Between Two Majors

The following entry was written by Jenna McPadden, Class of 2013.

When I started researching colleges, I wasn’t sure exactly what I was looking for. My friends who loved high school Biology and Chemistry knew they’d pursue the sciences in college; I had a friend who liked robotics, so he went into engineering. And then there was me. I liked History and English, some theatre (sometimes), and Student Government interested me, too. I started to feel lost in the college search, so I tried a new strategy: decide what I didn’t want to do. I didn’t want to teach, for example, and I didn’t want to work in the museum world, so I somehow settled on Creative Writing.

Hitting the books

My parents were surprised (“What do you do with that degree?”), and I was nervous about it too (“…write?”). By chance, I came across an Emerson College viewbook and noticed the Writing, Literature and Publishing major. I was captivated and thought the program was just the coolest thing. Publishing is an industry, industries have jobs, jobs make parents happy, and I can read books, and write! Overnight, Emerson became my absolute top choice. The real irony is that once I got here, I started joining student organizations that had little to do with creative writing. I wrote and read for class, then met up with friends to work on theater productions or dance compositions, and on a whim, I joined a marketing organization.

Marketing clicked for me—it felt natural, like something I was supposed to be doing. I loved the structure and excitement of Marketing, but I was still loyal to my love of writing. I was torn and didn’t give up one for the other. I didn’t want to tie up every free minute of my time by taking on too many pursuits in both areas, but I also felt like I’d be missing out if I didn’t give each major a fair shot. So after a lot of meetings, planning, and tough choices, I became a double major.

It’s definitely been a challenge, and I’ve made sacrifices to do it (I couldn’t study abroad, took less ‘for fun’ classes), but I think it helped me to figure out who I am. I can’t see myself writing in a café with coffee cups strewn about (clearly I’m not the brooding type), but I think I’m a better Marketer because I can think outside of the box, and it’s really helped define who I am at Emerson and as professional. I find that my Marketing knowledge informs my writing, and vice versa.

I suppose I’m a bit sentimental now as a second semester senior, but I can’t imagine any other school that would have given me the opportunity to figure myself out in such an organic way. I’m glad I got the chance to figure out my professional and personal identity at Emerson!

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