Barnard first-year Fritzie Schwentker already declared her major. Here’s her story. 

For many of us, the act of declaring a major feels like an impending nightmare of important decision-making. But for Fritzie, casually declaring her major in her first year at Barnard just seemed right.

When I heard that my friend Fritzie had already declared her major, I knew I had to talk to her about it. Here’s how our conversation went:

Me: When exactly did you declare your major?

Fritzie: This semester. March 3rd to be exact.

Me: (Noticing she was cooking over our facetime call) What are you cooking right now?

Fritzie: Pasta with red sauce! (to which she added heaping amounts of olives, as per her love for all things vinegary)

Me: How were you certain that you wanted to be an English major? Was there any lingering doubt?

Fritzie: I was pretty sure that I wanted to major in English before college. I love reading and writing. I’m a speed reader so I love to read because I can do so much of it. I love reading books, I love writing about books: It’s just really what I like to do.

Me: Tell me about the actual process of declaring. How did you do it?

Fritzie: I went to my semester check-in meeting with my first-year advisor and said “I think I’m ready to declare my major.” My advisor walked me through the steps. There were major declaration forms right outside of the English department office. I filled one in and turned it into the department. From there, it is signed by the department chair and they tell you who your advisor is going to be. After that, you go back into the registrar’s office, the registrar approves the signed form, and you get a pin that says “I declared!”

Me: What’s your dream job?

Fritzie: My dream job is to be an editor at a publishing house. I love writing, but theres’s something so gratifying about taking someone else’s writing and making it reach its full potential.

Me: Have you already taken classes that fulfill specific major requirements in your first year?

Fritzie: Yes! Last semester, I took a class that fulfills an elective requirement: history of the English language. This semester I took 18th century novels that fulfills the pre-1900s literature class requirement.

Me: Are you thinking about a concentration or a minor?

Fritzie: Yes! Junior year you get to declare a concentration, I’ll probably do creative writing. I’m thinking of minoring in sociology.

Me: Cake or pie?

Fritzie: Cake.

Me: What exactly does being an English major entail?

Fritzie: Well I don’t really know because right after I declared I got kicked off campus!! But I know I’ll be entering a community of people who also like reading and writing, learning from professors who love teaching English, and making connections and learning skills that will help me forever.

Me: Why not wait?

Fritzie: By declaring early you get your advisor faster. Not that it applies right now, but you get invited to major-only events. Plus, I just don’t have to worry about it anymore!

Me: Do you do any writing/editing yourself?

Fritzie: Last semester, I wrote for Her Campus Columbia Barnard. I am now a copy-editor for Columbia Spectator. I write in my free time, just whatever I’m feeling! I don’t really share with a lot of people, but you have to do it every day if you want to keep your brain sharp. Often when I’m driving, I’ll get an idea and grab one of the many notebooks in the car and write it down at a red light!

Me: Finally, who’s your favorite author?

Fritzie: I can’t think of my favorite author, but I’ll tell you my favorite book! It’s called Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown.

Read Fritzie’s Her Campus content here, and if you’re like me and haven’t a clue what to major in, try channelling some of Fritzie’s BDE (bold declaration energy)!

photo via Bwog archives