the same again. Ever since I started taking my double major, enlistment has become a TOTAL NIGHTMARE. I’ve never been able to finish enlisting online. I always have to manreg and load rev every semester since there’s always a conflict with pre-enlisted subjects and tagged sections. It’s also a big challenge having to continuously cross-check with the class schedules on AISIS to come up with even one feasible schedule for each semester.

I: Is the decision worth it?

J: If the second major you’re taking is something you’re genuinely interested in and are passionate in learning more about, then yes, double majoring is definitely worth it. However, this is really a decision you have to think long and hard about, it can’t just be something you want out of the blue. You’d have to carefully consider the amount of extra work, stress, and inconvenience double majoring would probably add to your already busy school life. After having considered these things, if you can still find yourself saying yes and feeling excited to learn more about a second field of study, that’s when you can be sure that double majoring would still be worth it.

I: What advice would you give someone who’s considering taking the same path you are? Any tips or tricks on how to manage it?

J: If you’re ABSOLUTELY 100% sure you want to double major, then inform your department undergraduate coordinator and the ADAA ASAP. Take care of all the stuff required ASAP. If you do not wish to extend the number of years you’d have to stay in Ateneo, then let me be the first to tell you that beginning a double major on your second year would still be too late. As much as possible, try to have all the necessary requirements and documents approved by the second semester of your freshman year (or earlier, if the school will allow). If there are any incoming freshmen interested in double majoring, then I suggest they do their best to pass the CEP because any unit freed up can be a big help.

If you’ve already committed to double majoring, my biggest piece of advice would be not to give up. It may become really difficult or demanding, but as long as you still have that same passion that pushed you to take that second major in the first place, then you owe it to yourself to see it through.

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