Once upon a time – two whole years ago – on a computer no longer alive, I found the professional writing minor. Only through poking, exploring and chancing random links on the school Web site was I able to find a list of UCSB’s offered minors. Most minors aren’t advertised well, if at all. How do we get the most out of these programs if we don’t know they exist?

Maybe you’re one of the lucky few to magically find a minor. Or, maybe, like most of the UCSB population, you weren’t fortunate or informed enough to undertake a minor. The latter is common, for the school doesn’t promote or advertise minors, almost as if it is intentionally obscuring these secondary degrees. Who knows – maybe there isn’t a UC profit involved with minors.

With 38 minors to choose from, most UCSB students could potentially find a minor to suit their majors or extend the scope of their education. Obtaining a minor requires relatively few additional units – sometimes, 18 units are all it takes. Besides the relative ease of acquiring a minor, completing one can help reflect “well-rounded interests,” as brags the almost impossible to find section regarding minors in the UCSB General Catalog.

Not only do minors offer a chance to diversify our transcripts, but the programs can also help us fulfill those imposed elective units, which are more required than elective. If your UC grade point average is under a 2.0, don’t expect to participate in any minor program. Someone with a D average should probably focus his or her efforts on graduating on time. If you’re one of these people, remember you can’t list “Alcohol and Slacker Studies” on any résumé or graduate announcements.

A list of minors can be found somewhere in the online UCSB General Catalog. I was trying to find the address, but after scavenging the site for a second time, the list seems just as elusive. Happening upon the site the first time, I did make a note of some of the more interesting minor paths. The physics department offers a minor in Astronomy and Planetary Science – and no, you under 2.0 students, this is not the study of Geminis versus Scorpios.

Resident meatheads can minor in one of the four tracks the Exercise and Sport Studies Dept. offers. If the ever-moral Patriots Coach Bill Belichick makes you eager to whip out a camera, consider a minor in athletic coaching. Bodybuilders and future 24-Hour Fitness trainers may be intrigued by a minor in fitness instruction, while you future Clippers owners could take advantage of the sport management program.

Interested in continuing the United States’ legacy of Global Peace and Security? Want to help invade another Middle Eastern country while ignoring the malaria-ridden, starving, begging for aid, left-up-to Brangelina Africans? Then here’s the minor for you! Maybe you want to put four years of high school language to good use. The College of Letters and Science offers several languages to minor in, among them French, Spanish, Portuguese and, for those of you tired of your dubbed hentai, even Japanese.

Those of you resigned to a $40,000-a-year salary should consider minoring in mathematics for high school teaching. What could be more fun than teaching a bunch of ninth graders how to graph parabolas on their overpriced TI-107? Or better yet, get the minor so you can write Tina Fey and tell her the mathlete problem about limits in “Mean Girls” makes no sense. If the limit doesn’t approach anything, then it doesn’t exist? By that logic, I can also deduce that if my bank account approaches nothing, then food doesn’t exist.

And then there’s the coolest minor ever – the professional writing minor, which offers three emphases: professional editing, technical/multimedia communication and business communication. The competitive program admits only 25 students per track. These days, considering the small number of people capable of grammatically sound writing, this minor may prove more worthwhile than even your major.

Since the university doesn’t seem eager to promote these minors, make sure to try to find the list of minors online. If you can’t find it, chances are you won’t receive a minor. If you do, congratulations! Bookmark the site as soon as you find it. Like the great moving Isle of Atlantis, the site never surfaces in the same place twice.