Making decisions is not an easy task, especially when you don’t know exactly what your true preferences are. It is fair to note that hindsight is 20/20, and nobody knows whether a decision they make today will be the same decision they would make tomorrow, let alone next year. When I was considering where I wanted to go to college, I was extremely drawn to Northwestern because of my hatred, neigh fear, of making decisions, and what I viewed, and still view, as Northwestern’s solution to my fear: the quarter system.
As a senior in high school applying to schools, there was always one question I found extremely intimidating. What is your intended major? It never failed to send shivers down my spine. I had no idea what I wanted to major in. I was scared that I would end up getting stuck in a major that I didn’t find fulfilling, loathe my collegiate academic career and live in regret I didn’t pick something else. Since we take more classes under the quarter system, two-thirds of students at Northwestern double major or pursue at least one additional minor or certificate! This means that you don’t have to choose between one major or another. For me, this meant I could major in both Economics and Sociology AND complete a certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications.
Students at Northwestern are granted the ability to take more classes, and obviously, this means taking more classes you may be interested in that don’t necessarily fit into your major/s. For example, I have always been fairly interested in fruits and vegetables, but not interested in much else having to do with science. Fortunately Northwestern’s Biology department offers an intro-level class on how people interact with plants of all sorts. This quarter, I enrolled in this class for a general credit towards completing my degree. Though only through two classes, I have already had my mind blown on several occasions learning about kale and squash, and none of this would’ve been possible without the flexibility offered by the quarter system.
The two biggest perks of the quarter system are not feeling rushed to decide your major and the abilitiy to pursue different yet interesting classes. As someone who hates choosing between things I love, the quarter system was perfect for me, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll love it too.