Self portrait created entirely from typography for a graphic design course
Self-portrait using typorgraphy. From my graphic design course this semester.

Minor Courses, Major Results

I love being a print communication major. I enjoy writing for my internships, my classes, and my thesis. I don’t mind spending long nights working on an essay, as long as the end product is something that I’m proud of.

But I won’t sugarcoat it for you: It’s a lot of work.

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That’s why I decided to pick up a studio art minor with a concentration in graphic design. When I started at Arcadia, choosing a major was a toss-up between my two great loves: writing and art. Luckily, I didn’t have to totally abandon one for the other. Combining a writing major with a design minor allowed me to explore both passions almost equally.

Now, you might be thinking: How does adding more courses relieve you when you’re swamped with writing assignments? Don’t you have a life, Jen?

These tasks help me to think clearly in my major, encourage me to step back from assignments, and allow me to develop a fresh perspective before returning to my writing.

The thing is, my minor is extremely therapeutic. Whether I’m poring over a typography project, carving a linoleum print, or sketching a still life, I find the stress that builds up throughout the semester melting away. In high-pressure situations, I had always managed my anxiety by focusing on details and exploring art forms. Now, these tasks help me to think clearly in my major, encourage me to step back from
assignments, and allow me to develop a fresh perspective before returning to my writing.

To put it plainly: Having an art minor is both fun and helpful. I sometimes forget that it’s part of my degree, and not just a hobby that keeps me pajama-clad and locked in my room for hours every Sunday.

What’s more is that, as I creep toward the midway point in my thesis project, having a graphic design minor has become crucial. While the writing portion will be shaped by my print communication studies, the layout of my magazine is entirely dependent on what I’ve learned in my art classes. This is my first taste of what it might be like to design for a living, which is a defining moment in my academic experience and an opportunity to establish marketable skills for future employment.

If you’re anything like me, making decisions isn’t fun. For Valentine’s Day, I gave my boyfriend a box of paper slips with restaurant names written on them because I can never pick where to go out to eat. So you can imagine the stress I endured throughout my freshman year, when I had to make big moves like choosing a major.

But being caught between two or more choices isn’t a bad thing. College is the time to test things out, and a minor is the perfect way to do that. Committing to a major for practical reasons like job opportunities or potential salary does not prevent you from venturing down other academic paths that interest you.

And don’t worry: You will still have a life.