Why I Declared
Totally bamboozled about your concentration? Stressed beyond words about the upcoming declaration deadline? We asked Flyby sophomores why they picked their field of study — or the fields of study they're still choosing between. Welcome to Why I Declared 2018.

Economics: Hannah J. Humes

Coming in my freshman year, I was sure I would end up either in engineering or as a pre-med. Everyone in my family is either a doctor or pre-med (weird flex, yes), so there was a lot of pressure to choose a career path in medicine. However, when I took an economics course instead of the standard LS1a, I realized that the math and problems in economics not only made more sense to me, but also were much more intriguing. Taking more courses has only made me more sure of my love for the mathematics of economics (nerdy, I know). Now, I think I want to become an environmental economists and use the theories I learned about in school to create change in the world I see around me. I understand the snake connotations the economics concentration has, and while I may sell my soul to the investment banks, consulting groups, or hedge funds to get that bread for a few years, a job at Goldman is not the reason I chose my concentration. Economic theory captures insights about the world that make sense to me, and learning to develop these models will be the way that I can implement change.

We all understand why Ec concentrators want this beauty on their Instagrams.

Economics: Sahara W. Kirwan

I declared my concentration in Economics 12 days ago, and you know what that means: an artsy post on my Instagram story in front of Littauer Center of Public Administration, home to the Ec Department. Not five minutes had passed before I received several replies to my story, all saying “Snake” or variations of that: “Snek,” just the snake emoji...you get the idea. But to me, studying Economics isn’t about how much money I might make later on (although I won't complain) — any degree from Harvard will get you to where you want to be financially, as long as you put that degree to good use and work hard.

I chose Economics because I just can’t see myself studying anything else. I’m someone who loves math, but not enough to study just math, and who loves the humanities, but not enough to study just the humanities. Economics is the perfect middle ground for me. I can study the behavior of people and the way firms operate, or how people should behave and how firms should operate in theory, and then apply just the right amount of calculus to make these abstract concepts concrete and real to me. I’m also a Libra, so I’m all about achieving balance and (market) equilibrium.

Government: Lorenzo F. Manuali

At the end of the day, governments control a lot of the big events of the world — good or bad. They create economic prosperity, carry out genocides, uphold human rights, and create international institutions. Yes, most people recognize government as that thing that steals part of their paycheck, but it's obviously far more complex than that. Governments — especially modern ones — affect almost every aspect of our lives. Whether you believe this should be the case or not, understanding how government works is really important for understanding how the world functions. Thus, a Gov concentration also offers me flexibility in my career choice later on, whatever that may be. From markets to foreign policy and culture, Government concentrators can learn about a variety of topics, making it in my view one of the best concentrations.

CGIS might be a bit out of the way, but it's a sleek academic home base for Gov concentrators.
I’ve also loved current events ever since I was a kid. When I was in 5th grade, I drew up a peace plan for the Middle East. While giving a third of Jerusalem to The Vatican may seem weird in hindsight, it certainly was indicative of my enthusiasm for the subject. In high school, I joined the debate team, where I argued with other debaters about events of the day. Despite the weekends spent in the middle of nowhere (and yes, Yale), I loved every minute. While I also love psychology, government is the natural choice for me.

Social Studies: Cindy Li

William James Hall
Yes, it is the best view of the Harvard area.
As I toil away, making barely a dent in Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, why I am concentrating in Social Studies begins to seem more and more like a valid question. Entering Harvard, I knew that I wanted to go into business. Why not concentrate in Economics, you ask? I have one word: Ec10. More importantly, I lack the inclination to be likened to a certain scaly reptile. In all seriousness, I have always been a lover of the social sciences and didn’t want to confine myself to just economics or government or sociology or history. Coming from someone whose favorite ice cream order is “the Sampler,” Social Studies is the concentration for the one who wants it all.

Even though I still have nightmares thinking about the thesis I will one day have to write and am already groaning thinking about all the people I will have to deliver the “No, I am not concentrating in middle school history” speech to, I’m proud and excited to be declaring Social Studies.