Current college fad: racking up double, triple, and even quadruple majors in order to impress future employers. This strategy is wrought with irony because, in effect, someone who has a triple major screams, “Don't hire me. I'll be a management disaster!”

My advice to all you triple majors is to dump the excessive course load and get a life. If you want to impress employers, use college as a time to demonstrate creativity, curiosity, quick learning and good social skills. Here's why:

A triple major exhibits no creativity. The most creative act is to choose a path for your life. College is an early opportunity to decide what you want to do with yourself, one course at a time. Cramming your schedule full of required courses for two or three majors is a rejection of creativity; in effect, you allow someone else to dictate your path for four years. Business visionaries set paths to goals that other people could never have thought of. Practice being a visionary in college by choosing a path no one else could choose.

A triple major is not for the intellectually curious. If you love learning then you will take whatever classes you want and you don't worry if they add up to another major. People who need their courses to add up to another major are people who are conditioned to learn only for an external reward. Employers need people who will be curious even after the grading system is over. In college learn for learning's sake, not for the department head's approval.

A triple major is for the timid. A broad education teaches you to learn diverse topics quickly. Practice learning something totally new by taking courses in each of the departments in your college rather than cowering in the safety of topics you're majoring in. Business requires a wide breadth of knowledge — writing, finance, technology, psychology, sociology. You can't learn every idea in school, but you can learn to pick up new ideas quickly.

Once you're committed to choosing just one major, stay away from business. In college you need to learn how to think broadly and critically. How you think is much more important than if you know how to map a brand strategy. You have your whole life to study business; college is your time for Shakespeare, Schopenhauer, and science experiments. In this new era of downtrodden, low-key CEOs, one CEO stands out for her star power: Carly Fiorina. And guess what her major was? English.

Finally, take some blow-off courses. You need time to develop social skills, because when it comes to business they cannot be stressed enough. Go to parties and make conversation with someone you didn't think you liked. Figure out how to like something about that person, because that's an important part of management— figuring out how to like even the most unlikable people. And stop by your professor's office hours. Don't have something to say? Make something up. Because that's what life will be like with your boss. Face time will be everything and you'll have to be savvy and strategic about how to get yourself in front of him and make him enjoy talking to you.

Learn how to make people like you. The smartest are not promoted. The most likeable are promoted. Dump the extra majors and use college as a time to learn about yourself. The more you understand yourself the better you will be able to relate to other people. That's what will really help you to succeed in business.

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  1. Johanna
    Johanna says:

    I have to say I think this is silly advice. I am planning on triple majoring at my university and, although it isn’t for everyone, I want to get the most “bang for my buck.” I knew what I wanted to do in college and went for it right off the bat; I’ve already completed one major and found I have enough time for two more. Why in the world would I decide not to? Why would I opt to squander my parents’ money by failing to challenge myself as much as possible? It is a priviledge to go to college. I want to maximize my time, energy, and work so that I get the MOST out of my experience.
    I’m a triple major in Classics, Political Science, and Philosophy. Each one teaches something different yet so related it’s hard to imagine my undergraduate work without these majors.
    Tripe majoring isn’t for everyone, but to say it’s not “creative” or for the timid seems frightfully unfair. If you are strong enough, organized enough, or just want it badly enough, I say go for it.

  2. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    I have to say that I really only want to comment because so many people want to defend their triple majors, and I want to point out that I am fowarding this article to a few friends of mine. I am a recent gradauate and only had one major. I spent the time I could have used on a double or triple major actually gaining real work experience in my field. I also was able to graduate in three years and save a ton of money because of this. I have had no trouble finding a job because employers are looking for experience. My friends who spent all their extra time on academics are not finding jobs in thier industry. Rather they are looking for internships and the entry level positions that I held my freshman year of college. Oh and not one employer has even ever cared what major was in college or what my GPA was, they were more interested in my activities outside of school because a major does not qualify a person for anything.

  3. Michaela Spangenburg
    Michaela Spangenburg says:

    Wow. What a statement, Elizabeth.

    “A major does not qualify a person for anything”

    I guess if you are only getting you BA and not actually going on to graduate school, but even then… your major IS your degree. I’d love to know what kind of business you went into that did not require a specific college degree. Sign me up! Well, on second thought….

    The idea you have in your head that a person with more than one major does not actually do internships is HILARIOUS. And one of the reasons a person might want to get more than one BA degree is so that they can get into more than one grad program. That’s how you get a multiple doctorate. And if you do your BAs all at once, its actually CHEAPER. Not to mention, most public universities and colleges (i.e. affordable colleges) are not accepting people for 2nd BA’s. So, basically, if you have only one major you can’t change your mind later on unless you want to get a second BA at a more pricy school.

    It sounds to me that you, like Ms. Trunk, have some kind of envy of people who actually aim high. Have fun working whatever job in which they have such low standards they will take ANY undergraduate degree, but some of us wish to aim just a bit higher.

  4. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    I understand you points of doing it for graduate school, and I understand multiple majors in the sciences. But if you are going into the career field after you graduate and are going into liberal arts then a major does not prepare you for much. I went into public relations with an English degree.(Its with a top New York agency before you go attacking my employer.) I am also just a few months away from going public with my own business as a fashion stylist and consultant.

    And I never stated that a person with three majors would not do internships, I was suggesting that I had much more time for these things than my friends who narrowed in on academics. Also just wanted to thank you for filling me in on which universities were cheaper, i.e., I had no idea what a public university was.

    Oh and bytheway I have a lucrative career, I am starting my own business, graduated from a public college in three years without taking out a single loan (because I saved up all through high school not because my parents are stashed with wealth), and in my spare time I run marathons. I have absolutely no problem with people who aim high in life nor do I envy them because I am one of those people. Don’t be so personally judgmental from a little comment on a blog.

