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Fátima shares her experience triple-minoring, and how you can do it too!

Fátima shares her experience triple-minoring, and how you can do it too!

Though I don’t have the raw data, if I had to take a guess, I would say that somewhere around two-thirds of Carleton students declare at least one field of study in addition to their major. The vast majority of these probably declare a minor, perhaps two… or, if you are an ambitious (and, admittedly, kind of crazy) Carl, like me, you might even declare three!

That’s right, I am a triple-minor! In addition to being a Sociology/Anthropology major, I have declared minors in Cross-Cultural Studies, Educational Studies, and Latin American Studies. A lot of people are a little surprised when they find out that I have so many titles under my name, many hadn’t even realized that triple-minoring was an option, and some (if not most) of them probably think that I either have tirelessly worked towards my degrees from the moment I stepped on campus and have no academic life outside these or that I will eventually be unable to complete all of them. Nothing farther from the truth! Allow me to demystify the process and experience of triple-minoring, and hopefully inspire you to give it a try too!

Students and professor smile for the camera in a Willis Hall classroom with individual desks.
My Educational Psychology classmates! This is one of the best classroom communities that I have been a part of at Carleton.

Deciding to Triple-Minor

A common and fair assumption people make when I introduce myself as a triple-minor is that I have been planning to do so since I was a first-year student. The truth is that, while I have been thinking about some of my minors for quite a while, I hadn’t seriously considered pursuing them until rather late in the game.

The first minor I settled on was Educational Studies. I have always known that I am interested in pedagogy, so this was kind of a no-brainer for me. Cross-Cultural Studies came along when I was taking I’m a Stranger Here Myself during my freshman winter term. It was around that time that I learned how valuable it was for me to reflect on my own cross-cultural experiences academically. Taking a look at the requirements, I realized that completing the minor would be super easy, given how much overlap it had with my other academic interests, so I decided to pursue it.

The Latin American Studies minor didn’t join the conversation until much later (a year later, to be precise). During my sophomore year, I took two LATM classes, one about Hispanic literature and one about Hispanic immigration to the U.S., and I grew fond of the intellectual debates that were centered around my corner of the world. Devoted to the academic exploration of Latin America, I decided to declare the minor shortly after.

Why Not Major?

Student smiles next to a piano.
Something important to me is having the space in my schedule to explore other intellectual interests, including learning how to play the piano!

I get often asked why I didn’t simply pursue a double major. There are several reasons my path led me to a single major, the most important one being that Cross-Cultural Studies and Educational Studies are only offered as minors at Carleton. Latin American Studies has the option of declaring it as a major, but in doing so I would have had to work harder to fulfill the requirements for all four academic fields, which would have meant less time to spend trying out other subjects. Namely, this would have prevented me from going abroad a second time, which I will do this coming spring term! 

Pursuing the Latin American Studies major would have also meant that I would have had to take more literature courses in Spanish and, as a senior, write two COMPS (our senior thesis for our majors). Although I love my language and its literature, I do not particularly enjoy literary analysis, so taking more classes in that area made little sense to me. As for double-compsing, while this is a fairly common and doable practice at Carleton, it didn’t feel right for me. I care about pouring my entire self into my COMPS project, and the logistics of that would have been significantly troubled had I had to plan for two of these exercises instead of one. 

Why Minor?

Another common reaction to my triple-minoring is the question of why minoring at all. Our Liberal Arts curriculum allows us to take courses in any department of our choice, regardless of whether we are officially involved through a major or a minor. So, couldn’t I have just taken the classes without declaring the minors? The short answer to that is: absolutely! 

The longer answer is that knowing that I wanted to take the courses, why not declare the minor? Sure, it looks nice on my transcript, but more than that, I believe in the value of being part of an intellectual community and establishing relationships with my professors, both things which are made easier by declaring the minor.

Screenshot of a spreadsheet that keeps track of courses.
I have kept this spreadsheet since my first year, and it has helped me immensely to visualize my progress and plan out the courses I need to take in the future.

Triple-Minoring in Practice

There is no secret to completing a triple minor in time for graduation. I feel lucky to have academic interests that intersect each other as much as my majors and my minors do. Their overlap has certainly made it easier for me to structure my courses, plan out my terms, and fulfill the requirements. Maintaining good and constant communication with my advisors and professors has also certainly helped. Ultimately, I think if you are truly in love with your minors and feel committed to them, nothing is stopping you from getting them!

As a junior, Fátima (she/her) is excited to continue her pursuit of a SOAN major and (hopefully!) Educational Studies, Latin American Studies, and Cross-cultural Studies minors. Outside class, she enjoys her leadership roles with Fellowship in Christ and the Undergraduate Journal for Humanistic Studies. In her free time, Fátima likes spending time with her mentee, poorly playing the piano, watching cartoons, and desperately missing her dog, Cosmo. Meet the other bloggers!