Declaring a Minor Not Similar to Your Major
Why This May Be More Useful for Your College Career
First off, it is important to note that a lot of colleges and universities will dictate that you have a minor relevant to your choice of a major. In fact, some colleges and universities will not let you enroll or participate in classes or any other part of the college experience if you do not do this.
There is nothing wrong with that.
There are some colleges and universities, however, that allow you to choose your own minor from the plethora of choices they have. In these instances, it might be best to choose a minor more relevant to a casual hobby, or even just a minor as far away from your major as possible if your major is one of those high-intensity fields of study. Take for instance my major: Biology with a Cellular and Molecular concentration. I was getting overwhelmed with classes and if I was going to take anything extra, I was going to take something that didn't stress me out. The problem was that I was getting money from the VA (Veteran's Affairs) because of my father's military service, so I couldn't take classes not on my degree program.
I ended up needing an extra class for one semester in order to stay in full time status so when I talked to the VA office, they asked me if I had any hobbies and then changed my minor from chemistry (what the school had made it) to theater (so that I could take a costume techniques class). While this may seem like more work (and in a way it is), a minor does not have all of the class requirements of a major but it still looks good on your transcripts because you are well-rounded in an area, not just focused on your main field of study. A minor in a department different from the one in which you spend most of your time is also great for branching out and finding new connections both on a personal and on a professional level.
Other, mental health benefits of declaring a minor not closely related to your major is that you get a much-needed break. Many students stress themselves out in relation to what they are planning to do with their lives and taking four or five classes that will dictate that future can pile on the stress very quickly. When there is one class that does not make a huge impact on the career goals of a student, however, the student can create a dedicated time to breathe and not think about the other schoolwork that stresses them.
Now, understandably, this kind of plan [in most people's heads] works best if the minor is in an artistic field, but this doesn't mean those who have artistic majors cannot adopt this plan. A business minor will help with marketing and speech classes. An English minor could help with playwright and storytelling skills. Just because a field of study does not seem out-rightly relaxing doesn't mean the minor version of it isn't.
Like I mentioned at the beginning of this, though, not all colleges or universities will allow this. Many colleges and universities want their students to be dedicated to their major departments not just for money's sake, but because it keeps the student from being distracted and getting lower grades. This is, of course, a serious concern. If declaring a minor will harm your GPA or your grade in your major classes, it is important to realize that there are other ways to separate time for oneself away from the stress of the major.
The whole point of this isn't to offer some magical solution to college related stress, but to allow students to see that there are other ways that can still benefit them in professional capacities without creating yet another schedule for yet another thing. Shopping around the idea before committing to it is always a great thing. There are often chat rooms and forums wherein students trade information about teachers and certain classes. Looking up information about the minor you might want to pursue should start in these places before fleshing out to a full idea. No matter what, though, it doesn't hurt to ask someone if this can be done for you at your college or university. So go forth and conquer, students; but conquer in the way that is best for you.