I Asked 5 College Students What Makes Their Major Special

I Asked 5 College Students What Makes Their Major Special

And yes, of course, everyone's major is special.

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I study English at the University of Delaware, so often, I get a thin view of how college life actually is and what majors are like. I'd like to think I know that engineering is hard and teaching is rewarding, but I've never really sat down and asked people why their majors are what they chose.

Until now.

I asked Brandon Cordova, a chemistry major who graduated in 2017, why his major is unique. He said that chemistry often requires analytical and being good with conceptual or abstract concepts. Not many people have both, which is why some chemistry majors like one class (organic chemistry) over another (physical chemistry).

"I often tell rising sophomores and juniors to learn a little bit about each concentration in the curriculum, but it's kind of surface and general level which makes it harder to make a decision.y major that they will likely love one of the classes and despise the others," he explained.

Cordova now works at a company called Eurofins where he tests soil and water samples to determine if companies are within EPA regulations.

"What's inspiring to me is the grand scale and the potential impact of the data we generate. Never before has the work I've done had such a large impact on the community, both on the local scale and the national scale."

Another student who is environmentally conscious is Louis Del Cueto, 21, who is a senior at the University of Delaware studying environmental science with a minor in geoscience.

He said he is not sure what he will do after school, but he wants to work for the EPA.

Del Cueto explained that the hardest thing in his major is choosing a concentration because there are And numerous areas of study, including eco-science, atmospheric science, Marine science, the critical zone (which is where Del Cueto decided to study) and several others.

"You learn a little bit about each concentration in the curriculum, but it's kind of surface and general level which makes it harder to make a decision," he said.

He did not choose his concentration until the end of his junior year.

According to Del Cueto, the future of his degree is "bright."

"Taking care of the environment will always be a major part of our world especially in present day."

Michael Criswell, a senior mechanical engineering major, told me a bit about his journey into his major.

He went into the engineering program with an undecided concentration his first semester, and took the time to explore each program before finally settling on mechanical engineering.

But it was not as easy as that. Criswell stressed the importance of being a team player.

"I've had projects where everyone was doing work, except one person due to their availability, their lack of understanding of the project or overall laziness to do the work. Making sure everyone on the team is on the same page every step of the way and keeping them motivated and accounted for are keys to a good engineering project or any project in general."

Criswell also allowed that were he able to get access to useful "CAD" (computer-aided design) software in high school, he thinks he would have been better off than learning the software as a sophomore.

But there were some achievements to speak of!

"One of my proudest moments was my sophomore design project since we won 3rd favorite design out of the whole class," he said.

"We made a toy that fit the range of motion of a child of our target age group. Also, it was a test for me on if I had learned something the first half of my college education!"

The next student I talked to might also have toys involved with their major, but it is no game.

I talked to senior Hannah Greenberg who is studying elementary education and special education.

All I knew before speaking to her was that elementary education majors often student teach in classrooms and often are required to bring in materials like books or games and build lesson plans.

There was a lot I did not know.

One major difference between majoring in elementary education and other majors is "the amount of practical experience we get. Starting freshman year, I was out helping in a classroom for one of my classes."

Greenberg noted that her passion for her major comes from having a great teacher in second grade while her concentration in special education came in high school from an experience volunteering in one particular school.

Another equally inspiring experience came this past semester. Helping a student with his writing and math goals started as a challenge, as the student did not want to do the work. By the end of the semester, he was able to do most of the tasks he was assigned.

"Watching this student grow, especially since one of the teachers who worked with wrote him off as stupid, was so inspiring. This student was able to prove that he could complete grade level tasks when given the time and support. I am so proud of what he was able to accomplish in a just a few months," Greenberg said.

Another student whose major was influenced by her personal life is Abigail Manganiello, studying history with a religious concentration (as well as a legal studies and forensic science double minor that- her words, not mine- have nothing to do with anything).

Manganiello's history major comes from "five majors beforehand before settling into this one," and the understanding that history, especially that of studying religion, was the only thing she was pursuing "wholeheartedly."

The legal studies and forensic science comes from a love of Rizzoli & Isles.

Her most inspiring experience came from right here at UD,

Her professor, Tyson Sukava, introduced her to a book, "The Golden Bough," that talked about the similarities between different religions. She noticed that a lot of them had the same core stories and concepts, just interpreted differently.

