“I have no idea what I want to do in life, how am I supposed to choose a major?!”

This was my first thought as I sat down in Charlie Murphy’s office, who is the RC Director of Academic Services, to build my incoming freshman year schedule during Summer Orientation. Being a first-gen student, I had little experience with how college works, and I was freaking out.

I feel like many people may think, well at least I thought, that the only majors available to me that would actually make me money are your general Bio, Chem, and Psych. This definitely made me anxious while trying to make my first-year schedule because oooffff ya girl is NOT a science person. So, I decided to focus more on RC Intensive Spanish and took an introductory Psych class based on Charlie’s recommendation. 

My biggest achievement during my freshman year was honestly learning about how college works. Through my advisors (shoutout to Chauncey Williams from CSP, and the various advisors I’ve worked with here in the RC), I learned that I could major in anything I wanted and still have an opportunity to go to grad school and become a professional in a separate field. They also told me that I have a lot of time to decide, and that I can chip away at my general requirements first. So that’s what I did.

Taranbir at the annual RC Cider Mill Trip, October 2019

I came into the RC with 3 years of high school Spanish under my belt. My only real focus was to learn the language and fulfill the requirement. 

Through RC Intensive Spanish, however, I learned so much more than just the language. I learned about different cultures, different issues, and how I can make a change with my new language skills. This connection led me to consider a major in Spanish. It also helped that I already had 16 credits of Spanish done through the RC Intensive 1 and 2 classes, and that I was on my way to completing 4 more through Cristian’s Spanish Readings class.

The RC also provides so much when it comes to programs where you can use your language in the real world. After I passed proficiency, I took a step I never thought I would take; I signed up to be a tutor in PALMA, which is the Proyecto Avance, Latino Mentoring Association, and enrolled in the Spanish Language Internship Program (SLIP). Both of these programs gave me the opportunity to interact with and help the local Latinx community through my newfound language skills.

But not only was I using my language skills, I was also discovering my second major.

While participating in these programs, I learned how much I value working in the community, and making a positive change in someone’s life. I learned that community engagement is something I’m really passionate about. I not only loved taking classes that allowed me to keep working in the community, I realized I may want to do this work as a career. That’s why I am currently planning on double majoring in Social Theory and Practice, and Spanish. 

Now, looking back to my freshman days sitting in Charlie Murphy’s office and all my other wonderful advisors, I am so glad that I had the opportunity to have accessible advising. I honestly feel like it is due to this advising that I am happily on track to complete my requirements while doing something I genuinely love. I would like to give a huge thank you to everybody that has helped me so far, and I look forward to scheduling another advising appointment soon!

Taranbir, second from left, with a group of RC friends at the Michigan Pops Orchestra concert, December 2019

About the author

Second-year student Taranbir Kaur hails from Westland, Michigan. Her RC Language is Spanish, and she is interested in majoring in Spanish and Social Theory & Practice. Her extracurricular activities include being co-treasury chair of the Sikh Student Association, being a tutor in PALMA, and being a co-leader of RC Dance Forum. She was originally drawn to the RC by its language program, but what stole her heart was the community engagement style classes, the interdisciplinary style learning, and the creative, wonderful community she found here in the RC.