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Dartmouth College, as you probably know, is an institution with a liberal arts curriculum; so, you're able to explore your options for quite a bit before you secure a dedicated major. Many other schools don't, which is why I believe this is Dartmouth's advantage! During your fifth term at Dartmouth, most likely the winter term of Sophomore year, you'll declare your major. I personally had around 5-6 major options, ranging from Studio Art to Sociology, before I made a concrete decision. I wanted to take you through the process!

  1. First-year fall - Anthropology modified with Biology

First-year fall, I enrolled in ANTH 6 - Introduction to Biological Anthropology, which gave insight into how a humanities field can perfectly harmonize with a STEM field. I delved into primate evolution, ecology, and ape/monkey species; I found the subject extremely fascinating to a point where I wanted to major in Anthropology but modify it with Biology. Now, what is a "modified" major? At Dartmouth, you can "modify" a major from one department with another department. I've seen students modify Studio Art with Biology or Engineering with Economics. If you're interested in Anthropology and you want to modify it with let's say Sociology, you can choose to use Anthropology as the "primary" or "secondary" department—leading to Anthropology modified with Sociology or Sociology modified with Anthropology. 

At this point, I was quite settled on the major of Anthropology modified with Biology because the "best of both worlds" mindset took over. I was excited to see where this journey would take me!

  1. First-year spring - Biology 

First-year winter was a quick one; I personally took many non-major courses for Dartmouth's distributive requirement and didn't further sharpen my major interests. Then, during spring, I enrolled in BIOL 12 - Cell Structure and Function. The class was huge on rote memorization, which I enjoyed. Since it had been some time since I took an Anthropology course, I thought a solo Biology major would be better-fitting for my interests. Oh boy, was I wrong. 

  1. Sophomore fall - Double major in Biological Chemistry and Sociology

Sophomore fall was when I began to take more specialized classes. I took SOCY 48 - Immigration, Race, and Ethnicity, where I learned interesting concepts like ethnic enclaves, forced migration, and U.S. economic disparities. I found this once again so interesting! I thought Sociology was a perfect major to double up with a STEM major, because I wanted to learn extensively about both fields. Biology was too much memorization at this point for me; freshman summer BIOL 13 - Gene Expression and Inheritance wasn't what I was looking for. But, CHEM 51 - Organic Chemistry 1 interested me significantly during fall. I loved studying for it, and I knew I enjoyed Chemistry more than Biology, which led me to choosing Biological Chemistry as my major at the end of fall term. 

  1. Sophomore winter - Biomedical Engineering

This term, I decided to take ENGS 20 - Introduction to Scientific Computing. This is my very first coding class—honestly something I feared a bit. But, now, I think taking this class was the best decision I've made. I enjoy the assignments, collaboration, and projects; I'm excited to see what my future coding courses will be like! So, I realized my final destination is Biomedical Engineering. I officially declared it last week. 

P.S. You can re-declare/change your major any time if you have the time to fulfill the requirements.

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