What Is the Best Way to Declare a Major/Minor?

Yesterday, I had really busy day. Before taking the written driving test, I declared a major in Political Science and a minor from Philosophy. I will be still declaring a second (double) major from Management and a second (double) minor from Economics this Friday. Eventually, I am hoping to bump my Philosophy minor to a third major since the difference between minor and major in Philosophy is only 8 credits, but for now I wrote it as minor for now. Either way, is there a best time to declare a major/minor?

I think that there is a one moment that should tell a student that one should declare a major/minor, and that is when one decided to do internship in that field.

In my opinion, and many would agree with my that declaring a major the second week of freshmen year is not really smart idea because a lot of students still are not so sure about their career focus. Also, waiting for the last minute to declare the major/minor is, well, not a clever idea because major/minor is recommended/required in some cases in order to do an internship. If there is anything that can make a big difference in one’s after college career than besides grades, honors programs, student position or study abroad then it would be internships. So, if one decides to do an internship in certain department that means the one is dedicated enough to study the department therefore one consider declare the major in that field.

Of course there are exceptions like everywhere, but if one is working 40 hours a week in the summer in a certain field for a couple weeks or months, it may be a good idea to declare a major in that department.

Defeating the College Major Label [Part 1]

Hello again!

We’ve officially survived our first week of classes here at Hope! I’m writing now about a very personal experience that I had over winter break. I find this topic relevant to most college students, which is why I’ve decided to be vulnerable and share it.

Among the oodles and doodles of time I had over break, I spent much of it doing, well, absolutely nothing. When I get in a routine like this, my mind wanders. For someone who is in the middle of deciding a career path, of course my thoughts choose this road. And long story short, here I was at home having mental breakdown because I was afraid I’d be unsuccessful in my post-undergraduate endeavors. Couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep.

Now, first things first, I was totally wrong. My self-doubt stems from insecurities and the “Major Shame” that occurs around college and university campuses. (Major Shame is the guilt and shame put upon a peer or student pursuing a seemingly “unemployable” degree. This can be anything from English to Chemistry, where there are many paths that can be taken.) Not only are the skills that I have nurtured so far very useful in my current and future career, but so are the ones that I have yet to harness.

English majors develop strong writing, critical thinking, analytical reading, researching, and communication skills. In additional electives, we can gain many more skills. For example, in some communication classes I’m learning how to navigate and control media, social media, the web, as well as journalism and composition. In design classes I will learn how to use programs that companies look for like Photoshop and inDesign. I’m also hoping to learn some basic web design.

After embarrassing myself in front of my parents, tears and all, I sat down with my mom and step-dad to have a talk. They reassured me that my strong voice, reading, and writing skills will get me far in life. That’s exactly what we need: skills, not a major. Unless you’re going into something like engineering or education, where there are absolute, concrete concepts, ideas, or certificates that you need to understand or receive, your career is about the skills you have, not the label that you’re put under.

My step dad took about eight notecards and laid them out in front of me. On one, he wrote, Chemical Engineering Major, and drew an arrow to the career path Chemical Engineer. He tossed that card aside and pulled in a new one that said “English Literature Major” and drew arrows all around the card, reaching out to other notecards. On those around the middle card, he wrote: Academic, Media, Corporate/Business, Law, and Art/Writer.

On each we brainstormed different careers that an English major could pursue. I learned that the options were quite limitless. In the academic realm, I can be a teacher, professor, lecturer, librarian, researcher. In media I can work for print, tv, radio, web, and social media. In that area, as well as the business/corporate area, there are many opportunities to work for any company in the world as a writer, editor, researcher, or media worker. I can go to law school and become an attorney, or maybe I’ll find a more creative job and work from there. It takes a bit of research, job shadowing, internships, and honing in on what you like best to decide where exactly you want your career to reside.

It’s all about the experience and skills that you can learn throughout your path to becoming what you what to be. That being said, my step-dad also had me write down every experience I’ve ever had, whether it be work, extracurriculars, summer activities, hobbies, etc. Anything that shaped me into the person I am today. Companies won’t care that you were “just” a [insert any major] major in college if you can do what they desire with the skills you have. Now, if you’re sitting around and not making any gains, you might want to be a little worried. But if not, take a few deep breaths and follow the exercise that my step-dad showed me:

  1. Start by writing your major on the center card, along with the skills that your major has given you or that you already have.
  2. On the surrounding cards, brainstorm different areas of work that it might be possible for you to live and breathe in with your major. (And let me tell you, there are more than you think).
  3. Keep branching off of each area. The corporate section of my brainstorming turned into every corporation that’s currently running.
  4. Take a step back, give it a rest. Put the papers away, but don’t throw them out. I really hope you feel better than you did before, because that’s sure how I felt.
  5. Begin making a list of experiences that you’ve had that have given you skills. This can be anything from musicals to an after school job, winning a poetry contest in the seventh grade to being the president of your National Honor Society in high school.
The notecards
This is how we brainstormed! It’s actually pretty easy. Notice how he crossed out my “major” and circled my skills.

