Notre Dame junior Camilla Tassi is an ace of many trades. In addition to her dual majors in vocal performance and computer science, she balances her duties and commitments to the Liturgical Choir, plays the oboe and piano and takes roughly 21 credits per semester.
The Rover caught up with Tassi to learn about how she balances such a schedule and what the future may hold for her.
Irish Rover: As a double major with one major in a heavy math and science field and one major requiring a lot of practice time, how do you balance engineering and voice?
Tassi: The biggest thing is staying ahead of your work. What I do is I make sure that I don’t just have the homework due tomorrow done; I try to also have the homework for the followng day completed by the time the day ends, and that can be a little difficult. It’s tough to maintain that the entire semester, but that’s something I try to stay by.
And honestly, it’s just coming in and knowing this is what I want to do and this is something I’m going to commit myself to, but it’s totally doable and Notre Dame is one of the few places that makes this sort of combination more possible.
Why do you think Notre Dame makes it more possible?
When I was applying to colleges and visiting certain places, they would always tell me, “Oh, yeah, we can try to make that happen” when I would tell them, “Oh, I want to do music performance and engineering.” But Notre Dame was the only place where I talked to one of the faculty members in voice and she said, “Oh, we can definitely make that happen.” That was the first place I’d heard that.
What are the challenges of double majoring, in this combination especially?
The biggest thing is that the two colleges don’t really communicate with each other. I have two advisors, one for each major, for each college that I’m in, because music falls under Arts and Letters, and the biggest thing is you have to be the bridge between the two.
A lot of people on campus have double majors. Do you know many students who have double majors similar to yours?
I don’t hear that as much but definitely most music majors are double majors, though they typically keep it within Arts and Letters or Business just because, again, it’s simpler. I’m the only one that’s doing specifically vocal performance and computer science, but I know some people who are doing engineering and a music field. They exist, and it’s nice and other people understand.
I feel like it’s a very Notre Dame thing, that people [combine] these two very different interests (which I don’t believe are all too different from each other). I like to find the connections between the two, and Notre Dame offers a lot of that.
Why do you think double majoring at Notre Dame is such a popular route for students to take?
I think it’s because Notre Dame really focuses on people having the well-rounded education. That’s why there are university requirements, a heavier portion than at some other colleges. I think that Notre Dame cares both about the research side and the Arts & Letters side.
What do you like about the combination of engineering and voice? What drew you to that particular pair of degrees?
I think they’re both such creative majors. I work mostly with software and programming, and to me, programming is one of the most creative fields there is. You just start with a blank document and you make programs that work, that interact with a user, that draw or graph something, and music is also an extremely expressive, creative major. I’ve been working on a research project that analyzes an orchestra conductor’s movements. A program takes in all the joints and analyzes them.
For my last data research class, I helped a man who developed a music theory program that was free for people to download. I helped him add features to it, and hopefully add another perspective because many people who had helped him on the project were not music majors. So I get to see the practical sides of both majors.
What do you hope to do after graduation?
I do hope to keep both [majors] fairly equally relevant in my life. It would be nice to be involved in, again, music software sort of programs and also maybe do something like teach voice and piano on the weekends and still be involved in a choir.
Do you have any advice for someone who is looking at the fields you are studying?
For someone who wants to do a double major like this, I don’t want to say come in knowing you want to do this, but that’s what’s worked for me. I came into Notre Dame thinking, I want to do these two majors. I know it’s going to be difficult, but I’m ready to accept all the challenges that come with it.
Abigail Bartels is a sophomore in Badin Hall studying political science. Her goal in life since she was five has been to become a costumed interpreter at Plymouth Plantation. If you hear of any job openings, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.