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Graduation forces double majors to make a decision

By Jenifer Nicks
On February 27, 2013

As I'm staring down my fast approaching graduation, I admit one particular subject is irritating me more and more. They won't let me walk with two degrees.

I'm a double major in Communications and History, so I will have earned a B.S. in both of them. Now I'm told that I'll have to pick one to walk for when graduation comes. Why? Why do I have to pick between them?

I am being asked to pick between the two, all the while with no clear answer of why I have to. My soul is made up of many parts and all of them are essential to my being. Asking me which part is more necessary is like asking me which eyeball I would like to keep; the answer to both questions is both of them, thank you. The majors I picked taught me different things about myself, the world and how all of this works. All of that is a part of me now and I dislike being forced to disown part of it, even if for just two or three hours.

My History major side is the one that taught me to see big picture, to realize the effects and implications any one action can have on the whole. This is the side that reminds me that some things must end for others to begin. Life endures. My Communications major side is what gives me purpose. It's what I love to do, what I was meant to do. Language is what gives my soul the space to breathe. It's where I found my voice. The written word is where I can say what I tell no other living being. I cannot describe the delight a cleverly worded phrase brings me. It compels me to write, while the History major in me gives me something to write about.

While writing this, I suddenly realize that I'm more upset than I thought I was. The whole purpose of a commencement ceremony is to come together to celebrate the graduates' accomplishments. In my case, I can only celebrate one. If it were left up to me, I would rather not walk, but just take my degrees and go home, because I earned them for me and only me. But I have family who are genuinely proud of me and want to see me in the cap and gown. I'm walking for them.
And that's why I'm not happy with this. A graduation ceremony is an announcement to the world. Let's announce the whole story. I already know what I've done; I was there. Other people don't; so tell them.

It's irritating because I earned both degrees and I want people to know. All you have to do is mention them both and I'm happy. I only want to walk once.
I have a very simple solution: just mention both degrees. Say it as we walk across the stage and list both in the programs. No need to walk twice, no need to make a spectacle. Yes, the ceremony might be a little longer, but then it will actually do what it is meant to do. If time is really an issue, just leave out the speeches no one pays attention to.

It seems like such a stupid thing to get upset over, really. It's just that I worked so hard and had to jump through so many hoops between being a transfer student and a double major. I am fiercely proud of how far I've come and all the work I've done. So please, just please, let me have both.

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