Arts students at the University of Waterloo are able to personalize their Bachelor of Arts degrees. This includes earning multiple majors, minors, or specializations in different areas of study and all of these accomplishments are printed onto the degree. For students like Stavros, a fourth-year Honours Arts student with a double major in Speech Communication and Medieval Studies, it will attest to his expertise in both fields. He hopes to use these credentials to pursue a career teaching Medieval Studies.
Despite his passion for Speech Communication and Medieval Studies, Stavros didn’t always know that he was going to work towards a double major. He was initially accepted to the University of Waterloo under the Faculty of Math, where he was required to take SPCOM 223: Public Speaking, a course listed under the Faculty of Arts. It was through this course that Stavros discovered his love for presentations, having completed three of them throughout the term. It quickly became his favourite class, and as a result, he transferred to the Faculty of Arts with a major in Speech Communication.
“I really love the Faculty of Arts in general. During classes there’s often time left for discussions and time to talk to professors. Everything’s so happy and personal. I really enjoy interacting with everyone from Arts.”
Looking back at his experience, he’s had no regrets. Since transferring, he’s built relationships with many professors during and out of class hours.
His love for Lord of the Rings led him to take CLAS 105: Introduction to Medieval Studies as one of his electives. The course provided an overview of the many possible areas of study, including numismatics (study of coins, their origins, and inscriptions), social history, noble history, history of magic, and his personal favourite: paleography. Paleography is the translation of manuscripts and ancient documents, many of which have been untouched. With the content of over 200,000 manuscripts entirely unknown, Stavros hopes to translate some of these manuscripts and possibly discover new information about the Medieval Ages. His Medieval Studies advisor encouraged him to take more courses in Medieval Studies and was the one who suggested a double major.
“What’s interesting about Medieval Studies is that during the Middle Ages, hardly anyone knew how to read or write-except monks and priests. The churches recorded everything, so if churches didn’t exist during this period, we wouldn’t have any written culture. When education started again, everything happened through the churches too. The Middle Ages is the reason we have institutions, like universities, to this day.”
Since the required courses between the two majors didn’t overlap, Stavros really needed to be smart about how he chose his courses. Striving for a double major requires significantly more planning. Stavros looked at all the required courses through the University of Waterloo Undergraduate Calendar, sought help from all his advisors, and was able to combine his love for presentations and history in his degree.
“It’s not hard to study, if you study what you love.”
His own experience has made him passionate about helping students find a field of study that they love. Stavros provides academic support as the VP Academic for the Arts Student Union. In this position, he acts as the voice of the students during academic meetings and passes on this knowledge for Arts students. In addition to the ASU, he is also a student ambassador on campus, a residence don, and volunteers for special events like convocation. He encourages current students to reach out to him for academic support.
Visit the University of Waterloo’s undergraduate admission site to learn more about undergraduate programs.