You, like many students, changed your major. What was that experience like?
I’m a North Carolina Teaching Fellow, and the support I received from Teaching Fellows here at ECU made it easy. I told them that I wanted to change my major, because I had no idea who else to talk to. They told me which advisor I needed to speak to, and between my new advisor and the Teaching Fellows staff, I was able to get my major changed through the university registrar.
Would you encourage students to be open to changing their majors?
I am very glad I did it. My new major is a much better fit for me. It is so much more important to be studying what you really want to study in school. If I had stayed in my original degree program, I’d be stuck with a career choice that I decided on when I was 17 years old. It is ridiculous to keep a major just because you are afraid changing to something else may take longer. Yes, I will be graduating late because I changed my major, but I also made the best decision for me, personally, and it’s one that I can live with the rest of my life.
What academic opportunities has ECU afforded you as an undergraduate student?
I had the opportunity to present a research paper I had written for my American Revolution and the Federalist Era class, through Phi Alpha Theta, the history honors society. The paper looked at what was going on at the intersection of the art community during the American Revolution and what’s going on in the political community. When you look at the arts during that time you see a lot of the political ideas—such as this idea of what it is to be an American, and whether we should we even call ourselves Americans. At the time it was a brand new and very controversial idea. You see those ideas showing up in the arts before they are even written about or discussed in the political community. You see songs being written that glorify the idea of an American destiny that focus on America instead of the British Empire, which is very unique for that time. You see poetry that talks about America as the future empire of the arts in the world, at the time when there is not even an idea of America as a country yet. And so I was able to look at what I knew from my art history knowledge and what I knew about arts in general, and look at that and say, "Okay, what is this community doing in this time period in history." I was able to bring my two academic interests together in that paper.