Explore Outside of Your Major

Author: Hugo Muñoz Ríos


Your passion is strictly correlated to the major you will end up choosing. I love economics and working with data is something that has always caught my attention. However, by no means is this the only scholarly subject that is appealing to me. Many of my friends and I have picked up different minors, or even second majors, which are a fantastic way to become well-versed in a certain topic of interest.

Sometimes we are just curious about one particular class or professor and not necessarily pursuing a supplementary degree. This is something that liberal arts education embraces throughly; Notre Dame will push you to take literature, philosophy, and theology regardless of your particular major or college. This is a great tool to take an intro class in something one has always wanted to know more about, but due to time or level restrictions, it might not be enough exploration. 

That is why we have the opportunity to take pass/fail classes. Sometimes it's way easier to enjoy a class and the readings if we reduce the accountability for the grade. Just ask yourself, do you have more fun reading books you picked on your own during the summer or books that were assigned to you in class? 


A pass/fail course is very much like that. It doesn’t count toward your GPA. So no matter how little you may know about the topic, or how hard the class is, you will find yourself cruising through the readings and carefully listening to the professor for pure enjoyment. 

Coming from Chile, I have always been interested in the neighboring Pacific Islands (look at the picture—that's in Chile!). So this semester I decided to sign up for “Tales of the South Pacific." This was my first time taking a class in the Anthropology Department and to be honest my knowledge of it consisted of the first paragraph you find when you read its Wikipedia page. Naturally, I would not have taken the class if I knew it was going to be detrimental to my grades, but with the only “pressure” being having to pass, I could forget about studying for the test, and start studying for me instead. 

I wish I knew about this type of resource last year. All juniors and seniors are allowed to take a pass/fail class once a semester, and a lot of people don’t really know about these types of chances to learn something fun and expand their horizons. In the modern world, interdisciplinary knowledge is crucial to not only impress your date, but to be a holistic and active citizen of the world. 

Hopefully, once you get to Notre Dame, you'll consider taking different types of classes across fields and take advantage of how much fun it is to really learn without thinking about how to answer on a scantron