Macy Lee is an incoming sophomore this Fall at the University of California, Davis. She is double majoring in psychology and international relations with interest in pursuing a career in the United Nations specializing in mental health-related work. She is focusing her studies in social and developmental psychology as well as a human right focus on her international relations degree.
Before I entered college, I was interested in studying so many things. I knew that pursuing a double major was right for me. I chose psychology and international relations because I am personally passionate about mental health and politics! I talked to my parents, friends, and college advisors about venturing into a double major. They all told me it was not easy and that I had to work hard for it. There are many requirements to fulfil and subjects to study. It intimidated me, but I chose to go for it. If you are interested in pursuing a double major as well, consider it! Do not be afraid to challenge yourself. If you are passionate about many things and would not mind taking up a bit more workload, do it. As a freshman, I had to do a lot of prerequisites, but it was worth it, and I was able to become an open-minded person because of it.
I recently just finished my freshman year at UC Davis. I had the most fantastic experience! I am so grateful to be in such an amazing college environment that has helped me grow to become a student and person. I was able to meet so many wonderful people, explore different parts of California, and ultimately learned more about myself.
Here are some of the biggest takeaways from my freshman year, as well as bits of advice to students venturing into double major degrees like I am:
Consult, Plan, Schedule (x3!!!)
Your college counsellors and major advisors are there for a reason! They are there to help and guide you, so do not ever be afraid to ask for help. Take time to tell them your vision and what you want for yourself. Tell them what you are interested in and what major or minor best fits that. Ask them the recommended number of units one takes considering your major and standing in university. Remember to keep an open mind when they give you their advice. Take them into consideration! They are very experienced in this field and have been helping students for years.
After consulting, plan your university life and schedule for your semester or quarter. What subjects are needed for my major? Do I have extra space for general classes I need to take? When can I take these other subjects that I am also interested in? Remember that when planning, you need to prioritize. What do I need to do/put first? When can I save other things for later? Always ask yourself these questions when planning. Think about these! They are important.
Lastly, schedule things and make it happen! Make a daily, weekly, and monthly schedule. These help me a lot. It enables you to take baby steps each day but also helps you look at the bigger picture. Tools I like using for these include my daily planner for my daily checklists and Google calendar for a monthly overview of how my life is going.
Move, Study, Move, Study, Move Again!
One thing I find useful is studying in different places. When I stay in one place and study/work there all the time, I somehow get unmotivated and tired quickly. When going into your daily grind, be sure to change up your environment! UC Davis is the largest UC campus, so I was always in different study spots. Sometimes I study in our dorm’s lounge, move to the library, or memorial union. Unique study spots help you work faster but more efficiently at the same time. New environments also inspire and motivate you. They also help you with generating new ideas when working on a paper or project!
Maximize, Seize the Day, Do More
When you are a double major, make sure to maximize all your academic and non-academic opportunities. Make sure you have a balance between work and play, as well as making sure that your mental, physical, and emotional health is in check.
You must prioritize being a student first, but never ever forget that you’re also in college to have fun and socialize with others! Make friends, take breaks, and get a day off on your weekend! When you find the time in your schedule where you do not have a load of exams or papers due on a specific day, find a social event near you. Interact with others, form friendships. You can also make friends from classes or through study groups too.
Make sure that you take time for yourself to exercise, go on walks, and anything that helps improve your mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. Make sure to use mental health resources available in your campus, or talk to a trusted friend, adult, or family member. Some of the things that help me personally are talking with my parents at least once a week to update my family on how I am doing. By talking to my family, I also get to process all my experiences properly in college – both good and evil; that helps me reflect on how I am growing as a person. I also like going on long bike rides to think about the future I have or what I need to personally improve on. I must admit that I did gain a lot of weight in my first quarter of college. I always binge ate on carbohydrates. Make sure to check up on your body and make sure you are eating healthy!
If anything, this might be the most essential piece of advice! Make sure to maximize and check up on yourself. But remember to also pause and take many breaks now and then. Burnouts in college are quite common.
Be kind to yourself! Learn the art of self-compassion.
Save Your Energy for Important Things Only!
This is self-explanatory: do not waste your time on unsubstantial things or people! College is a place of discovery, but there is a fine line between acting on curiosity between forcing yourself to do unnecessary things.
If you do not like something or someone, do not pursue it. It is as simple as that. Be very straightforward with yourself, and do not be guilty of not vibing with something. Channel your energy on things you genuinely care about and things that you believe will make you better. Do not waste your time. Use your time for something that will make you joyful, productive, or more loving.
I know this is not easy to do, and as humans, we have our tendency to “waste” our time. And that is okay! Learn from your mistakes, move on, and try not to do it again.
Be Kind & Stay Motivated. Slow and Steady Wins the Race!
At the end of the day, be a kind person to yourself and everyone around you. Keep your goal in mind along the way and stay motivated. Think of the big picture but take baby steps every day. And remind yourself that slow and steady wins the race. Look at your own unique path in life and your definition of success. Do not compare or look at other people’s progress because your journey is different from everyone else’s. Lastly, enjoy the ride! College is meant to be enjoyed. It is one of the best years of your life, and it is just beginning.
More About Macy Lee
As a freshman in Davis, Macy Lee was able to complete 20+ units each quarter (with 27 units in her spring quarter!) and has a projected senior standing by her sophomore year with around 80 units completed just by the end of the summer session of her freshman year. Aside from attaining a UC GPA of 3.9, she is also an active speaker, writer, activist, and Youtuber. In her sophomore year of high school, she founded her own mental health non-profit organization which now has a global network with youth involvement present in over 10 countries with around 500+ members – and counting. Here, Macy shares with Higher Education Digest her college experience and advice, as well as why she thinks anyone can venture into a double major if they want to.