    While I am interested in reading the rest of Ms. Trunk’s blog, I actually stumbled across it for the first time yesterday in a random internet search. As for my original comment: I found a blog entry that validated my position so I wanted to comment on it. In reality its no different than you finding a blog that invalidates your position and making a comment.

    But I am done with justifying myself on my position. This comment is far to long enough as it is.

  5. Melanie McIntosh
    Melanie McIntosh says:

    Liz: Thanks for the link this should make for a good discussion. It is cute the way you justified yourself….i’ll make fun of you latter of course.

    Michelle: Just know that she (liz)is the biggest over achiever ever. It gets really annoying actually. My personal opinion is that if you are going to grad school multiple majors are needed. Are you really looking at getting more than one doctorate? In what field? I just started a dual masters program in public policy and russian literature. I would say that my double major in university def helped out with getting into graduate school.

    In general: I think that you can be social and likable even if you are a multiple major person. I was no social outcast throughout college and didn’t spend all my weekends in the library studying away. I think the point of this blog was just to get on the nerves of all the pretentious multiple majors out there and get them to leave comments.

  6. Michaela Spangenburg
    Michaela Spangenburg says:

    Well, Elizabeth, frankly I am really glad that you are a person of multiple interests like myself (I dabble a little in fashion design and art along with stuff I do in my majors). Also nice to hear from someone from a working class background who worked hard to get where they are. I wish you had talked about your experiences in your initial comment, because from your initial comment I had no way to distinguish you from people who just like to attack those of us who work our asses off as double/triple majors. At my school, people with one major often just sort of coast through school and spend all their time at frat houses, then sit around and judge those of us who have a little more focus.

    Actually, in my spare time I work as a political activist. I spend two or three days a week down in the bay area (which is about 2 hours drive from where I live/go to school) organizing, attending rallies, etc. around issues that concern the community, like equal rights, police brutality, etc. I’ve started writing articles for a monthly national newspaper and still make time for enjoying myself, socializing, doing art, writing poetry and fiction, etc. I’m doing an internship right now with a literary mag and am about to put out my first chapbook through them, which I’m really excited about. I take classes that allow me to get experience in the field, both for the experience and also for the networking. I also do some independent field work on my own. And I too am not loaded, I actually am very far from it and from a very solidly working class background.

    I’m probably going to do my graduate work in cultural resource management, and I am trying to make up my mind whether to go for my doctorate in clinical psych or get my MFT. I might do both.

    I just find this blog entry to just be very full of venom. Saying that being a triple major means you are timid, not creative or intellectually curious is just a personal attack, one that I’ve seen before and usually seems to stem from envy. People seem to rather attack other people’s choices than take responsibility for their own, unfortunately.

  7. John
    John says:

    I have to say that I quite disagree with this article. I see that Triple majoring is not for everyone, but to make a sweeping generalization that people loose creativity?? I completed a triple major (Psychology, Sociology,and Anthropology) and I am proud with what I accomplished. It’s not that I did it because I was looking for fame or to impress my boss, I just kinda got lost in the mix of trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to do so, because it has taught me to look at different situations with a different focus. I work for the State of Florida and I don’t think just one degree is enough to teach me what I have seen and analyze the situations I have experience with this job. I have always say, “life is a continuous learning process, either driven by institutions or personal experience; when you apply limits to your education, I doubt any creativity can come from it.”

  8. Austin
    Austin says:

    In my opinion, this is a very poor article, and I’d like to quickly address some of the main points the author made.

    “A triple major exhibits no creativity”
    This is incorrect. The amount of creativity needed to piece together two-plus majors or degree programs, while finishing school on time is much greater than following the catalog word-for-word. The author’s reasoning is so backwards, it’s unreal.

    “A triple major is not for the intellectually curious.”
    Also incorrect. If I want to take on a larger area of study, I’d rather get an extra degree for my work than just a bunch of extra classes listed on a transcript. If you’re going to do it, take home the hardware, too. I’m not doing it for the degree, but if the option is there when I’m said and done, yes, I’m going to take it.

    “A triple major is for the timid.”
    Has this author ever been to college? She obviously has no idea how double and triple degree plans work.

    This article is based entirely on the author’s point of view, which is highly ignorant to the subject matter she’s writing about.

    To top things off, I wouldn’t exactly call this a “fad.” I’m the first one at my school who’s ever attempted this. I realize this article is 6 years old, but it shows up very high on google when the search term is “triple major,” so if someone would like some real, sound advice on this topic, I’d be happy to lend some experience and info.

    Southeastern Louisiana University

    Triple Degree Program:
    BA Psychology
    BA Liberal Arts
    BGS Natural Science

  9. Christa
    Christa says:

    This is just as stupid as your, “Grad school limits your ability to get a job,” crap. Double or triple majors thrive on diversity and don’t just take classes to blow them off. They see that if they take many hours toward English, why not take a few more and get an English degree?
    A management disaster? How about a solid work ethic, excellent time management skills, and more bang for the employers buck?!

    Obviously you are just anti-education. Seeing higher education as “just a piece of paper” is dangerous and a comment mostly found in the mouths of eighteen year old boys who want to work at McDonald’s so they can save up to buy, like, a super bad ass motorcycle!

  10. Kevin
    Kevin says:

    The best plan is to choose something easy and transfer to the Ivy league once your GPA is high enough. Everyone wants to hire a Stanford grad no mater how many damn majors they have

  11. jgg
    jgg says:

    Referring to this as “stupid” or “for the timid” seriously needs to be put in context. Yes, people who (triple) major in Marketing, Finance and/or Business are being silly, but how impressive is it for someone to triple major in Math/Physics/Comp. Sci./Eng. (like me; not being arrogant, just relative), three fields which all lean on each other but in which one major is *not* enough to master all three fields? I’d like to see J.Average Student “rack up” those three degrees.

