Oxy: Adventure, Community, Home
Blogger: Kate Coursey
1. Do research. Do research of any kind, even if it’s just for one semester. Research allows you to get out and apply your skills in the real world. It’s a chance to pursue a project you find fascinating. Next semester, I’ll be continuing my work with antibody-producing hybridomas in Dr. Pollock’s immunology lab. We’re gathering the necessary data to develop a vaccine against C. pseudotuberculosis, a bacteria that causes pigeon fever in horses. Immunology certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for me, there’s nothing cooler than conducting original research that could someday make an impact in the real world. Oxy provides unparalleled opportunities for undergraduate research, both paid and for credit. Don’t let those opportunities go to waste!
2. Study abroad. I went abroad over the past two summers, both times at an intensive language institute in Jaipur, India. I not only improved my Hindi skills, but I got to experience a culture drastically different from my own. I learned how to travel alone, deal with illness in a foreign country, and adapt to less than ideal situations (the heat, for one). From being harassed at 3:00 a.m. on an overnight train by Shiva pilgrims to swimming in the holy river Ganges where it leaves the Himalayas, I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything. Oxy is highly supportive of study abroad programs, with more than half of the student body studying in another country. Opportunities such as these provide an extra dimension to an already well-rounded liberal arts education.
3. If you have more than one passion, don’t be afraid to pursue them both. That’s the beauty of this school…there are so many ways to conduct interdisciplinary work. In my time at Oxy, I’ve met students double-majoring in things like physics and visual arts or math and sociology. I myself am studying English and biochemistry. For my English comps, I’ll be writing a paper applying biophilosophy and theory of immunology to a Toni Morrison novel. Oxy provides so many ways for students to integrate different subjects. There’s no reason why students should have to abandon one passion in pursuit of another.
The opportunities truly are endless. For me, Occidental is a place where I’ve been able to take control of my education, discover my interests, and apply them in the real world. I couldn’t have asked for a better community in which to undertake this journey.