Campus Life

Crisis on multiple majors

Like a mid-life crisis, but with less financial independence

Well, that’s it for junior year. Grades are in, sighs of relief have been released and blood pressure is back down. Yet a single understanding hangs over my head like an incontinent pigeon: in a matter of months, I’ll be a college senior. High-pitched, hyperventilated screams of panic abound. It’s not just the looming graduate school or reality, or the fact that I still don’t know which one it’s going to be. It’s not my inability to decide what I want to do or why, either. Nor is it the knowledge that many of my best mentor figures are going off to do with confidence aplenty the very things I’m panicking about. It’s...well, actually, I’m not entirely sure what it is, but it most certainly isn’t any of the above. No, sir, most definitely not one of those.

I’ve always been indecisive (I think), and when it came time to pick a major, it was a minor miracle that I found something that I felt suited me. Even more miraculous, but decidedly less convenient, was when I found a second, very different major that also suited my interests. Unable to find a compelling reason to let either one go, I’m still doing both majors now. As much as I like them both, though, conflicts of scheduling (and interest) between them both have been inevitable. Every time a class in one major occupies the same time slot as one in the other, the same process of questioning my commitment/reaffirming my ability/smothering my nagging doubts in junk food takes place, although the junk food thing is pretty much par for the course on any given day, anyway. Fruit snacks are hard to resist. By now, I suspect I’m too far along to drop one of them. If I stopped doing one, I’d be giving up doing what I enjoy, which seems insincere; if I stopped doing the other, I’d be throwing away a chance to do something scientifically beneficial, which seems unethical.

Related to my aforementioned academic angst is the question of what I’m going to do after MIT. Graduation as scheduled is but a short year away, and I’m still not sure what’s next on my list. My inner engineering major is begging to go into graduate school, while my humanities major beckons me to industry. Even if I threw myself fully into the humanities, I’d still have to answer the question of where in the humanities I’d want to go. I’m interested in working in movies, video games, and even a smidgen of theatre, so unless my job is putting together VH1 nostalgia specials (which actually sounds like it wouldn’t be too bad), at some point I’d probably have to be terrifyingly specific.

At any rate, one point seems abundantly clear, even if not much else seems to be — I’ve got one summer to at least try to decide what on earth I’m going to do with my life. A letter in my mailbox might tell me I was randomly selected to be in the first Mars colony expedition, which would simplify the matter considerably. Although knowing my luck, it’ll probably just be jury duty. I guess that’s the price I pay for being wishy-washy. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to decide what I want to do tonight. Should only take me five or six hours, at which point I’ll have to decide what to have for dinner — tomorrow.