I began my Tufts career, dear blogosphere, without so much as a notion of what I planned to study. Guesses ranged as far as cognitive and brain science to anthropology. I took courses in psychology, religion, child development, computer science, Italian, German, and more. And yet, with all this variety, I found myself still unsure of what I should declare as my major.
A year and a half in, and the clock began to tick towards the declaration date. Thinking deeply about my interests, I began to realize that my passion and enthusiasm lies in understanding language – not just theoretically, but in all aspects of life, be it education, psychology, anthropology. I want to understand how we connect words to meaning in our very wiring, how the language of a culture can shape their understanding of the world around them, how to children begin with no words and eventually learn full adult vocabularies. I want to learn to speak multiple languages like a native, how to effectively teach children a second language.
Here, then, I came upon a problem. Linguistics is only offered as a minor at Tufts. Just six classes could never teach me all that I want to know, and would not allow me to fully draw on Tufts’ amazing resources in the field! How ever would I pursue my passions?
Simple: I created my own major through the Interdisciplinary Studies Center, entitled Applied Linguistics. (Applied so as to include more than just theory, all the aspects and implications of which I spoke above)
Ok so it’s not as simple as all that, you can’t just string together a bunch of courses willy-nilly. In fact, you have to write an essay justifying your major, choose a specific number of courses, find three advisors from different departments who are willing to work with you, plan a thesis, and build a bibliography. But I was lucky enough to find three very supportive advisors, all of whom worked with me until we had a well-crafted proposal that we felt confident to present before a panel from the ISC.
SO IF YOU COME TO TUFTS and discover we don’t offer what you want to study, you don’t have to transfer, just make your own way!
What do you guys want to study?