Student-Designed Majors Recommend Taking the Non-Traditional Route

By Nicole Osborne 

Students attending college have the opportunity to choose a major or minor from an established list provided by the institution. The majority of students choose from the list, as it seems to be the only option when earning a degree. What most individuals do not  know is that there are more options available. At SMCM, student-designed majors, or SDMs, give students the opportunity to create their own majors and explore topics that cannot be  understood from one vantage point. Students develop expertise in a particular field or area of study through courses across multiple disciplines offered by the college such as environmental studies, neuroscience, museum studies and more. This type of degree provides students with the ability to take their own initiative and earn a degree in a field of interest not already established at the college. SDM has the same coursework, research opportunities, and internships as any other major. Examples of SDMs include geography, public health, criminal justice, African studies, linguistics and many more. Junior Emily Shrieves says “I designed my own major in Political Communications. Student-designed majors (SDM) are something I truly recommend to students who feel the College’s current programs do not entirely serve their particular academic or professional interests.” 

Those who choose a student-designed major have a different process to go through compared to a traditional major. Students with SDMs are required to participate in a proposal and approval process where the student writes a written proposal about their desired major then they must seek out two academic advisors from two areas of study to contribute to the major. Then, the designed major proposal makes its way to the advisory committee where the formal approval process begins. First-year student Melanie Aguilar says “I feel like being able to design a major in such a small school that doesn’t offer [many] majors is a great thing. Although this is my first year I feel like they have reached out and have made it so much easier.” The process can be overwhelming but it is important to note that there are various academic advisors who can aid and guide students through the student-designed major process, ensuring all checkpoints are covered.
 Overall, choosing a student-designed major is a wonderful opportunity to enhance and enrich your college education as you are able to take initiative in an area of study where expertise is obtained. The SDM provides a unique learning experience and promotes a wide variety of diverse skills for the student’s future. Shrieves says “One tip I have for students who are interested is to start early! By the time I seeked out advisors, wrote the proposal, edited the proposal based on recommendations, and had it reviewed by the Curriculum Review Committee, it took about one academic year. Some SDM’s are more intensive than others, so it may move slower or faster depending on that. They also must be formally approved by the end of your Sophomore year!”

Pet Feature: Bean the Guinea Pig

By  Madeleine Phillips

If you have ever been on YikYak, you have probably heard of Bean (the guinea pig, not the things that used to be outside of the Learning Commons). As most likely for all of us, his favorite things to do are eat and sleep. However, he does have his share of quirks. If you crinkle a bag around him, or open a container of food around him, be prepared for squeaking that will not stop until you have given him a treat. And make sure it is a strawberry banana treat or timothy hay–those are his favorites. If you do, you may get to witness Bean’s “happy hops,” which he only does when he is really happy, or when he has eaten something really good. Although you will not see him around campus (he is a bit of a homebody), keep your eyes peeled for updates about him on YikYak–seeing him may just make your day.