Finding Your Own Map
Written by: Traci Brooks
As summer becomes more of a reality, students at the University of Oregon leave their notebooks behind to enjoy a break from the classroom. Luggage is tossed in the backseat of the cars, storage unites are filling up with the past years memories, and students put their brains on hold as they get ready for a time of relaxation and fun. Maps are being used to help students find their way back home. However, not all students are using maps for that specific purpose. For some, they will open a map to a place they have never been before, a map that does not lead their way home, but their way to a new adventure. For Caroline Hayes, a student going to be an incoming senior at the University of Oregon, she studies the map that will help her way around an unforgettable summer. As she studies the different intersections of Ireland, she leaves her science tools behind and gets ready to emerge herself into her Irish heritage all because she fell in love with an Irish dance class. She prepares herself, as she leaves the country that she knows and loves and steps into a country of mystery. A journey that so many students hope to take especially when they leave high school and step into the new world of opportunities, college.
Students leaving high school disperse into the world; ready to take the next step into their future. This is the time where young adults leave their nest and embark on a new adventure, finding themselves and learning where they will fit into the world. College gives students the opportunity to apply themselves in any way they would like. It is a time where students challenge themselves, push their limits, and experience life out of their comfort zone. Students also have the opportunity to learn outside the classroom and in a different country. The study abroad program offers many different opportunities; it makes it hard for students to go through college without it even crossing their minds.
Carline Hayes, a junior majoring in Human physiology with a minor in chemistry, came to the University of Oregon one step ahead of her class; she knew from the start what career she wanted and how she was going to get there. Being a in the medical field has always been her dream; it all started when she was little and she got to watch her mother be a neonatal intensive care unit nurse; someone who takes care of pre mature babies in the intensive care unite center. Her love for children made her want to become a physician’s assistant, a person who works beneath a doctor but has almost the same tasks as a doctor.
“ If I needed to be checked out for school, or needed a prescription for medication, I could go to a physician’s assistant,” Hayes says, “ But the good thing about becoming a physician’s assistant as well is I will not have to go to school as long as a doctor would have to go through.”
The University of Oregon offers a diverse selection of majors for students to pick. At the beginning of freshman year, students begin their general education; this helps the undecided students be pointed in different directions and may even help decided students discover a new passion. However, for the students who know what they want can map out their entire college career, starting with easy general education classes leading up to more challenging upper division classes for their major. Students that choose a science major already have the next four years planned out, including what general education classes they need to fulfill. With such compacted and constricting schedules, students in the science department may risk missing out on different opportunities the University of Oregon has to offer.
“It was nice and comforting knowing that I already had an idea what my college career was going to be like,” Hayes says. “The one thing I told myself that I must so is study abroad, but because the Human physiology criteria is so compacted and so strict, I thought I was not going to be able to have the opportunity.”
Studying abroad is one of the opportunities that students have when they come to school. At the University of Oregon, the study abroad programs seem endless. They are even places for students to go for internships. But according to some students, not all the study abroad programs fit the criteria for all majors. According to Alex Chase, a sophomore who is a general science major, believes specifically for science majors it is harder to study abroad. Not only are the general requirements so constricted, but also there are no programs in the study abroad program in general that could accommodate a science major. That is not the only place students are complaining about.
Leaving the home of the Ducks and moving on up to Oregon State University, the home of the Beavers, students seem to be complaining of the same issue. Zac Berger, a senior at the University of Oregon studying marine biology with a minor in chemistry, volunteers as a study abroad advisor. He is the person a student would go to if they were interested in studying abroad, but did not know which program to use. Berger would be the person to talk to about all the different options a student has and which programs benefit certain majors.
“Being a science major myself, it is a little frustrating that there is not as many options compared to what a Spanish major has”, Berger says, “but that should not be the reason a student misses the chance to study abroad.”
He explains how if students with a science major map out their schedule well enough and stick to it, meaning they do not change it, they could have the opportunity to take a break and take a few classes that has nothing to do with their major. He began volunteering because he wanted to learn more about the programs himself. Hopefully, he could figure out a way for students with a passion for science, could have the opportunity with different options. Berger, who is a member of Greek life at Oregon Sate University as a Lambda Chi Alpha, helps encourage his brothers to study abroad as well.