Don’t get me wrong, I still worry about all of this. It’d be weird if I didn’t. Even the pre-med kid has to worry about good enough scores and grades to get into medical school. However, I can look back on moments like these with my parents and rest reassured in my abilities.

I think the answer to why we worry about these things lies a bit deeper. Stay tuned for Part Two!


“Major”-ly Confused (and Embarrassed)

A few weeks ago you may have read a blog post I wrote, raving about how excited I was to be a teacher and how good I felt dressing for my future job. Which is why I now feel embarrassed to admit that I don’t think I want to be a teacher anymore.

I mean, I know I don’t want to be a teacher, at least for now. But even more than the embarrassment I continue to feel, I was confused. Up until a few hours ago, I only knew one thing about what I wanted to continue my education in: English and creative writing.

What on earth could I do with that? I knew I wanted to perhaps combine it with a Communication degree emphasized in media or writing. I also knew that the rest of the Communication degree would not suit me. I was faced with a dilemma.

I met with Amy Freehafer from Career Development this afternoon, and she helped talk me through some issues I was mulling over. Amy looked at my StrengthsQuest results as well as my results on the Myers-Briggs personality test, and understood exactly why I was having doubts about education. For someone with such strategic and creative thinking as I have, the core-standards of education just don’t fit.

She saw potential opportunities for me that I couldn’t see before. I’d previously thought about editing, publishing, or becoming a professor. She recognized a passion for media and design in me that I knew I had, but didn’t know that I could turn into a career. Instead of adding another major on to my degree, Amy suggested that I take as many Communication classes directed toward media, as well as many art classes focused in computer and graphic design.

I was a bit perplexed, what would employers think if I just had an English degree with all of these extra courses? Amy doesn’t doubt the arts and humanities one bit. She often believes that she uses her English minor more than her social work major. Her goal was to help me choose classes that would build a valuable skill set, since employers look for that over a label.

After helping me pick classes for next semester and discussing the possibility of semester abroad, Amy continued to guide me toward internship and job resources, and people that can help me plan for my future. I have a checklist of things to do before and after the semester ends, including talking to someone in the Communication and Art departments, going to the Study Abroad Office, and meeting with someone else at Career Development to establish job shadowing opportunities at home.

She gave me so much, even devoting an extra hour to our time than I had signed up for. The Career Development Office is truly one of our most valuable resources here at Hope, and I intend to take advantage of it from now on.

I was lost, but now I am on my way to being found. It’s going to be a weird, long road, but I’m very excited for my journey as an “English and Creative Writing Major with a focus in Media and Graphic Design”.

Struggling with your major isn’t an uncommon thing. I’m a sophomore and I still don’t have it all figured out. So if you’re a prospective student reading this, know that you don’t have to be decided when you come in. And if you are, don’t be afraid if you begin to have doubts. Those doubts will get you to where you truly belong: where you’re happy.

I hope this post has helped you see some of the services our Career Development has to offer.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving,


Tip of the Day: Double Crediting

Picking a major is a big decision for all students. Currently, I met with my academic advisor and I will be declaring a triple major in Economics, Political Science and Philosophy next semester. It sounds fancy, but in reality doing a triple major is much simpler than most students think. After speaking with multiple professors about declaring a major in their department, they told me a fact that not many students know about. Students may get double credit for two classes towards their majors.

In Hope College to get a B.A. degree from Philosophy students need only 24 credits, which is six four-credit classes. But not many students know they can get double credit for some classes. For example, Philosophy of Law is a four-credit class. This class is categorized under the Political Science department, but if student, like myself, is aiming for degree from Political Science and Philosophy, this class can count towards both majors. This means, that if I take Philosophy of Law, I can count four credits towards my Philosophy degree and four credits towards my Political Science degree at the same time. It is a clever advice, which based of talking with some students, not many students know about.

