Section: Opinion

Lack of academic minors inhibits intellectual fulfillment

As a liberal arts Institution, Kenyon should strive to offer more academic options.

Declaring an area of study is a pivotal moment of one’s college career. Number of majors, due to feasibility, is normally restricted to two. I think this highlights the necessity for academic minors. But here at Kenyon, our choices for minors are quite limited.

I don’t think people realize the amount of work that’s necessary for a major until they arrive here. Our time on the Hill is limited, and we must take certain classes to be on our respective paths. However, the realities of requirements and the mechanics of logistics do not align with the unbounded enthusiasm and drive of the typical Kenyon student. We want to do everything: from double majoring to studying abroad.

Double majoring is difficult, time consuming, and often discouraged by academic advisors, namely because it entails two sets of senior exercises.

I think Kenyon would better serve its students by increasing the numbers of minors, because it may reduce the number of double majors. Minors will accommodate a student’s academic curiosity in a subject that might be secondary in terms of interest to us, while still preparing students for professional aspirations.

Some may argue that adding minors will allow more people who aren’t as committed as those in the major to take up seats in classes making registration more competitive.

With visits to the Registrar and the need to restructure one’s schedule, minoring is still a commitment. Only those who truly want this other specialty (albeit less than their major) will make the effort to attain it.

Increasing the number of academic minors may also allow students to satisfy prerequisites for advanced degrees they’re hoping to pursue after college. If a minor can fill requirements for this process (e.g. pre-med classes) during their time at Kenyon, this saves time and money. It’s possible to spend a year post-grad preparing for an application process, but why not get it all done in one go?

Similarly, taking a variety of classes instead of minoring (because there isn’t a minor available) might not be enough. Perhaps someone wants to study English but would like to apply to business school — a minor in Economics might make this transition smoother, and they may stand out more on an application.

A minor isn’t an overbearing commitment. Someone with a major and a minor (or maybe even two) can still explore the breadth and depth of departments here at Kenyon. This student will still reap the benefits of a liberal arts education.

However, your time at Kenyon shouldn’t be measured by your majors and minors. After all, poet William Carlos Williams isn’t just remembered for having studied medicine.

Eve Bromberg ’19 is a Philosophy major from Brooklyn, N.Y. Contact her at bromberge@kenyon.edu.

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