    I also have a slight problem with all some of your claims and advice:

    “This strategy is wrought with irony because, in effect, someone who has a triple major screams, "Don't hire me. I'll be a management disaster!””

    And whiny, uninformed blog posts about people triple majoring screams “I majored in something flaky, but now manage a startup (or seven) and got a book deal so I’m going to use that leverage to put down anyone who lives differently than I do.” Am I being too judgmental? Amazing how generalized, fact-less ranting comes around like a revolving door, isn’t it?

    “My advice to all you triple majors is to dump the excessive course load and get a life.”

    My advice is you is to get a Kleenex and wipe that unfounded crap you’re spewing to still-developing college students off of your keyboard. Done? Okay.

    “A triple major exhibits no creativity”

    What is your basis for this? Who is more creative: someone who writes a computer program using what they learning in their single degree, or one who uses what they learned in their computer degree, combined with what they learned as a math major and a graphic design major to create advanced 3D graphics? Sounds to me like making a connection between three linked but still distinct areas of study requires a certain kind of ingenuity and skill. ’round these parts, we like to call that ‘creativity.’

    “Finally, take some blow-off courses”

    Why are you in college? If you reach the point in your education where you just ‘need’ to relax, reevaluate your education in the first place. Why are you in school? To get a degree? Okay, fair enough, BUT WAIT A MINUTE! (look below)

    “People who need their courses to add up to another major are people who are conditioned to learn only for an external reward.”

    So *why* are you taking “blowoff” courses to finish your major instead of just dropping out? You’re obviously bored, frustrated or distracted, so if the ‘reward’ of a degree doesn’t mean anything, then quit. Or does this only apply if you’re pursing additional majors? If that’s the case, your advice sounds arbitrary and self serving to me.

    “Figure out how to like something about that person, because that's an important part of management – €“ figuring out how to like even the most unlikable people. And stop by your professor's office hours. Don't have something to say? Make something up. Because that's what life will be like with your boss. Face time will be everything and you'll have to be savvy and strategic about how to get yourself in front of him and make him enjoy talking to you.”

    Blah blah blah, REAL WORLD SCARY, blah blah blah, OMG, LIEK U HAVE TO LEARN ABOUT PPL 2!!!1111 Thanks for insulting our intelligence. But you had a six-figure book deal. You’re the most knowledgeable person alive, and everyone else is a cretin.

    “The smartest are not promoted. The most likable are promoted.”

    I’m sure that’s why Google has a life-lovin’, free spirited, I-can’t-study-because-I’m-eating-ice-cream-and-flirting-with-girls business major, not an engineer, as its CEO. Oh, wait. Any company that wants to be worth anything will put its brightest and most flexible at the top. When it comes to deciding if you should, say, buy out a company or not, cutting a cold, hard deal is not going to be aided by anyone ‘learning to relate to other people.’ Now, if you’re talking about a ‘blech’ business that’s mostly mediocre and bureaucratic, then I agree with you 100%. How many people would even work at a place like that is another question.

    In short, your advice is terrible: not just because I disagree with you, but because it is based on unfounded conclusion and rampant, self-righteous (‘I’m smarting than all those drones triple majoring’ is an opinion prevalent in this piece, whether you intended it to be or not) opinionated speculation. You could be scaring away brilliant, motivated people because you haven’t bothered to consider all possible scenarios instead of the one where Bobby Joe enters school studying three Mickey Mouse areas of study. Don’t feel bad though, it’s not entirely your fault. You have a ‘blog’, which means only the vigilant will realized the symptoms of ‘itchy-mouse-finger-syndrome’ and actually *think* before posting an opinion. Although, maybe your Twitter is worse:

    I’m wearing a Calvin Klein skirt I got in high school. I love that it fits, and I love my memories of teenage boys searching for the zipper.

    Thanks. We care.

    • Allison
      Allison says:

      *slow clap, standing ovation* You took the words right out of my mouth. This woman clearly wasn’t on the dean’s list…

  12. Dues Exonymous
    Dues Exonymous says:

    I have a question: What logic and reasoning is going on in your head exactly? I would genuinely like to know so I can fully understand why everything you have typed in this little article is seemingly the opposite of what I would have assumed. Not that you would read all of this, but let me give you my opposing thoughts on the matter with a counter mini-article. :-)

    I am going to skip your premise of many majors screaming “Don’t hire me. I’ll be a business disaster!” and save it for the end of this. So I’ll start with the next big part:
    In response to the topic “A triple major exhibits no creativity”, I would have to say that your arguements about this are flawed in almost every sentence except maybe the one about choosing a life path is being creative. The whole idea of college is to take your required class loads and maybe some extras if you want it so you can prepare for your major(or more, again, if you feel like it). I don’t know how it was back in your day, but now students usually have a schedule full of required classes because there ARE required classes and because getting those required classes out of the way first is better so you can concentrate on the more “creative” and interesting classes when you are able to get to them. Also, choosing which required classes you will take that semester takes quite a bit of creativity. One would have to decide on which class for one major they are to take as well as if they are going to take classes from the other majors with it and which classes would work well to learn together if any. It takes proper planning, dedication, and creative strategies to work the schedule and homework out and finding the method to learn each way the best one can. And the more majors you have would technically mean you are being MORE unique because, contrary to what you mentioned, few-to-none will have that major you are choosing if it is a strange olio of several majors. Also, that bit about allowing someone to take over one’s path for a few years is what happens when attending a college. The classes the college offers as well as which classes have prerequisites, etc. controls what path you take each semester. It is all part of being in higher education. It has nothing to do with creativity issues.