Unfortunately, double crediting has a limitation as well. Students are allowed to use the “double credits” only in eight credits. In the other words, students can count only two four-credit classes or four two-credit classes towards their degree. In either way, double crediting as a great way get a triple major in four years.

Even that double crediting is limited for eight credits, it is a huge help, which shows the strong academic curriculum of Hope College. In life many jobs overlaps with the skill required as well as the skill required overlaps in different departments. It illustrates huge benefit from liberal arts school education because real life is colorful, not only black and white.

The Nursing Program: How To Be A Competitive Candidate

This one is for my prospective nursing students from the class of 2019! I have been getting several emails and messages on Hope on Facebook regarding applying to the nursing program, so I thought I’d blog about it! It’s all in a Q & A format. At the end, I also have some advice from current junior and senior students. I hope you all find this useful, future Hope nurses.

1. How difficult is it to get into the program?

No sugar coating here. Hope College’s nursing program is a competitive one. And as the years go on, it gets even more competitive. Because more people hear about how amazing the program is, more people apply. Simple math. But the department can only take a handful of students. These students are the ones who are the most competitive in the applicant pool. To answer this question, it is competitive to get into the program, but for good reason!

2. When do you apply for the nursing program?

Great question! Applications can be found on the nursing website and the application process starts in the FALL of your freshman year. Applications are due SPRING of you freshman year. Details on application dates can be found on the nursing website. Applications come out early so you can perfect it. It is important to establish connections and relationships with your professors and faculty because you will NEED references, so make them great ones! When you submit your application, your grades from fall semester play an important role. There is a GPA requirement, so you’ll need to do well in your classes. Also, you will have to take a test, termed the TEAS. This merely measures foundational knowledge so it will give the department an understanding of your knowledge.

3. What classes should I take for pre-nursing?

Read up, this is important! If you are applying for the program, make sure you apply for the classes that are needed to apply for the program. The department has established a “Plan of Study.” This outlines which classes need to be taken each semester in order to graduate. It also lists the name of the classes and whether they are offered only during the fall, spring, or both semesters. When you register for classes later on, you will know for sure which classes to take!

Now, for some advice! I hope these quotes will help you out!

As a freshman you’re excited about being away at college for the first time and there’s so much freedom & opportunities that can fill up your time. Although it’s important to build friendships & find extra curriculars you enjoy, school & grades are important in your first semester at Hope if you’re going to apply to the nursing program. I would recommend maybe picking one extracurricular your first semester to give yourself a break from homework, but focus on school. That first semester is a quick 4 months that can effect the rest of your college career; have fun but work hard so you have the grades to show you’re committed & deserve a spot in this wonderful program. – Junior Nursing Student

Advice #2

Involvement in volunteer services is key! Gain experience through shadowing opportunities, volunteering in the community and CNA/medical office work. Buy the TEAS study guide book and use it to take practice questions. It will help to boost your score on the TEAS as well as prepare you first NCLEX-style questions in nursing school. – Junior Nursing Student


Advice #3

Get ready to work your butt off. It’s going to be difficult at times, and you will definitely want to quit. I have thought about quitting on several occasions. But the result of working hard is success! Because of my hard work, I was able to have great grades and was accepted into the program. Make sure to focus on academics, but get involved. That’s why its hard. Involvement makes you a well-rounded individual, and those make the best nurses.

-Senior Nursing Student


I hope that this blog gives you some comfort about the application process. If you have any more questions, please please please do not hesitate to email me or message me. I tweet and post instagram pics quite often regarding my everyday life in the nursing program. If you want to follow me on Twitter at @HopeMarvin15 or follow me on Instagram at MarvSolberg, that’s always an option!

My friend Molly and me as freshmen. Now are are seniors in the nursing program!
My friend Molly and me as freshmen. Now are are seniors in the nursing program!

Confession: I Like Doing My Homework

If you’re a prospective student, you just read that title, and you’re already closing the window, I understand. You could keep reading, though; that would be cool. Alumni and others may understand what I’m about to say.

I finally think I know what I want to do with my life, and how can I tell? My homework is fun. Don’t take this the wrong way – while I may find peace, enjoyment, and excitement in what I’m currently doing, it’s no substitute for things like friends, donut runs, and other fun activities.

Yet when I’m doing my homework this semester, I find myself smiling at the things I’m reading, and being willing to go ahead in what I’m working on. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a secondary English education major with a psychology minor. My plan is to either become an English teacher, because I love the power that reading has had all throughout my life and I’d love to pass that on, or go to graduate school to become a school counselor.

