College of Arts & Science & University Studies
Andrew Gantt: "This is What Works for Me Right Now"
(In this video senior Andrew Gantt, a major in individualized studies, describes how his experiences at Miami led him to a completely different major than the one he was planning.)
"When I came to Miami I was really super decided about what I was going to study. I came in after a very rigorous marketing program in high school and was convinced that I wanted to be a business major. I came in and I was gung ho — a triple major in business and all kind of stuff.
"As it went along, I started doing some of the pre-reqs for the business school and just kind of realized that might not be what was best for me, and that I was looking for something a little more — I don't know — fulfilling in a way to do, so I started looking around.
"I've always had a passion for foreign languages, and things like that, so I looked at that. I looked at politics — I looked at probably four or five different majors before I finally settle on the Western Program and Individualized Studies, where I got to create my own individual plan. While I was doing that, I actually went abroad for a year. I spent a year in Brazil, and upon coming back, and had almost done an entire other major without even having planned to do it, which helped me lead to that.
"Basically, my time at Miami has been one of learning to follow your passion; do what you love, and if you do that you'll really end up finding what fits you the best.
"I would encourage all students to attend the Majors Fair here at Miami, just because of the fact that at our university there are just so many different majors that are offered that it's really impossible for you to come in and say that 'I'm just going to do this one thing,' without looking at the other options. Going to the fair, seeing lots of different people, learning about all of your different options, is really going to benefit you and it's going to give you that option to see if what you're doing is really going to fit for you.
"You're going to see, 'Are there people who do this major who have that look of doing something that they really love to do; and then you're going to know 'Am I doing something that does that for me, or should I change and move around and explore a bit better?' Going to the fair is the best way to do that.
"Throughout my career at Miami, I've been looking through the different academic fields and trying to find out what I would really want to do after I graduate. What you want to study is one thing but knowing what you want to do with your life, that's a whole other question. Over the years, I've kind of come to the determination that working with the government, working with international affairs, things like that, is something I really want to do; and going abroad and traveling is something that I really love to do.
"Through my program as an Individualized Studies major, along with the Latin American Studies major, I've had the chance to go out and explore different parts of the world; I've studied abroad and I really got to know people in other places and see what they did, and that helped me keep an open mind about the possibilities out there — whether graduate school was the right option for me. I've decided that I would really like to pursue, for right now at least, the path of going to the Peace Corps because I'm not sure if I want graduate school right now or if I'd like to work for the government.
"Through these different experiences I've had in my educational career, it's given me the opportunity to say, 'You know, I can just kind of go with the flow sometimes and say okay, here's the option that works for me right now.' Sometimes it's impossible to say, 'In 20 years, this is what I want,' but you can really feel it sometimes when you're well educated about the options, to say, 'This is what works for me right now.'"