“I went to Germany for a term and it was the best decision I made,” Berger says, “I came to college with a goal that I was going to push my comfort zone and explore a place by myself so I would be forced to meet new people and learn new things. Even though I risked falling behind, it was worth it”
Luckily for Hayes, since she knew her schedule, she could make time for a new adventure. But for Alex Chase, she is worried that time will play against her and that since there are too many requirements as a science major, she may miss out on the opportunity.
“Normally when people study abroad they can take classes that help their requirements for their major,” Chase says, “ Unfortunately, there are no programs that I have found that would allow me to take classes in another country that would help me for my major.”
Other students did not mind risking staying longer in school, if it meant they were able to study abroad. Daniel Shepherd, Matthew Shepherd, and Casey Farmer decided they were going to risk not being able to graduate with their class so they could study abroad. To push it even more, they all decided they would apply for the semester at sea program. This is a program where not only students study abroad, but also they are gone for 2 out of the 3 terms where they will be studying on a cruise ship that will take them to 11 different countries.
“When we saw this program, we knew that this is what we wanted to do,” says Daniel Shepherd, “For me, I knew I was not going to let my major hold me back and miss this opportunity with my closest friends, even if it means I have to graduate a year later.”
Even though Daniel is a general science major, his brother is an accountant major, which takes five years. Even luckier, his best friend Casey just wants to be able to graduate with this two best friends from his childhood and is taking his time with college. They all agree that college is the only time in life when they will be able to take opportunities like this and not have any responsibilities, other than to pass their classes. Given the opportunity, no matter where a student attends school; one thing all students have in common is the opportunity to study abroad. Some sacrifices may have to be made, but students that have had the opportunity to step outside this country agree that it is a life changing experience.
Interview with Caroline Hayes
Q: Coming to college, did you have an idea what you wanted to study?
A:I wanted to be a doctor for children, but I have not thought that far as deciding what specialty I want to do. My mom was a neonatal intensive care unit nurse, where they take care of premature babies, which is where I knew I wanted to work with children.
Q: What made you want to come to the University of Oregon?
A: My oldest brother and dad went here, so it was nice to keep it in the family. I feel like Oregon is that perfect college town; it has Greek life, great sports, and so many great programs to get involved with.
Q: Did knowing what you wanted to be coming into college, make it easier for you to plan everything out?
A: Yes, especially for the science majors. If you come to college not knowing you want to be a science major, you are already setting yourself up for staying longer than four years. The first two years are completely planned out, every human physiology and biology major all take the same classes freshman and sophomore year.
Q: Are you aware of the different Study Abroad programs that the University offers?
A: I do and I am actually studying abroad this summer. I am going to Ireland and I am excited because I am putting science on hold and taking classes that have nothing to do with my major. I picked Ireland because I took an Irish dance class and just fell in love with the music and wanted to know more about the culture.
Q: Since the classes are so planned out, do you think it is possible for students to be able to have the opportunity to study abroad during the school year?
A: No way, even for human physiology majors. This year they actually made a different requirement list, which is much more flexible. But it is still so planned out. The only thing that I can think of to make studying abroad possible would be if somehow students got ahead of their classes.
Q: Was there any place you could not go to because of your major?
A: Yes, there was one science program, I think it allowed students to take different chemistry classes and it was in France. I have always wanted to go to France; however, you had to know French because the classes were all taught in French. Chemistry is hard enough in English, I could not even imagine taking it in a different language.
Daniel Shepherd is a junior at the University of Oregon, majoring in general science that hopefully one day will be able to become a Vet. His love for animals has helped him conquer the grueling hours of chemistry homework and other tough science classes he has been required to take. His goal is to hopefully one day open his own Veterinary hospital in his hometown because he complains that the closest one is 30 minutes away. He has two dogs at home and worries that if they were every sick or if anything were to happen to them, saving them would be difficult because of the commute.
He is aware of the competition of veterinary school. As an undergraduate, he entered school hoping to find other students who share the same passion of animals as he does. His freshman year, he joined Greek life in the fraternity of Sigma Pi where he would be joined with his best friend since he was seven, but best of all, his twin brother.
Meeting new people was never a problem for him; he admits that it was easier because his younger twin brother was a social butterfly. However, he felt that it was time for him to make his own name, to be his own person. In the dorms, he gathered all the science majors together and formed weekly study groups. He thought that it would help him stay on top of his studies, along with helping everyone else.
When it was time to move out of the dorms, he still made it his goal to continue on creating science study groups in his fraternity. This has helped keep him motivated, which has led to him staying on top of his classes and not loosing sight of his goal.