By the time I hit college, I’d taken a bunch of journalism classes, worked on the school paper and covered sports for the local newspaper for the last year. I was going to be a journalism major and I was thrilled.
The same time I was getting to college, TCNJ was revamping their program planners – aka, the sheets that tell you what classes you need to graduate. Most majors had them pretty much sorted out by the time we got there or shortly after. Journalism was the exception – halfway through sophomore year they' still hadn’t nailed down what we should be taking.
I had been concentrating on general education courses and classes I knew couldn’t get pulled from the curriculum (Journalism 101!) but I was starting to panic. The root of it was simple: I needed to graduate in four years. Paying for another year of school just wasn’t an option.
So, I sat down with a list of all the classes I’d already taken and history was the only subject that I’d already done multiple classes for and, thus, would be easiest to pick up as a second major.
So, why don’t I usually tell people this? Because it’s usually followed up with, “What was your concentration in?”. Because most historians have some time period or country or something they dedicate themselves too. I didn’t.
Journalism was such a small group (14 for my graduating class) that once they nailed down what classes we needed to take, most were only offered once a year. Which meant, of course, that those took priority.
My history classes were picked solely around what was most convenient relative to my journalism classes. Which meant that my choices were all over the board: Tourism and the Construction of American Identity, The History of Modern Witchcraft, Late Imperial China, Economies in Latin America, Women in Pre-Modern India.
None of which are topics that people generally bring up at parties or come up much in trivia games. If you ever want to know about the early days of the National Parks, though, I’m your girl.