    In response to the topic “A triple major is not for the intellectually curious.”, many people do love learning and do take whatever classes they want which in-fact LEADS to a triple major. Not everyone getting a triple major is a turd trying to slither high up into the anus of the business world in order to threaten your job security (which is why I am assuming you were writing this article in the first place; to keep a few trip-majors out of the jobs graciously given by any business person who would read this hum-drum). Most of them are people who LIKE to learn and enjoy intellectual challenges and fufilling their curiosities (otherwise they wouldn’t have bothered with more classes at all, let alone going to a college or university or any higher education past high school). People don’t just take on classes because it is rewarding to get an “A” or because it might get you so-and-so percent more of income per year. People weigh the costs and benefits of these things, and wasting several hours of the day in a classroom or reading a huge textbook is not something that a person would do if they were not in some miniscule way intellectually curious. At some point, someone with a triple major had to say to themself “Hey! I would enjoy learning this topic!” And be it through a class or some other method, they would learn about it. I will give you points for pointing out that there are some smarmy jerks who try and look as great as they can without caring about what they are majoring in, but those are easily spotable people and do not constitute the whole of the triple+ majorers (in a way, that makes you article very biased and less credible because it is basing the information on some stereotype many people probably never even considered and has no real statistical or experimental evidence to back it. Which is similar to my counter-article but with the opposite bias).

    In response to the topic “A triple major is for the timid”, I would agree in that a timid person might have trouble straying away from their subject of interest. That would probably be because most people dont want to learn what is not interesting to them. Some people abquiesce to things like that, but many would prefer to stick with what they like. As for sticking with majors, many people do learn subjects other than their majors, but with respect to people who have triple+ majors, I doubt it is a matter of being timid or closed-minded about subjects; it is likely a matter of not having time for extra classes because they have a TRIPLE MAJOR to complete. They dont want to be in their 50’s and still stuck in college because they spent most of their time taking classes separate from their major when they can complete their major and go back for any other learning that their heart desires. Also, if Business requires a wide breadth of knowledge, then why NOT triple major? That is loads more knowledge than a double or uni-major.

    And once you’re committed to choosing MORE THAN one major, why stay away from business when you just stated how knowledge is important to business and had so much information leading up to that last sentence? Are you really trying to keep people away from income? You are just so silly-nilly. :-) One can easily learn all of the fun stuff you think they need to learn while enjoying a leisurely business career and CEO positions. All they need is excellent time-management skills which can be learned in college especially after having survived years managing study-time to get a triple+ major! Isn’t that great? I sure think it is! It is seeming more and more like the perfect way to accent one’s life!

    As for social skills, I think that is what highschool was built for. College is for learning, please don’t soil the sanctity of that. :-) Thank you. But if social skills is a 100%-must during college years, I would suggest study groups for those with triple+ majors; not only does it help you study but it also gets you in contact with the social world and helps you deal with all sorts of people in businesses: time-wasters, leaders, followers, idea-men, the talkers, the silent ones, etc. That is much more management-like than going to a party and is much more helpful during these important educational years.
    As for making people “like you”, just remember what was learned in public school: “be yourself!” and maybe share your toys occasionally and it should work out if you are still a good person and even better if you are useful.

    Now, back to your premise that having many majors screams “Don’t hire me. I’ll be a business disaster!” I don’t know how business people think, but if that is what they are thinking, then I have to say they are not very excellent thinkers and that people with many majors could just make their own business anyways (not that they really need to, but it is an option if what you say is true). If anything, people with many majors screams to me “This person really took the time and effort to finish that degree and learn what they wanted to learn! I am seeing will power, mental dexterity, and motivation! This person could go far!”. And at the worst, maybe it would scream “This person probably has trouble choosing one thing out of many”. But in no way am I seeing disaster unless that person who has a choosing-problem is working in some choosey job.

    As for you, “Brazen Careerist”, I do not know why you hate people with more than one major (or seem to after reading your article). My guess is it stems from some sort of resentment or inferiority complex, but definately not out of any hard facts mentioned in the article. I would agree that single majors are very nice and dandy, but some people just can’t settle for that. So let it be what it will be. Also, please don’t generalize people in to nasty little groups like you did in this article. It isn’t nice, and from other comments, I can see that it wasn’t well taken or appreciated.

    Thank you and have a lovely day! It has been fun commenting~ (also, please excuse any spelling or grammatical errors. I wrote this out of spontaneous compulsion)

  13. High School Student
    High School Student says:

    I’m rather flustered by the opinions presented in this article. I’m currently a high school student and am desperately trying to determine what career path to take. I feel as though I would like to learn everything and can do anything. I just googled the term “triple major” to see whether it’s possible to work slightly harder and perhaps fulfill my ambitions while keeping many options open and learning a bit more about myself. While suppose there may be a degree of legitmacy in your claims, for they do appear plausible, I am nontheless alarmed by this characterization of myself.

  14. dan
    dan says:

    Penelope, I think that it is more than evident that your short-sighted and biased opinion is just revealing your ignorance. Maybe you are just loving this debate, but you lady, you are simply a mediocre materialistic girl, who doesn’t actually know what curiosity and what a real restless mind is.
    I am a multitalented student just like many of the kids who commented above me: I excel in Spanish (which is my first language), I am completely fluent in Korean, and I am also studying Russian. I will be majoring Psychology, Economics and Sociology which are in fact very related and I don’t want to jeopardize the big picture by overspecializing in one field. Oh, yeah, you can’t even glimpse how creative I am, do you McGyver? Well that have been my nickname for how I can think quickly on my feet: I excel in magic, lockpicking, reading body language, I am also a truth wizard (I am able to tell if someone is lying by reading facial expressions and body language), computer security (hacking), and many other skills I don’t feel comfortable sharing here.
    Do you really think I am “not creative”? Hah, I really feel pity for you.