In my English class, we read about reading and then wrote about what it has meant to us over the years. In my Educational Psychology textbook there are teacher tips that I just can’t get over. I can’t wait to help students grow and learn, whether it be as a teacher or a counselor.

I couldn’t have gotten this far without Hope. I mean that truly and honestly. Without the guidance that I have received since I got here, and the growing that I’ve done as a person through new friendships, classes, and activities, I would not be in the position that I’m in now. I’m forever grateful for what is happening in my life and the ways that God is working.

I’m taking this as a pretty decent sign that I’m heading in the right direction, and I’m so excited about it! My goal has always been to love whatever I’m doing. I’m loving it and loving that I’m loving it.

I hope that you’re doing what you love too!

If you have any questions for me you can contact me at brookelyn.wharton@hope.edu, through Facebook, or my twitter @hopebrooke18! I’d love to answer them!

What Am I Doing With My Life?

To answer that question in short, I’m going to school and I’m learning things. To answer that question in the more complicated form…I don’t know. The truth about me is that I have no idea what to major in or what I want to do with my life after college.

And according to other people, this is okay. Yet in my mind the issue is a blinking red billboard right in front of me all of the time, because it’s my future; how could I not be worried?

Lately around the Hope campus, everyone has been getting frazzled about scheduling, which happens next week. I’m just as lost as the next student. I have no idea what classes to take. To make matters worse, I was too late to schedule an appointment with Career Development since they were booked up until after scheduling…

Except that when that didn’t work out, Career Development helped me make an appointment with someone else to help me, without my even asking! I hear countless stories of people figuring out their calling, and about how it will all work out in the end. I don’t need to know where I’m going right now or where I’m going to end up, because I’m here at Hope. (But while that’s easy to think…I still worry, just not as much)

All I have to say is that if you’re coming into college without an idea of what you want to do, that’s perfectly okay and you’re not alone. Hope’s liberal arts gets you exposed to almost everything, and the Career Development resources allow you to become more self-informed so you can find the calling that brings you the most joy.

Hope is forever proving to me that I could not be more supported in my journey. It warms my heart.


If you have any questions for me you can contact me at brookelyn.wharton@hope.edu, through Facebook, or my twitter @hopebrooke18! I’d love to answer them!

The Plan

Well readers, it’s happening. I’m growing up. Because guess what happened this week??

The four year plan was made. That’s right. My major? English with a Creative Writing Emphasis. My future? Decided.

Well at least for the next four years.

It’s crazy isn’t it? Last year, I was just a freshman, trying desperately to find a major – my fate, if you will, and I gave up. Just gave up, all because I couldn’t settle on something and thought the cause was lost. I had stressed and stewed about the decision for the majority of the year, and so I decided to take the summer off and deal with this monstrous decision at the beginning of this year, so I could thoroughly enjoy my summer. As the months passed by, I let the thought process sit, and eventually forgot about it altogether.

When the school year came, I was more than ready to tackle this decision and figure out how my years would be spent. My mind-set going into the year was: I’m going to use all my resources to figure out what I’m good at and what I like to learn about. And let me tell you, Hope has more resources to help a person out in this department than I knew what to do with! I had countless meetings with my Academic Adviser (needless to say, her and I are good friends now), and Amy over at Career Development? We also became very, VERY good friends.

A few other things that helped me think through this decision, besides my Advisor and the wonderful people at Career Development, were talking to people from the departments I was interested in. I was lucky because my Advisor was in the English Department, so I could talk to her about any questions that I had, but I also talked to numerous people in other programs I was thinking about, such as the Art Department and the Management Department. Just talking with professors in different departments and asking them any questions you might have really helps to sort your thoughts and see if that department is somewhere you’d be happy learning. The second thing that helped me and really got me off to a good start of learning where I wanted to go was the Strengths Quest (provided through Career Development). The strengths quest is an online test you take to see what kinds of attributes you have. For example, my Strengths quest showed that I had strong relationship-building skills. Even though my strengths didn’t determine my major, they definitely gave me good direction with which to start my journey of finding my major.

Even though my major is decided, I still don’t know what I want to do career-wise, and my advice to ANYONE (not just freshmen) is that that’s okay, you don’t have to know! I used to think that everyone in college knew what they were doing after they graduated, but it turns out in talking to almost everyone, that the job or field of work they are in now is completely different than what their major was. I love that. It really does make the possibilities of what a person can do with their life endless.

