As a meridian, I interact with prospective students on a weekly basis, responding to their queries and presenting UR as the best choice for pursuing their college education. UR’s Undergraduate Admissions Web site claims: “At Rochester, you build your own curriculum with your own unique strengths and interests? You study only what you are passionate about.” Indeed, on tour, I am sure to adequately explain the cluster system and am quick to point out how relieved I was to skip Biology 110.

When I decided to come to UR, I knew my academic interests focused on English, music and anthropology. Freshman year, while my high school friends were taking introductory chemistry and history courses, I enrolled in music theory, a Quest anthropology class and an upper-level English course on Dante.

Even though I was able to jump into classes that captured my interests, it still has taken me a year and half to discover what I actually want to do. The idea came to me after a trip abroad in Malawi. While recording various vocal performances and interviews, I realized that my interests in anthropology and music were linked. Since neither individual major satisfied my needs, I began to consider the possibility of an interdepartmental major: ethnomusicology. Don’t worry, English is still in the mix as a minor or second major.

The trick to creating an interdepartmental major is that it must be sufficiently different from existing programs offered by UR. Over winter break, I mapped out courses I definitely should take, alternative classes in case one was not offered and ones I simply thought sounded fun. My master plan included tentative plans for a possible minor in African and African-American-Studies and even a potential Take Five Program.

Upon my return to Rochester, I set up a meeting with a counselor at the Center for Study Abroad and Interdepartmental Studies. I felt extremely prepared: I had already drafted my potential curriculum and had checked out the center’s Web site, which included detailed information regarding the process for creating an interdepartmental major as well as sample proposals that had been approved.

After my visit, though, I came away with little new information. While I received a thorough explanation about the process, I was hoping for thoughtful criticism and advice. Every student has different needs. For students still looking for advisers or seeking constructive feedback on prepared content, the office should be able to provide more individualized, active assistance to help facilitate the process.

Furthermore, proposals are only considered twice yearly. This semester’s deadline is April 1, and students should not expect to hear back until the end of the month. When I register for classes on April 8, do I gamble and enroll in courses that fulfill my interdepartmental major requirements or default to my backup major? At a college that encourages its students to study what they are passionate about, it seems only fair that my hard work to establish my goal be met with equal consideration.

I know that developing the ideal major takes self-initiative; however, that does not mean the task should be totally self-directed. Creating your own major is never a straight line and is likely to remain a work in progress. Aspirations lie not in what is already established but what has yet to be achieved.

Squires is a member of the class of 2010.



Orange Line service increases amid student dissatisfaction

The start of the semester saw the Orange Line overwhelmed, as five morning buses couldn't match the demands of students heading to campus.

Learning to say “I love you”

Grief is a fickle thing. One second, you feel fine, and the next it pierces the fibers of your soul with such precision you don’t know if you’re terrified or grateful of the feelings it elicits.

Quiz: Should you overload next semester?

Do you have friends/a social life? "A. If my laptop, iPad, and three-foot stack of biology notes count, then yes."