    You are trying to teach US what is to be creative when even your basic logic is flawed?
    You are trying to teach us what CRITICAL THINKING IS?

  15. Jack
    Jack says:

    Haha, very close minded. Sounds to me your intimidated by someone younger and smarter than yourself. Don’t get an education, don’t learn. No one listens to you, I hope not, because you’re an idiot. I double major currently and I’m looking to add a third. I plan on teaching, so for me it’s perfect to do three majors. A management disaster? How so?? It screams I can handle three times as much work!!!! I know I can handle more work than some disgruntled old ladies named Penelope.

  16. James B.
    James B. says:

    If I could punch you in the face, I would. And after I’d hit you, you would regret having written something so stupid and useless. Penelope, you should stick to advising artist, because you sound like one.

    80% of colleges today consists of people who spend a majority of their time doing nothing. So people like me, and everyone else that you pissed off with this bullshit article, have to pick up two majors and sometimes three to prove we’re the hardest working students at our institutions.

  17. Michaela Spangenburg
    Michaela Spangenburg says:

    I posted here once before to strongly disagree with this article. I still very strongly disagree with it – I’m still a triple major and I am doing great.

    I’m posting here again because lately I saw that two very inappropriate comments were posted – one very nasty, and one very violent. For some reason no one has seen fit to take them down as of yet. Seeing as how they are posted one after another I think they are probably written by the same person or by people who know each other. Perhaps it is someone who has a personal grudge against Penelope.

    I would like to be the first to say that, even though I disagree with her position on this issue, Penelope DOES NOT deserve this kind of harassment. No woman does. So why don’t you nasty, sexist types go away. Every person before you who had a point to make did it intelligently and respectfully. If you are too stupid, too disgusting, too immature and frankly TOO SEXIST to respond in kind, then just don’t be here. You aren’t welcome.

  18. john
    john says:

    “For some reason no one has seen fit to take them down as of yet.”

    That’s because this article was written in 2003. I guess common sense isn’t one of your majors.

  19. Michaela Spangenburg
    Michaela Spangenburg says:

    John: I’m guessing that reading skills and logic is what you are lacking in. I was referring to the comments, which could be removed at any time. Case in point: Note that one of the comments was taken down. I emailed the author, and apparently she saw the common sense in removing one of them.

    Seeing as how you are so upset about the possibility of their removal that you are going to make smart ass remarks to me, I wonder if you are possibly one of the people (or the one person) who posted those comments. If you are, might I suggest you get lost.

    And if you want to continue to harass me, why don’t we take it off this page – mekkiethenekkie (at) There’s no reason to fight this out on someone else’s blog. Or you could just get lost, in general.

  20. john
    john says:

    Okay, I’ll go slow and do this in pieces so that you can understand this. :)

    “John: I’m guessing that reading skills and logic is what you are lacking in. I was referring to the comments, which could be removed at any time. Case in point: Note that one of the comments was taken down. I emailed the author, and apparently she saw the common sense in removing one of them.”

    You were referring to the comments? Wow, so was I! They could be removed at any time, but apparently WERE NOT (see, I can use caps to show I’m “angry,” too) until you self-admittedly emailed the author about it. In other words, I’m sure scanning for troll comments on a near seven year-old article blog post isn’t high on the author’s to do list. Also, way to play copy cat with that first witty line. Thinking for yourself must not be one of the things they teach at your institution.

    “Seeing as how you are so upset about the possibility of their removal that you are going to make smart ass remarks to me, I wonder if you are possibly one of the people (or the one person) who posted those comments. If you are, might I suggest you get lost.”

    You seem to be the only one upset at all, going out of your way to chastise one or two trolls that will likely never visit this page again. As for your silly accusation, I don’t waste my time making stupid comments like that. I’d much rather use sense and intelligence to call out foolish people like yourself.

    “And if you want to continue to harass me, why don’t we take it off this page – €“ mekkiethenekkie (at) There’s no reason to fight this out on someone else’s blog. Or you could just get lost, in general.”

    So making a sarcastic is harassment now? Get a life. I’m wasting too much time dealing with you now. I want to correspond with a silly person like you via email about the same amount as those other two numbskulls who posted before you. You may want to ask to get your comment deleted, as well. You’ve completely invited those two (or one) guy(s) to completely spam up your account–if they do ever visit this site again. I hope that email was an alternate of yours…At their level of intelligence, I’m sure that’d be a fun day for them.

    So for the record, no, those comments weren’t mine; however, you can get lost regardless. Enjoy your three majors, I know I do, mine.

  21. BushyTail
    BushyTail says:

    Penelope is a puppet for the Nazi Seagull League, our bitter aerial enemies! Join the Revolutionary Army of Squirrels today!



  22. Michaela Spangenburg
    Michaela Spangenburg says:

    John – you think I would give either you or those losers an email addy I cared about and used for something OTHER than spam? Come on. I just provided the email because I think it’s a bit rude to fill up someone’s comment page with an unrelated laundry list of complaints you have about a third party, as you did.

    I’m not going to bother to address anything you said, or frankly even to read any of it. I, unlike you, do not have time to sit in front of my computer and dissect something someone says point by point. I will say this, though – I have no idea what your problem is with me or why you randomly chose to insult someone who was clearly just trying to do right by someone else. Its easy to assume from that that you have an issue with the rest of what I said, otherwise why would you bother? If I want to take on trolls who are making sexist and disgusting comments and try to do someone constructive about it, what is it to you?

    With that, I hope you go make better use of your time.

  23. john
    john says:

    “John – €“ … time.”


    I could’ve just emailed the author in the first place without drawing any undue attention to those comments at all, but instead I’d rather post about it to grandstand and draw attention to myself and hopefully start an argument with the idiots that posted them. Instead it seems someone intelligent has responded, so I’ll just mosey on now.


