DOUBLE majoring in two or even three fields is popular among Cambodian students. Blimey, how impressive it sounds! They spend the morning at one university and spend the afternoon or evening at another. They are studying to become an expert in two fields, and more importantly, after four years, they receive two degrees with their lovely faces adorning the certificates, to hang on their wall. The new graduates think they are qualified to work in both fields.
This, I believe, is a mistake. Of course, many may detest my opinion, but if everyone had the same opinion, war and conflict would not happen, would it? I myself studied TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and International Studies during my four years after high school.
Oh my gosh! I am almost trembling whenever I recall my ordeal at that time. Can you imagine having to submit six projects to your professors in a single week? Burning the midnight oil for three tests the next day? And even worse, sitting two final exams simultaneously? Many students are just like me, and I know many who did great in both majors, but I have also met not so few who failed in one or both majors. Certainly, not everyone can be a polymath like Albert Einstein or a multi-genius like Leonardo Da Vinci.
So why did I decide to double major in the first place? One of the answers is peer pressure. Fresh off high school, I did not have much experience in real life. If everyone is doing it, why am I not? Another reason was my concern that a single degree doesn’t help me get a job after graduation. This, I found out later, was another misconception.
It was not until a year after graduation, that I realised college life should not be about reading books, browsing the Internet or submitting papers on time. Instead, it should be about accumulating skills and building up a network and experience necessary for the modern workplace, especially those things not being taught at universities.
An example? How about negotiating with your employees? Or from whom do you seek advice when you encounter challenges in your job? Once I went out there to look for a job, I realised that I was not prepared because I didn’t have… time.
The point is that you should invest your resources, reserved for dual degrees, on these skills and hands-on experience.
In addition, I am neither teaching English nor working as a diplomat now. I am working as a journalist and a writer and doing quite well at what I am passionate about. Yet, the “me” today is the result of a fresh start after college. I wish I had applied for the school of media instead of working on two degrees, certificates of which I was not even asked for in job interviews. I wish I had spent time on running my blog or writing part-time to prepare for my dream job. Passion should be prioritised when it comes to deciding on your career. But be careful! Being passionate about something does not mean you don’t suck at it.
I also regret not spending much time with my dear friends in college. I, instead, was studying so hard to earn better scores than them. Very few of them still hang out with me. Don’t make the same mistake. College should not be the time for making rivals but finding friends for life.
* Taing Rinith, 25, is a feature and travel writer with Youth Today and Good Times2. A bit of old-fashioned, he is into human interest and historical stories.
This article is his own opinion and does not reflect expressed policies of Youth Today. If you have anything to express, email your view to: [email protected]