Campus Life advice

Concerning your confessions

Auntie Matter on the estival emanations of our esteemed associates

If you have questions for Auntie Matter, please submit them at Questions have been edited for length, clarity, and content.

This week, in response to MIT Summer Confessions posts, Auntie will give yet more unsolicited advice. Remember, folks, even your (technologically incompetent) aunt can read a public page!

Dear MIT Summer Confessions,

I've been freaking out because I can't figure out how to balance the requirements for both of my majors. It's been driving me up the wall for over the past two semesters and I think I just can't handle it. I used to want to double because I had “diverse interests,” but I don't think I care anymore. Is there even a point in having a double major? It seems useless now that I really think about it.

— Academically Ambivalent

Dear Ambivalent,

When you major in a field, you gain two things (in Auntie’s mind; perhaps ask a professor in your chosen fields what they think): first, others recognize your proficiency in the field; second, you can be assured that your study is at least somewhat comprehensive, because someone experienced in the field devised it. You do not need to major in something to be passionate about it, to gain knowledge in it, or even to have a future career in it. As it turns out, your college major doesn’t determine where you go in life. If a double major is making you miserable, think about why you want that double major. Do you need both credentials? (Doubtful.) Do you want to make sure you have completed a prescribed course of study in two fields, because you want to ensure you do not miss anything? (Possible, but you could still just ask a professor in your second field what they believe you need, and do that.) Indeed, not having two majors might let you develop the skill of determining what you want to learn, not merely following requirements. If you do not need a second major for credentialing, Auntie would encourage you to take classes because you are interested in them, not to get more words put on your diploma.

On a personal note: Auntie has a major in STEM and a minor in the humanities, but she spends similar amounts of time on both. Auntie’s love of the arts and letters has not demanded that she adopt a second major, merely that she use her time in college to pursue the full breadth of her interests. She suspects you could do the same.

And now, Auntie will tackle some short queries, again from MIT Summer Confessions.

Do I ask her out and risk making our friendship awkward or do I let things be?

Please see Auntie’s previous writing on similar matters. In summary: tell her your feelings, but don’t overwhelm her with them. If she does not reciprocate, it will be a challenge to your friendship, but Auntie believes the two of you could get through it.

CI-H recommendations?

17.20, CC.111, 21H.181, 21H.134, 17.309. (Auntie has a proclivity for political science and history. What might her minor field be?)

You are beautiful, but that pales in comparison to your personality.

Auntie has included this as an example of the sort of compliments she expects from her readers and (if you are so very lucky) her suitors.

Phrases that you can say both in lecture and during sex?

It’s okay, I only need to remember this material until tomorrow night.

When am I ever going to use this?

I’m totally confused as to what you expect me to do, Professor!

Can I get extra credit for this?

Did anything replace

Your mom.