With an invitation to join the Phi Beta Kappa Society (the oldest academic honor society in the US), Gokul, an Indian undergraduate student at UIC Global, clearly has excelled in his bachelor’s degree studies. But his accomplishments are even more notable because his academic program is so ambitious: He is a triple major in psychology, biological sciences, and math/computer science at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC).
Gokul recently spoke to journalist Malini Menon of the Times of India about his study in the US journey.
Choosing a Triple Major at UIC
“It all started when I was in Birla Vidya Niketan, a high school in South Delhi,” Gokul said. “I had physics, chemistry, mathematics, and biology as my subjects, with a special interest in the field of biological sciences. It made sense for me to opt for it as my major when I got to the University of Illinois Chicago.”
After an “exploring phase” where he took classes in a variety of subjects, Gokul realized he also had an affinity for mathematics and psychology, and officially became a triple major.
Staying Organized and Focused
When asked what kind of schedule and research is needed for someone studying multiple subjects, Gokul recommended staying organized with a long-term plan.
“Multiple programs can get a bit hectic. It is advisable to research early,” he said. “Preferably, make a four-year plan for your courses by the first year. Stay accountable, as it is easy for the workload to pile up.”
Menon also wondered whether studying multiple options could lead to confusion – or whether it made an individual more well-rounded.
“Although majoring in multiple subjects does diversify your options, there is a lot of heavy lifting,” Gokul said. “Confusion is bound to creep in, and hence it would be wise to decide on the areas one is interested in before declaring an additional major.”
But if you know you want to pursue a career that covers multiple disciplines, multiple majors can help build one’s future, he noted.
“The end goal has to be an aspiration to do something in an integrative field which utilizes the concepts of the subjects you are majoring in,” Gokul said. “Otherwise doing more than one major would be a waste of time.”
Focus on Learning, Not GPA
University milestones are different from high school, Gokul said: “In high schools, we do not have the option of ‘dropping’ a subject. If you are majoring in distinct areas in college, you should be 100% sure about it. Getting marks is not a priority, and I would advise students to focus more on the learning and how they can apply the concepts learned in one subject to real-life applications in another subject.”
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*Times of India, published June 15, 2022