    In all of your posts, it’s pretty evident that you like to talk MUCH bigger than what you are.

    “I’m not going to bother to address anything you said, or frankly even to read any of it.”

    Please, you’re fooling no one. You knew I made a comment about the email address, which means you read at least some of that comment–even though we both know you read the whole thing. Make your mind up: either read it or don’t. Now you’re just making yourself look more incompetent with each post.

    As for all of this, I’m done. You can have the final word. Nothing you can say or do short of getting all these comments deleted will keep you from looking like the silly little girl that you’ve been exposed to be.

  24. Simon
    Simon says:

    I don’t care about what a triple major is gonna look like on paper for me, I just love languages, so I’m doing a triple major in Korean, Japanese, and Chinese. Is that so wrong? I have seriously looked through the whole University handbook and I cant find a single other subject I’d like to study, so may as well get three majors! I learnt Korean fluently in a year by myself so I also happen to know that studying languages is really no stress for me, in fact it’s what I enjoy in life the most.. What’s your take on that?

  25. Simon
    Simon says:

    I don’t care about what a triple major is gonna look like on paper for me, I just love languages, so I’m doing a triple major in Korean, Japanese, and Chinese. Is that so wrong? I have seriously looked through the whole University handbook and I cant find a single other subject I’d like to study, so may as well get three majors! I learnt Korean fluently in a year by myself so I also happen to know that studying languages is really no stress for me, in fact it’s what I enjoy in life the most.. What’s your take on that Penelope?

  26. D
    D says:

    Do you have any evidence to validate your claims? We have all heard the horror stories of the double or triple major/masters/phd students that never find real work, and evidently people love to focus on those stories, but what about the opposite? Maybe you should research how many triple majors actually have great jobs and are highly successful and put the myth to rest? That seems like a better contribution than discouraging further tertiary education. I am 22 and have been at university for 5 years and have disparate majors in business, management and two IT fields as well as minors in human resource management and project management. I have also worked full time for a multinational company for several years now where I am valued for my technical and business skills, both of which I use every day. So far every promotion I have received I have had to wait for because I was too young (perhaps I should have remained at university even longer), not because of a lack of creativity or multiple majors.

  27. Dr. Del Castillo
    Dr. Del Castillo says:

    Carly Fiorina double-majored in Philosophy and History. Where did you get that she had one major in English?

    I suggest you do minimal research before posting untrue events as facts in support of your argument.

    As for myself,
    I triple majored in Political Science, Peace/Conflict Studies, and Public Health at UC Berkeley. I then received a MA in International Relations and Diplomacy at the same time as receiving my law degree and MBA. And as of last year, I also have a MPH and MD from UCLA Medical School.
    Now, at age 30, my possibilities are limitless and I work for the government as a diplomat and advisor to the Department of Health.

  28. Brian
    Brian says:

    This article is ridiculous. No intellectual curiosity? Timidness? I’m really not sure how to respond to your assertions, because their foundations are exceptionally weak. It seems to me, however, that the fact that a person has chosen to specialize in 3 different areas, despite all the extra time and work it will take,demonstrates incredible confidence and intellectual curiosity.

    I’m triple majoring in Slavic & Eastern European Studies, Russian, and German. I’ll be very employable for the several career paths I am considering. And it takes more than 3 months to learn a language. The process takes years. You have obviously never studied a foreign language, especially not a critical needs language like Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, etc.

  29. tekk
    tekk says:

    Wow, Michaela Spangenburg got owned so fuxing hard to hell and back, that stupid feminist cadwh0re. Way to go with your Ameriskank girl power!

  30. Michaela Spangenburg
    Michaela Spangenburg says:

    tekk: you could do me no greater compliment than calling me a feminist. Well, actually the ire of some lowlife like you is the greatest compliment I can think of. Thanks!

  31. Becky
    Becky says:

    I am pursuing a triple major in pre-law, sociology, and criminal justice and im graduating in 3 and 1/2 years and this is possible because I came into college with so much credit already completed, I had nothing better to do and i didnt want to go to law school at the young age of 20. I wanted to broaden my mind and education and add more majors to get more knowledge.

    I am graduating this December with a 3.9 GPA and going to Duke Law School.

    I do have a social life. I work 5 nights a week, I am a member of Gamma Beta Phi, and I go out several times a month to just relax and have fun. I am a very well rounded person.

    Your accusations are very invalid. I believe I will make an exceptional lawyer and employee because of my broad education and knowledge base.

    After all, knowledge is power.

  32. TheGradTrap
    TheGradTrap says:

    I agree with the OP, but for different reasons. In my opinion, triple-majoring is extremely excessive. Hell, a double major is unnecessary in many cases, but can work nicely.

    I am currently a rising sophomore. I came into college wanting to do EVERYTHING: two foreign languages, international relations, journalism/communications…it was ridiculous.

    Now, I have come up with a more sane solution that doesn’t include double majoring and double minoring. After going through many switches, I am now hoping to get a Nursing degree with minor in Chinese and maybe a minor in Spanish.

    Those who are considering triple majors should really think about just minoring. There really isn’t a need to pick up so many majors, particularly if it is costing you time, money, and maybe even a good GPA. Remember, minors are your FRIEND…

  33. Drew
    Drew says:

    I’m sorry, I might only be a sophmore going into high school but being creative is what I’m all about. I love music and love expressing myself with it, and that is why I plan on going to college and triple majoring in music, I don’t think it takes away any creativity. You saying it does makes u seam like you don’t understand why people triple major in the first place. They do it not only to impress but to be happy, like me for instance, I love music so I many be an educator and let my future students let out their creativity, also I want to record music so I want to go into music biz, and to help the music go around the world I’m planning on minoring in international relations and also political studies because I also like political science too. Then to top it off I like to dance but also I want to go into medicine, so I want to major in sports med and minor once again but this time in dance. If you really think all that takes my creativity away then how do you explain all of what I just said, I’m pretty sure so of that is made up and that takes creativity, but that’s why I want future generations to have as much or more creativity than mine does right now.

