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Student view: Choosing a JMC major

January 23, 2023 - Alexa Wagner

Alexa Wagner is a first-year student in James Madison College. She is active in JMC Student Senate.

Alexa Wagner

August 27th I moved into Case Hall, excited to meet my roommate, decorate my room and find new friends on my floor. Typical for an incoming freshman. I knew that in less than a week I was going to start the next chapter of my life — a very exciting one. I got to choose my own classes based on my interests and didn’t have to take back-to-back classes for hours. I was excited to be in JMC, but I didn’t fully know what that meant, aside from the fact that I chose to submerse myself in social science.

I knew I was interested in politics, so I thought I’d major in Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy (PTCD). Political theory and structures of government felt crucial for me to learn, but after syllabus week ended and my classes began to dive deeper into the course material, I became aware of how little I knew about PTCD and the other majors. Most of my peers admitted that they had no idea what major they were interested in, and they would let the next semester of the entry-level MC 201 and MC 111 classes help them make a decision.

So, classes continued, and I began to connect the material in my Madison classes to the different majors. I also made my way into extracurriculars and joined JMC Student Senate where I received the most help. I was able to talk to people belonging to every major with some even double majoring. They provided highlights and what they most enjoyed, which allowed me to see that my interests are not limited to PTCD.

Reading “The Sum of Us,” by Heather McGhee, a book about systemic racism and how government policies are affecting minorities across the United States, has made an impact on me as I come to understand what I am passionate about. The issues we tackled relates to the curriculum in Social Relations and Politics (SRP) and has helped me realize I want to pursue SRP.

Figuring out which major to declare can be challenging, but there are people, classes and programs to help students make an informed decision. I’m excited to be majoring in PTCD and SRP in order to pursue my passion and to explore every facet of domestic policy.

Still unsure about the majors? Attend Meet the Majors on Jan. 25, 30, 31 and Feb. 1. Each session focuses on one of the four distinctive majors in James Madison College. See the Events page for details.