Junior Year Feels: Maia Lopes-Gilbert Talks About Her Minor

How I found the perfect minor three semesters before graduating

I know what you’re thinking. It can be hard enough to find and declare a major at USC, let alone think about all of the possible combinations that people come up with once they get here (yes, I did hear of a triple minor, once). Let’s be honest; It’s just hard to plan out all of the things you’re interested in and factor those into the mathematics of credits when you’ve got about twenty other things going on in your head, right? So when it comes to finding and declaring a minor — or more than one — it is definitely understandable to feel overwhelmed.

            For the past two years, I’ve been exploring and attempting to find every opportunity available at USC with no idea of what I wanted to do, but a general idea of what I wanted to learn and the skills I wanted to acquire. I knew I wanted to study Portuguese and become trilingual, but I also didn’t really want to pursue Portuguese to the minor level. I ended up declaring a minor in Media Arts and Practice, an incredible and relatively new division of the cinematic arts school that led me to meet one of my all-time favorite professors at USC, but I still didn’t feel like I was narrowing my path in the right direction. I was interested in what I was doing, but I still felt hungry for more.

            In the middle of the fall of my junior year, I stumbled upon the minor I didn’t even know I needed. It’s called Communication Design, and it combines three schools and three minors into one through USC Roski art and design courses, USC Marshall entrepreneurship and business finance courses, and USC Annenberg communication courses. With this minor, I learned that I’d be able to pursue my side hobbies of photography, web and graphic design, while also gaining crucial business knowledge and pairing all of this with my communication degree. Not to mention, this minor even left just enough room in my schedule to have some free electives, with which I currently plan on taking beginner coding courses. It was all of the things I wanted, wrapped up with a nice bow on top.

            I’m not going to lie to you, though. It was difficult to make it work — especially with the limited time I had left. I had to reach out to several advisors and counselors, and explain that even though I only had three semesters to make this minor work I was willing to make up for lost time with dedication and diligence. The application for the minor goes through the Roski School of Art & Design, for which acceptance is no easy feat, and I had to double up on some communication courses to finish on time.

But now? I’m powering through a lot of early 8AM classes and late night studio hours. I’m learning at least ten new skills every day, and I couldn’t be happier or more excited. It was worth it to end up here. 

Maia Lopes-Gilbert