For anyone struggling with the decision to double major, UC Davis undergraduate Harris Niazi has some sage advice. “Don’t ever ask yourself what if,” he said. “Just go for it. Even if it doesn’t pan out, you’re at least stuck with one major that you love.”

Harris is pursuing his passions for literature and medicine as a double major in English and Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior. “My love of science sprang from my love of English,” Niazi said. He recalls poking through his parent’s books as a child, searching for something new to read, and stumbling upon his father’s medical textbooks. “I remember being absolutely stunned with the complexity of the human body, and amazed that we humans had the power to make the discoveries that we had,” Harris said. “When I learned that it was possible to simultaneously study both, I knew I had to do whatever it took to make this possibility a reality.”

However, like many students at UC Davis, Harris did not take a direct route toward realizing his dreams. Harris first enrolled at UC Davis as an English major after taking courses at American River College in Sacramento. But his plans were derailed when he suffered a serious illness and was forced to drop out. He returned to UC Davis at age 28, with a renewed interest in medicine and a double major combining his love of English and science.

“I would love to get a job as a medical researcher or practitioner in which I could utilize what I have learned in English to effectively communicate discoveries in health care, as well as read and write for pleasure in my spare time,” Harris said.

Harris warns that a double major brings an increased workload – along with the difficulty of mentally switching from one field to another when completing homework and projects – but he said the rewards are absolutely worth it. “Not only does it help bolster your career prospects, but you get the benefits of interacting with and learning from others in different environments.”

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