This experience started her quest for the "unlimited bounds of interpersonal dynamics."

Religion, Manganiello explains, will be vital in the future because understanding religions and how they work is important to solving conflicts.

After college, she plans to pursue a master's degree in criminal investigation (following more in the vein of her minors), and hopes to someday work in Title IX coordination or "bringing children back to their families" in investigating abductions and other severe crimes.

Whether these students are branching into something new or renewing love for the majors they are already cultivating, it is clear they are all headed towards a bright future.

I applaud everyone I talked to and all those pursuing majors that nourish their minds, bodies, and souls.

Thank you, and see you next week!

Cover Image Credit:

Abigail Hunter

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10 Things Someone Who Grew Up In A Private School Knows

The 10 things that every private school-goer knows all too well.

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1. Uniforms

Plaid. The one thing that every private school-goer knows all too well. It was made into jumpers, skirts, shorts, scouts, hair ties, basically anything you could imagine, the school plaid was made into. You had many different options on what to wear on a normal day, but you always dreaded dress uniform day because of skirts and ballet flats. But it made waking up late for school a whole lot easier.

2. New people were a big deal

New people weren't a big thing. Maybe one or two a year to a grade, but after freshman year no one new really showed up, making the new kid a big deal.

3. You've been to school with most of your class since Kindergarten


Most of your graduating class has been together since Kindergarten, maybe even preschool, if your school has it. They've become part of your family, and you can honestly say you've grown up with your best friends.

4. You've had the same teachers over and over

Having the same teacher two or three years in a row isn't a real surprise. They know what you are capable of and push you to do your best.

5. Everyone knows everybody. Especially everyone's business.

Your graduating class doesn't exceed 150. You know everyone in your grade and most likely everyone in the high school. Because of this, gossip spreads like wildfire. So everyone knows what's going on 10 minutes after it happens.

6. Your hair color was a big deal

If it's not a natural hair color, then forget about it. No dyeing your hair hot pink or blue or you could expect a phone call to your parents saying you have to get rid of it ASAP.

7. Your school isn't like "Gossip Girl"

There is no eating off campus for lunch or casually using your cell phone in class. Teachers are more strict and you can't skip class or just walk right off of campus.

8. Sports are a big deal

Your school is the best of the best at most sports. The teams normally go to the state championships. The rest of the school that doesn't play sports attends the games to cheer on the teams.

9. Boys had to be clean-shaven, and hair had to be cut

If you came to school and your hair was not cut or your beard was not shaved, you were written up and made to go in the bathroom and shave or have the head of discipline cut your hair. Basically, if you know you're getting written up for hair, it's best just to check out and go get a hair cut.

10. Free dress days were like a fashion show

Wearing a school uniform every day can really drive you mad. That free dress day once a month is what you lived for. It was basically a fashion show for everyone, except for those upperclassmen who were over everything and just wore sweat pants.

Cover Image Credit: Authors Photos

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Coping With The Loss Of A Passion

It's hard to get it back once you lose it.

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In college, time to focus on passions seems limited. The homework, essays, group projects, and exams are never-ending.

In high school, I took my free time for granted. I was dancing four hours four nights a week, but I wasn't constantly stressed. I had time to focus on my passion, which is dance.

In college, I am a part of an amazing dance club. But I don't get to compete, take technique classes, or be with the team I was with since I was 8 years old. Now, I receive videos of my team from home's amazing performances, and it aches a bit. I am so proud and happy for their growth but jealous that they have more years than I do. It is nearly impossible to find technique classes at college to take with no car, little free time, and barely any money. I miss my team, I miss my dance teachers and choreographers, and I miss competitions, but most of all, I miss the person I was when I had the opportunity to pursue my passion several hours a week.

My passion will always be there, and I do get to pursue dance on a smaller scale with some amazing dancers in college, but I am coping with the fact that I will never do another competition with my team again, I will never be able to dance with them again, and I will never be able to learn from my dance teachers again. It's a hard loss, one that I think about every day.

To anyone who still has the opportunities to pursue their passions to the fullest extent, you are lucky. Not everyone gets the chance to keep up with their sport, passion, or activity that they dedicated all of their time to in high school. Don't take a single second of it for granted, and remember why you are doing what you are doing. Take time to reflect on why you love it so much, how it makes you feel, and how you can express yourself during it. Whatever this passion or activity is, make every second count.

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