Most people think that M&T’s know what they want to do with their lives, and that they know exactly what they want to study in college.
This probably couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, I chose to apply to M&T precisely because I didn’t know what industry I wanted to enter after graduation.
During my college search, one of my biggest worries was figuring out what I wanted to do after graduating. Most schools will tell you that you don’t have to declare your major until after your sophomore year. However, spending freshman and sophomore year exploring all the majors that a university has to offer can potentially hurt you when it comes to graduating on time (this is not to say that you won’t graduate on time—it just might be harder to do so if you decide at the end of your sophomore year that you want to pursue Chemical Engineering).
My solution? Why not just study two disciplines simultaneously that both interested me? That way, it would give me greater flexibility when it came to eventually choosing a career path, and if it turned out that I didn’t like one of the disciplines, I could always just focus on the other.
After my first semester at Penn, I’ve discovered that I like the mix of technical science and liberal arts. It’s a good balance, especially when most college students lose a lot of the variety in course load that they had in high school.
Of course, M&T has also had a few other positive side effects beyond academic flexibility. I’ve found that the majority of my best friends here at Penn are fellow M&T’s, because we share the same interests, many of the same classes, and the same living space (M&T’s have the opportunity to get guaranteed housing in Ware, so many freshman M&T’s live in the same dorm). While my friends and I often joke that we are huge masochists for taking on the workload of a dual-degree program, and that dropping one of either engineering or business would make our lives much easier, not being in M&T would also make our lives at Penn much less fulfilling and wholly unsatisfying. There are many colleges across the U.S., but not a single other program like M&T.
Stephanie is a member of the M&T Class of 2017 and hails from Solon, Ohio. She has not yet declared her concentration in the Wharton School or her major in Penn Engineering, but is contemplating studying Digital Media Design or Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.