So for those of you stressing out about what your major will be or what job you’ll get once you’ve graduated, stop all your worrying! There are people and resources here at Hope that will help you through whatever decisions you need to make. They are more than willing to do so. And you’ll find your place in the world, just like everyone else has. Don’t worry. You’ve got time.

If you have any questions about how you can explore your major and career options, visit http://www.hope.edu/student/career/about.html You won’t be disappointed!

Until next time!


The Crazy Weeks Are Upon Us

You betcha. Crazy weeks are upon us here at Hope, but I’m sure they’re at your high schools, too. For some, it may be your spring break, and for others, this is the homestretch. If you’re on spring break, be sure to take advantage of your relaxing time. After spring break, everything is going to happen FAST.

This week has been hectic to say the least, and unfortunately, the remaining weeks look the same. But it’s okay, the days may seem like they drag on, but the weeks will fly by. That’s usually what happens (I sure hope that happens!) For me, the next few weeks might be stressful and hectic, but I have something to look forward to afterwards that make it so worth it, EUROPE! That’s all I can think about, EUROPE EUROPE EUROPE. Only 39 more days. I merely cannot wait.

In the present moment, this week has been packed. Monday and Tuesday were clinical days. Tuesday afternoon, I conducted interviews with my fellow directors for SAC next year! It was so exciting to get interviews rolling! Wednesday, I had class from 8:30 a.m. until around 4:00 p.m. I had some time to relax before TAing for a nursing lab. From Monday-Wednesday, I also studied for my first Adult Nursing Theory exam. Thursday, I woke up early to conduct more interviews, followed by an exam, lecture, and more interviews. And today, my day was packed with interviews from 10a-5:30p. I know that it may not seem a lot in words, but living that life was just stressful. But now, I am so glad I can chill for a little bit. This weekend is going to be a precursor to my next week, which is as intense. If not, MORE CRAZY!

Here is a prelude to next week: 2 exams, 2 nursing process worksheets and nursing care plans (you have no idea, these take a solid 8 hours for quality), 1 research critique, study guide questions, meetings on meetings, and I have to fit in sleep somewhere. To prevent stress and being overwhelmed, I am mapping out my weekly plan. Yes, I do use my planner, but this next week, my planner simply cannot handle my workload.

Before I finish, a couple of exciting things happened that ended my week well; SAC interviews are complete, and my leadership team will be making decisions soon! AND My flights to Rome and Prague have been booked for this summer so I AM PUMPED! Alright, that’s all for now, but look forward to “Dear Abby #3!”

The Nursing Major

I’m not trying to be biased or anything, but the Nursing Major at Hope College is one of the most rigorous majors, and it is very competitive. It is awesome in this aspect because it provides a structured class schedule so you’re all set with a four year plan. In this blog, I’m going to describe the application process!!

Typically, students apply their 1st semester of their freshman year. There are many requirements that you need to fulfill in the first semester, so it is important to do your homework, get help when you need it, and study, study, study. It is so important to maintain your GPA and keep up with your classes. Why? Because it only gets harder from there. Here is a sample of what a four-year plan would look like for a nursing major:


So once you’re in the right classes, and keeping up with the grades, it’s time to fill that application out. Make sure you are professional when doing so! You’ll also need references. This is such an important part to your application. Make sure your references are someone you know, and know well. Get connected with your professors as well, because you’ll need a faculty reference! After first semester is done, make sure you have turned in your application. The sooner you can turn it in, the better. But come spring semester, you will need to take the TEAS exam. This exam measures you academic abilities in general. It’s ok, don’t fret, just try your hardest because it’s important that you do.

THEN, before or after spring break, you’ll find out the news. This was probably the most nerve-wracking part of my life (over-exaggerating, of course). If you don’t get accepted, don’t give up. Continue with your studies, and re-apply in the fall. Make sure you keep up, that’s the best advice I can give.


Ok, so you’re in high school, and you know your calling is nursing, what do you do? YOU CAN APPLY! But first, you must apply to Hope College and get accepted. Once you do this, apply to the nursing program ASAP! You have to have an ACT score of 28, or an SAT critical reading score plus math score equal to or greater than 1260. Then, when you come to Hope, you’ll be a pre-accepted student!

Have any more questions? CLICK HERE to learn more about the program. I highly suggest you read it. It’s full of information! And if you have any questions for me, tweet it up! CLICK HERE. Follow me while you’re at it 😉

Thanks again for your attention all, and I’m looking forward to answering your questions!