Starting out as a college student and choosing your major may seem daunting. You've been taught that this is your opportunity to decide what you want to do with your entire life. Understandably, that's scary.

Your major shouldn't be the “end-all, be-all” of your education though. For one, there's a reason why we have general education requirements and electives. That's also why clubs on campus are a great opportunity to expand your learning horizons, as well as your experience. Another credible opportunity to do this is with a minor.

Now you have two options with your minor—you can choose something that goes with your major, or you can choose something completely different. If you're lucky, you can find something that's a bit of both.

If you choose something that goes with your major, it can give you a speciality focus. This is helpful for you when you are advancing your career. For example, if you are an Environmental Sciences major, perhaps a good minor for you at UMass Boston would be the Clean Energy and Sustainability minor. Having that on your resume shows employers a specific area of interest and focus within your studies. Another example, if you want to be a writer, might be to major in English and minor in Creative Writing. Both options allow you to add more nuance and direction into your studies and academic career.

If you want to go for something entirely different, there's the option of choosing a fun minor. Perhaps you were a passionate dancer for years, but decided against pursuing it as a major. Minoring in Dance, even if you're majoring in Computer Science, allows you to keep that dream alive. This also might allow you to pursue interests that didn't feel steady enough to devote the time and money into as a major. 

Perhaps you'll even find an opportunity based off of your minor. In the example I gave, maybe that person could pick up teaching dance classes at the YMCA as a part-time gig, or while trying to find a full-time computer science job. It allows you more options, while including another topic you love.

Lastly, you can choose something that's a bit of both. I'm a good example of this. I'm a Communication major, because I love that area of study and that's where I want to, not only work, but have a career in. However, I also have always been interested in topics of feminism, activism, sociology, etc. My ideal job would be working for an organization that helps others. 

Combining those interests, I decided to minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. I am not certain that I will become involved with an organization focused on women, feminism, or LGBTQ individuals, but this gives me a background in that area of study in case the opportunity does arise. If I were to one day apply for a public relations position with a group such as the Human Rights Campaign, for example, my minor could be helpful for me on my resume and in practice.

There are many ways and reasons to choose a minor. If you want a minor, and you feel that you have the proper time availability, money, energy, etc. to achieve one, then you should consider what your options are. Talk to your advisor, look into your own interests, look into what others in your field have studied, and see what you may have already taken classes in.

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