Quadruple major with three jobs selected as student marshal

Giselle Logan
April 19, 2018

Jayme Rhoads has been chosen to represent Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese during the College of the Liberal Arts commencement ceremony on May 5.

Jayme is a workaholic. She's currently holding down three jobs—a hostess/server, a French and Italian tutor for Penn State Learning, and an ESL tutor at a local tutoring company—all while keeping up with her studies and her honors thesis.

“I like to keep busy because I love feeling productive, but yet I definitely take time to relax and enjoy the simple things in life like baking homemade sourdough bread,” said Rhoads. In addition to being a hard worker, Rhoads is an animal lover. She recently adopted a cat named Garbanzo who is like a son to her.

Rhoads will receive four degrees next month in French and Francophone Studies, Global and International Studies, Italian, and Comparative Literature. Anytime she tells someone she has four majors she is often met with a response of shock, and they say that she must be an over-achiever.

"The funny thing is that I am most certainly not an over-achiever. I just followed my passions, and I took scheduling very seriously," said Rhoads.

When Rhoads arrived at Penn State her first year, she only wanted to pursue one major—French. However, as a requirement to be in the Paterno Fellows Program she needed at least two majors. Then she added a third one and later happened to fall in love with the Italian language. Now, she has four. Jayme credits her academic adviser, Julianna Chaszar, who was extremely helpful and the primary reason why Rhoads was able to fit in so many majors.

When asked which of the four was her favorite major, Jayme picked Italian, which happens to be the last major she added. She said, "I started with taking beginner level Italian classes during my freshman year just for fun." Her love of Italian outgrew her love and passion for French.

"It all came to me so easily, so I looked forward to taking more and more Italian classes. I began to feel like I was cheating on my original love, the French language, but I couldn't help myself. The professors in the Italian department made me feel so welcomed and appreciated, and being a part of the Italian department made me feel like I wasn't just one student in a giant sea that is the Penn State student body."

Rhoads added, "And not to sound dramatic but the upper-level Italian courses that I took were life-changing. From reading Dante's La Vita Nuova to analyzing contemporary Italian masterpieces, I learned so much about the world around me and about myself. Of course, I also had some amazing literary breakthroughs in my French classes, but there was something special about studying Italian here with these wonderful professors that added so much to my time at Penn State."

Rhoads also studied abroad in France and Italy and is a member of the Gamma Kappa Alpha Italian Honor Society and the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.

What does life after college look like for Jayme?  "Exciting!” she said, “but not in a conventional way."

Jayme and her boyfriend are going against societal norms. They're not looking to take exquisite vacations, live in a big house, or get fancy jobs. "We are opting to live la dolce vita our own way: by homesteading on our organic farm." Rhoads will also continue to be an ESL tutor in State College and will be working toward getting her trilingual children's book published. 

“The diversity of my courses gave me the ability to explore a multitude of options, and that's why I feel as though there are so many professional paths I could take."

This is the second in a series of stories on the 22 student marshals representing the College of the Liberal Arts at the spring 2018 commencement ceremony.

  • Jayme Rhoads head shot

    State College native Jayme Rhoads has managed to complete four majors while holding down three jobs.

    IMAGE: Chuck Fong

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Last Updated April 19, 2018