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Student Story: Apoorva Sarmal – How I Chose My Major

September 2013 : When I walked into my first Advisor’s appointment I was exhilarated, jet lagged  and trying to memorize all the things I had learnt during orientation. At that point in time, I was aware of what a Liberal Arts education was but I wasn’t quite sure of its varied dynamics. Upon meeting my advisor, he handed me a booklet explaining the requirements all university students must meet in order to graduate. It explained very clearly the categories and the sub-categories as well as the courses offered in each one of them.
In my first semester I declared myself a Communications major with an emphasis in Public Relations. I thought this wasn’t going to change because I had been contemplating this decision for a long time now. I walked right into the Division of Communications office, signed some paperwork to begin my course. The courses I took up during this period were: freshman English, higher level Math, Macroeconomics and one course I was personally interested in – Theatre Appreciation. I was a former drama student in Delhi, so that course particularly caught my eye and this is the best part – it completed one of my requirements!!!
I made sure to get to class before time, very enthused to participate in live drama! As the professor walked on stage for the first time, he announced how this was not a drama class and informed us how we will be learning about medieval theatre and how theatre has progressed over the years.
I still cherish learning and appreciating Theatre, even though I am not majoring in it and most of all; the course helped me make many friends who are in our university’s Theatre program and I am in constant touch with the professor. So here is the thing about a Liberal Arts Education – not only do you get options in a variety of subjects, but you also get to connect with people who are outside of your major and network with everyone.
In my second semester, I had familiarized myself with the system and I knew I wanted to enroll in certain courses that caught my interest. With an experience of 5 years in French during my school years, I was trying to find a way to incorporate that into my degree. While I was walking around the Language Department, I knocked on the door of the Assistant Professor of French, Ms. David; she gladly invited me in and I told her all about my interest in the language. She directed me to the Language Office and advised me to take the Foreign Language Placement Test to verify what I had studied earlier. I scheduled for a test immediately and ended up getting retroactive credits! I took Ms. David’s class that semester and I am so happy that I did, because her style of teaching revived my love for the language and I decided to minor in French.
Towards the end of my second semester, I made a change to my major in Communications because the Management classes made me realize how passionate I am for Administration. When I tell my friends in Delhi how I just needed to walk from office A to office B to change my major, they come to know and understand how liberal arts is awesome! It allowed me to take a range of courses so I could identify my real interests and pursue them in detail. The test-taking schemes are also very pragmatic, rather than memorizing facts one is forced to analyze, research and express their feelings/beliefs in their own words.
My conversation with Ms. Miranda is something that you should know about; she was a senior when I was a second semester freshman and we were discussing about the courses she had enrolled in and reply she mentioned: Scuba Diving, Rock Climbing and two other courses. Surprising?? Turns out, Miranda had saved the best for the last. She had been great at planning her undergraduate career and she always peppered in courses with a lot of work and fun classes. There are a lot of different classes offered at UWSP; from Stress Management to Beginner’s Swim, Rock Climbing to Diving!
At UWSP, my classroom experience has been unconventional for the most part. Professors definitely make more of an effort to make their classes fun and interesting hence spicing up the traditional learning experience.
In my introduction to Management class the professor explained to us the theories of Management by ancient historians and theorists using the minions (from the movie Despicable ME). Not only did that make it absolutely hilarious, it was easier for all of us to retain the information. Like every other student, I had many concerns about how my classes and professors will be but now rest assured, I can say that after a smooth and successful year; that the faculty at UWSP goes above and beyond to help their students and long-lasting relationships are developed with professors and peers by just sharing a 12-week course.
I am definitely looking forward to learning the courses that I am enrolled in and signing up for courses which are different. Here is the best part about being in an American Liberal Learning setting – nothing is out of reach!
Contact me or the IKC to make your dream of being in that lecture hall come alive :)

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