The Experience, Samirah Jaigirdar '22
Global Islamic Studies, International Relations Major
When an admission representative from Connecticut College came to my high school, two things struck me about their talk: the College’s Honor Code and the Integrative Pathways in the Connections curriculum. I remember thinking how cool it would be to self-schedule an exam and learn about sustainability without necessarily majoring in it. When I later figured out that I no longer wanted to major in STEM, I was pleased to find out that Conn’s curriculum is flexible for everyone to find and construct their own niche. Connections is Conn’s liberal arts curriculum which aims to give its students an integrated approach to learning.
As my first semester at Conn came to a close, I found that I could go down two different paths. I could either declare a Pathway or apply to a center. Currently, Conn has 13 pathways and four centers. As an International Relations and Global Islamic Studies double major, I wanted to learn about the politics of migration. Hence, I started looking at the Migrations, Displacements, (Im)mobilities Pathway, the Holleran Center for Community Action and Policy Policy (PICA), and the Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts (CISLA). When I started my sophomore year, I decided to apply to one of the centers. The application deadline for the centers is before the Pathway declaration deadline so I knew I could always declare a Pathway if I didn’t get accepted to a center. After attending numerous information sessions, I narrowed in on CISLA. I wrote my five-page proposal to the center and ended up getting accepted!
My acceptance to CISLA came a week before Conn’s first All-College Symposium where seniors in the various centers and Pathways present on the breadth of their work. This was a good opportunity for me to see what the current CISLA seniors’ projects look like. For instance, I particularly liked Ali Plucinski’s project on Russian foreign policy in the Middle East and Dylan Nasr’s project on the Dublin Regulations. Both of their topics are in the realm of what my proposal for CISLA consisted of. I also had the opportunity to see poster presentations by my friends who are seniors in different Pathways. For instance, I could see Conor Xander’s poster presentation which he did under the Power and Knowledge pathway and my housefellow Alexandra Bernardo’s poster presentation in the Entrepreneurship pathway! Seeing these presentations made me excited to start sculpting my own animating question and gave me a plethora of ideas on what I can achieve in just a couple of years!