  34. Tyler
    Tyler says:

    Are you kidding me? Youre ignorant lady. You just generalized every single person to ever major in at least two things as a complete book worm and eventual failure. When done correctly, it can make the most successful, often worldly people.

  35. Kadi Spear
    Kadi Spear says:

    I totally disagree I think having a triple major is in some cases a smart thing to do. Just make sure you can handle it. And if I were a future employer I would be very imperessed with someone who triple majored over someone who didn’t.

  36. Brooke
    Brooke says:

    This is the most horrible advise I’ve ever heard!!! You’re actually telling people to go party! Are you down on multiple majors because YOU couldn’t handle the load? Sounds like the ego of an underachiever to me. If you really think a trip major is for the dull or timid, you are dead wrong. It’s highly ambitious and takes a lot of work. Not to mention, it’s much more well rounded educationally than learning how many ways to take shots in a frat house. Idiot!

  37. Janelle Bourgeois
    Janelle Bourgeois says:

    This article is pretty old but I just wanted to throw my opinion in. I’m a triple major in History, Political Economy and Biology. I’m also minoring in Secondary Education. History and Biology are majors I plan to use to get teaching licenses. I love both subjects and decided to keep my options open. I may end up teaching one or the other but I won’t be limited in my choice. Political Economy is a self-designed major and I feel it adds depth and context to my other majors. I think a triple major can be awesome if done the right way. I should also mention I work full-time and have an excellent social life.

  38. Komal Mathur
    Komal Mathur says:

    None of your advice makes sense to me in any logical context whatsoever. Are you listening to your own advice?
    What did you major in. Did you major not help you in the career path that you now follow? (I suspect not because you don’t seem to know what you’re taking about.)
    I would quote you and refute almost all of your statements but I choose not to waste my time, and I hope you you do too in giving other people career advice. You have a blog. Congratulations. Let people triple major in peace and don’t be jealous of their intellectual capacity, great curiosity which is clearly evidenced by the fact that they are not satisfied by majoring in just one subject, and the time management and organizational skills it takes to pull of a triple major and make their resume spectacular if not merely impressive in the extreme.
    Also, just because you developed social skills by taking.. “blow off classes”(?) is how I think you phrased them (I don’t care enough to scroll back up and re-read your ridiculous post to find the exact words, killing some brain cells in the process) and slacking off in college, doesn’t mean other people don’t have the time management and organizations skills to do BOTH and succeed in the real world.

  39. NJ
    NJ says:

    I don’t understand why so many people would choose to spew so much venom this blog – this is HER opinion (she never pretended it was anything else) and further to this, her blog is about careers not the love of life/learning etc. So why are you here? Penelope just delivered her advice/opinion on what matters in careers and to be honest you don’t have to do much research to realise that many really successful people did not triple major and some of them didn’t even attend college. In addition, most people don’t even practice exactly what they majored in, in the first place. A bachelor’s degree is meant to teach you how to think, so think of this – don’t logon on to your computer to read a blog about something you are not interested in – only to choose to get offended. I think she does a great job – she’s honest! And stop being defensive and justifying why you are doing what you are doing in the first place – p.s. I am currently studying my 2nd Masters Degree in International Development after an BA in Accounting and Finance and a MSc in International Management specialising in Entrepreneurship – so I realise it might not be nice to be told you are wasting your time. BUT remember it’s only in regards to learning, if you, like me are doing it for the love of learning – hey carry on!!!

    • Anthony
      Anthony says:

      In translation, Penelope’s argument should not be logically scrutinized, and viewed as passing cloud? Theoretically, why not keep that opinion to yourself?

      Personally, I’m a freshman in College and am planning on theoretically majoring in Math and Physics while minoring in Computer Science and Psychology.  While I would love to triple major in physics, mathematics and computer science, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to handle the load. There’s a chance I’ll major in physics, mathematics, and then pursue one engineering degree.  Time will tell.

  40. emofly17
    emofly17 says:

    “The smartest are not promoted.” This is exactly what the corporations need us to obey. This is the song they want us to dance to.

    The smartest do however, do things that are smart. The likeable do things that are popular. I dont care if my intellect will get me promoted. Academia and the economy are mostly incompatible. Learning takes grace wisdom and the ability to think deeply long term. Business takes cunning, popularity and the desire to jump on and hump short term gains. I have 3 majors: Linguistics/Psych/Physics with a Math minor. I don’t plan on trying to impress future employers with them. Employers want to see experience, not education. The employers want to be the ones to educate me on how they do things. If you want to be successful in the economy go to work, not to school. I don’t pay the university to teach me how to be likeable, cute or funny.

    I designed my own triple major/dual degree plan. I dont know a single university that has a triple major plan to force down the throats of “timid” “not intellectually curious” and “not creative” students. However bold, intellectually curious and creative students sometimes devise their own path through academia because they have goals other than being promoted to shift leader or assistant manager in a multi-billia-national corporate wellfare megalonomic terror cell.

    I repeat, if you want to be successful in the economy, get a job, dont go to school. Learn a trade, work in a department store or coffee shop. Go up to an entrepreneur and ask to be their assistant if you like what they do. But please god dont go to school unless you want to be part of academia and learn, discover, create, test, analyse and think!

