In a Major Key
Sarah Haley, ’13, blends four areas of study in her major
If there were an award for most interesting major, Sarah Haley, ’13, would definitely be a finalist.
Even before she arrived on campus, Haley knew she wanted to become a doctor. So the Crofton, Md., resident enrolled in biology and chemistry courses, as she also took courses through the University’s Honors program.
"I was looking for something really challenging so I could get the most out of my four years. So I came in thinking I would do biochem, but the Honors program made me want to do humanities," Haley said.
She designed a philosophy/classical civilizations major, while she continued taking biology and chemistry classes for her pre-med track.
Then in her junior year she realized she could have it all.
"I loved my humanities classes, so I wouldn’t drop that major, but I also loved biochem," she said.
Because she had been working to fulfill her pre-med requirements, she needed just a few credits to complete the biochemistry major, so she tacked that on, too. She will graduate in May with two interdisciplinary majors.
"All of my classes were either core or major, so I haven’t had any electives. I couldn’t have designed it any other way," said Haley, who came to Loyola from St. Mary’s High School in Annapolis, Md., and was already at an advanced level for Latin when she arrived. "I thought about taking French, but I decided this was a great opportunity to study Latin. And it was really challenging and really rewarding. So I continued with it here."
Haley enjoys the balance between her humanities and science courses. And her parents—who are both in the military and have both been deployed at times during Haley’s college career—patiently supported her as she built her personalized path of study. "When I switched to just the humanities, they said they understood. By the time I added on the biochem major, they weren’t surprised. They were happy because I was happy with it."
With labs and a full course load, Haley’s schedule is packed, but she says that the two interdisciplinary majors are easier to balance than two full majors would be. And she has made time to fit in her involvement as an Evergreen and in service opportunities, including volunteering in two hospitals last year.
Along the way, Haley also decided to enroll in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) program at Loyola and was baptized and received into the Catholic Church her sophomore year.
"I didn’t grow up in a very religious household, but I was raised with those Christian ideals," said Haley, who started her path to Catholicism as a student at St. Mary’s High School.
"I really liked the people that I met who were Catholic, and that environment. And I really identify with the idea of the whole person, cura personalis, and I like the idea of nourishing all parts of ourselves. There are just so many messages that I identified with and I wanted to explore, and I wanted to explore my faith as well."
The RCIA classes offered another area of study for Haley. "It was a lot of group discussion. We explored scripture and meditation. We learned a lot about basic things and history that was interesting and relevant to the Church. I’m always looking to explore new things."
As Haley looks ahead to Commencement—and medical school after working for a year—she admits she wishes she had time to take more classes. Her brother is majoring in accounting at Stevenson University, and hearing about his studies makes her wish she could fit more into her schedule.
"I am jealous that he takes those business classes," she said. "I wish I could have done every major."