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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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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I Don't Regret Going to Community college

Community college is not a lesser education.

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After going to college for a few years, I have learned somethings along my way. This knowledge I have gained has not always been in the classroom. I have seen the importance of different perspectives, taken chances on new experiences, and understood you decide the path you take while attending college. One thing is for sure though, to some community college is a lesser education. It is a place for dropouts, burnouts, and people who aren't "smart enough" to go to a 4-year university right off the bat.

After going through my local community college and then now attending a 4-year university, I know firsthand that these perceptions about community college are not true. I only attended school at my local community college for one year due to a once in a lifetime opportunity that I don't regret doing, but in the end, I do not regret my choice to attend community college.

It is not just about the financial differences between a 4-year university and a community college.

Yes, attending your local community college can save significant money and reduce student loans for the future, but that is not the only benefit of going to community college. For one, you get to have two different college experiences. From a smaller campus to a large university, you get to meet different people whether students or faculty, unique college cultures, and an overall new experience. Going to a community college first gives you opportunities you may not have at larger universities. In the majority of your classes, you can truly get to know your professors and classmates because of the smaller class sizes. You are not just a number. This aspect of getting to know others around me is very important to me because I come from a small rural community and high school. I wasn't sure how well the transition would go from living in a town of 200 people to attending a campus of over 40,000 people would be.

Attending a community college was a stepping stone for me of a gradual increasing educational system. Not only are the size of classes or the financial savings can be benefits of community college, but you have two extra years to grow older and wiser. You can get a chance to learn more about yourself before venturing off and being on your own. The difference between being 18 and 20 aren't huge numerically, but the personal development you do while in those two years is tremendous. In my opinion, going to a community college first gives students of all backgrounds and career goals an advantage because of financial savings, experiences. and so much more.

Trying to limit people's educational options is hurting different job sectors like the trade industry for instance, but not we are putting an unnecessary burden on students to fit into a certain mold of education. Not everyone is made for a 4-year university, but also just as important, not everyone's career goals align with a 4-year degree. Going to a trade school, getting a certificate, or obtaining an associate's degree does not lessen the person's education they gained. I am proud to have gone to community college to get some of my general education classes because in the end, this was my best decision for me. Whether you attend community college or not, don't undervalue the benefits of these opportunities can bring you.

Do your research, find your passion, and make sure the decisions you make towards your future are the best for you.

Cover Image Credit:

Corrine Harding

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