Portraits of an English Double Major: Carter Smith

Portraits of an English Double Major: Carter Smith

As an English major, there is an immense amount of insight to be gained from the Clemson English curriculum. Still, some students decide to take their academic careers further by applying the ideas they learn from their English courses to another field of study. Double majoring is no easy feat, but with the various tracks within the English department, pairing the major with another can lead to excellent opportunities in the future. Often we find students who double major have a competitive advantage in the job marketplace—my interviewees were no exception.

My interviews with three exceptional double majors have shown the advantages of a double major with English, including: exposure to different opportunities and learning experiences, analytical skills of English applied to other fields, and overall balance and well-roundness of students. The English major isn’t just one dimensional; it’s versatile. Carter Smith, Hannah Pearson, and Maggie Testani  discuss why they decided to double major and their experiences as well as takeaways from their involvement in both majors. These students have surmounted the challenges that come with an English double major and share their educational experiences.

In a three-part series, here’s our first student spotlight:

Majors: English & Communication Studies

Year: Sophomore

Hometown:  Columbia, SC

Contact: css4@g.clemson.edu

Why did you choose to double major?

Coming to Clemson with several AP credits, I was on track to graduate in three years. Wanting to have the full four-year college experience, I decided to take on two majors. Not only would this create a full four-year schedule for me, but also grant me the opportunity to study two fields of interest, in addition to making me a stronger applicant for jobs and graduate programs.

What made you interested in an English major?

I’ve always had an interest in writing. When choosing a major for college, I wanted to do something that provided a strong foundation for writing skills, so I initially chose Communication Studies. I ultimately decided to add on an English major because I wanted to develop better critical thinking and writing skills. 

 And your second major?

My second major is Communication Studies. As mentioned before, this was the major I had when I came into Clemson. I chose communication because it is a broad field and there is a lot you can do with it. I like that it’s centered around verbal, written, and visual communication skills which also tied in my interest with PR and writing.

What classes have you taken so far that you believe intertwined these two majors well?

As I’ve just entered my sophomore year, I would say that there is a general overlap. In English classes, through talking about form and meaning of a particular piece, I can understand it through both a communication and English lens. The message and what the author is trying to convey through their choice of medium is easier to understand compared to solely examining a piece in a more English oriented way. At the end of the day, what stands out to me most about my double major is how it enables me to look at different pieces of literature and media in a multifaceted way.

In what ways do these majors complement each other?

English grants you the ability to be someone who is more articulate and a better critical thinker, while communication teaches you how to implement these skills in your personal and professional life.

What opportunities does this double major give you?

I want to think that it gives me a leg up in professional development. Through exposing me to the broader curriculum, I may enter the workforce with a different perspective and understanding.

Carter’s tip:

Double majoring is not for people who aren’t comfortable with a heavy workload, but if you have a keen interest in two different studies, I say you should go for it! If you love what you study, it will help you grow as a student and an individual.

Stay tuned for next issues’ student spotlight.


Written By: Brooke Tannehill


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