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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Take advantage of upper-division classes outside of your major

College is the time to explore

 

By JENA TUFAIL — jjtufail@ucdavis.edu

 

When I transferred to UC Davis in the fall of 2021, I had many aspirations about what majors I wanted to study. I decided very quickly that I wanted to either change my major or add a double major or minor in another discipline. I also, however, wanted to graduate in two years, so I recognized that I may not have the time to do so. 

By my third quarter, I had already changed my major twice and had contemplated a few different departments for a minor. I had a hard time deciding exactly what I wanted to major and minor in, as I was interested in so many different disciplines. It was always exciting for me to learn about each different major and apply what I learned to my real life. However, I simply did not have time to switch to a different major every quarter. 

I remember looking at the major requirements page on the UC Davis website for each of my majors, trying to pick potential classes for the future, when I saw a section under each major requirement that said “alternative electives.” Up until that point, I had taken classes only within each of my majors and minors, but then I realized I could take classes from different majors that interested me. Instead of being upset that I wouldn’t be able to explore as many disciplines as I would like to during my undergrad, I was able to find a way to incorporate numerous classes from different majors while still meeting my degree requirements. 

Many majors at UC Davis offer this option. Not only is it a great way to finish off your degree, but it is also a way to learn about different fields and be exposed to different views and ideas. The new skills you learn can not only be utilized throughout your time in college but also outside of class, in the future and in your career. 

Last spring, I was able to take a social cognition course in the psychology department. I was fascinated by the material, and although I recognized that I did not want to major in psychology, I enjoyed learning information that was different from what I was used to in my other two majors. The information I learned in that class over a year ago is still relevant in my day-to-day life, and I use it not only when studying, but also when making daily decisions.

In addition to the course in psychology, I was also able to take classes in the Middle Eastern/South Asia Studies department, political science department, linguistics department and more. I believe that having the ability to take classes from several different majors has allowed me to become an even better student and a more well rounded individual. I learned information that I would have never learned within my own majors, and this has allowed me to gain an even wider view of the world around me.

If you have the opportunity during your undergrad to take classes in other majors or departments, I highly recommend it. Not only can it be fun to have a break from your major, but it is also exciting and highly beneficial as well.

 

Written by: Jena Tufail — jjtufail@ucdavis.edu

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