  41. Jeremy
    Jeremy says:

    I’m graduating in 6 months with a quadruple-major Bachelor of Arts Degree (Cum Laude Honors) in History, Philosophy, Political Science, and International Studies, with a minor in European Studies…190 credits in 5 years. Penelope can think what she wants, but I really don’t think it’s valid for her to call the last 5 years of my life ‘timid’ and ‘lacking curiosity’.

  42. JJ
    JJ says:

    Well, after researching the possibilities of Triple Majoring in Biology, Chemistry, BioChemistry and a Minor in Japanese with the intentions of moving on to an Ivy League Medical School at UNLV, balancing my credits, the time needed to study *for my classes as well as my MCATS*, resarch during my undergraduate program, and to participate in AMSA, other Medical Associations, and JClub; of course, all while leaving more than enough time for my Family, Social life and neccessities I decided to obtain the opinions of other students, or any person who has an opinion to state. As long as their opinions are weighed out carefully, so that they can support it with facts selecting the pros and cons, and allowing the reader to make his or her own decision. With the noticable touch of persuasion so that they can win over the reader.

    While stumbling upon your article, I feel ashamed. Not of you, but of myself. How can I manage everything at once, am I not timid? Am I anti-social? Oh no, maybe I am just not intellectually curious enough. Well than, bygone, I guess I should assume that all of your fallacious assumpsion are true. I know as a fact, I am very social, quite timid, and very intellectually curious. Although, my three Majors are quite similar, they will demenstrate my understanding of the subject, and with such I will use it towards my Undergraduate Research.

    Now, if you may, explain to me how you arrived to your opinions regarding Triple Majoring? I wish to know this only so that I may be able to understand your end of the spectrum. It may be, you and I have had completely different experiences, maybe we have differences in motivation or determination. Please honor me by describing why.

  43. Greg Kimberling
    Greg Kimberling says:

    I think that the person who posted this argument is not exactly setting a good example. Higher education is essential to being successful, and the more diverse and broad you knowledge then the more likely you are to be hired. I think the person who posted this should get a life, and stop criticizing those who are ambitious enough to take on a challenge and shoulder some responsibility.

  44. David Sky
    David Sky says:

    This piece is ridiculous. The more knowledge a person acquires, the more potential they have to connect and apply ideas that hadn’t been connected before. This piece is an insult to the very concept of logic.

  45. Michael Ayoub
    Michael Ayoub says:

    This is one of the most ridiculous and backwards pieces of writing I’ve ever read. Let’s start from the top, shall we? I’ll approach your points from my point of view as a student triple majoring in Statistics, Pure Mathematics, and Philosophy, with enough extra credits to have minors in Russian language, Slavic history, and Computer Science (although, of course, only one minor can be declared at my university).

    “A triple major exhibits no creativity.”

    Right, my ability to integrate topics I learn in my pure mathematics courses with my lectures in my statistics classes to come up with innovative ways of looking at data shows zero creativity. That I can then write software with ease that incorporates these new outlooks shows zero creativity.

    “A triple major is not for the intellectually curious. If you love learning then you will take whatever classes you want and you don't worry if they add up to another major.”

    What? So, if I love learning, and take whatever classes interest me, the fact that those extra classes add up to additional majors means I am *NOT* intellectually curious. However, if those classes did not add up to additional majors, I *WOULD* be considered intellectually curious. Got it. I guess I should drop Ge’ez, then… Do you know what Ge’ez is? Didn’t think so. You should be more intellectually curious.

    “A triple major is for the timid. A broad education teaches you to learn diverse topics quickly. Practice learning something totally new by taking courses in each of the departments in your college rather than cowering in the safety of topics you're majoring in.”

    Why are “triple major” and “broad education” mutually exclusive? My background in Mathematics and Philosophy helps me learn any new concepts I might ever need to learn effortlessly, using a combination of intensive thinking and logical rigor.

    “And stop by your professor's office hours. Don't have something to say? Make something up. … Learn how to make people like you.”

    Professors aren’t people, then, because wasting your professors time in his office hours is the number one way to get on his or her bad side. Professors are extremely busy, and do not have time to chit-chat. Of course, if you do have insightful things to talk to your professors about, that’s different. If only I could be ‘intellectually curious’…

  46. Marilyn
    Marilyn says:

    Um…I’d rather triple major than do what 90% of the other students in my university do…drink, smoke, party, etc. How is that any better for “creativity”? I do feel that a triple major may be overdoing it a bit, but if they want to do that, then that’s fine.

  47. Natalya
    Natalya says:

    I am a triple major in International Relations, Economics, and Biology at Lehigh University; I’m also pre-med. I wholeheartedly disagree with your beliefs that triple-majors are timid, not intellectually curious, and exhibit no creativity. Where do you get such completely wrong generalizations?

    The reason for my triple major is that I want to go to medical school so I can one day help lower maternal mortality rates — a woman dies in childbirth every 45 seconds simply because there isn’t even a trained midwife present. I am fully aware that my triple-major is lowering my GPA to a dismal 3.55 (oh no!), but that is not something I worry about. I’m interested in medicine, but I also have a passion for travel and all things international. My goal after medical school is to volunteer with organizations like Doctors without Borders. Eventually, I hope to be setting up sustainable clinics in impoverished countries and training midwives. To be able to do this, one major in Economics, or one major in International Relations, or one major in Biology and med school alone are NOT enough. I need all three and I am very interested in all three.

    Doing the three majors has not been at the expense of my creativity or anything like that. I also studied abroad in Hong Kong for a semester and backpacked through China and Southeast Asia. I volunteer at a hospital, and I have a part-time job at a Fortune 500 company. I am not missing out on anything.

    I cannot understand where you assume all the negative things that you have written about triple majors. Perhaps the thing that someone with a triple major subconsciously screams to you is “Don’t hire me! I’ll be smarter, more talented, and harder working than you and I will one day become your boss!” That is the only rational explanation I have for your position on the issue.

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