Erika Anne Strong: When I think of the phrase, "That's so Western", I think of people who get it.
Shannon Regan: I think I've always been someone to kind of take my own path and when I describe to people what Western is they're like, "Oh, that makes so much sense."
Kayla Tigresa Orta: We think outside the box. We think in ways that aren't held by disciplinary boundaries.
Andrea Christman: It's your job to think differently while you're here
Jonathan Timmons: To have the mindset that all knowledge is valuable.
Kayla Tigresa Orta: It's all in there together. I can't separate the different disciplines.
Jonathan Timmons: It's like the epitome of what liberal arts is supposed to be about.
Nathan Roser: We're all studying what we want, when we want.
Christina Berardi: It's like, "Oh my god, it's so cool that you're into that."
Andrea Christman: I love that our major, we all have the same title, and we're studying completely different things.
Christina Berardi: And that's not for everybody, not everyone can be Western.
Erika Anne Strong: Education was something that I valued, so I wanted to choose the right major and it was just this big, ah, this big question.
Nathan Roser: I came into Miami as a Sports Psychology major.
Kayla Tigresa Orta: I wanted to study foreign language.
Jonathan Timmons: Biochemistry major.
Erika Anne Strong: Pre-dental.
Shannon Regan: Jewelry design.
Sarah Pyles: When I transferred I also wanted to change my major.
Christina Berardi: From design school on the East coast to come to the architecture program.
Cole Tyman: I wanted something a little bit different than my business major. I wanted to challenge myself in different ways, I wanted to have some critical thinking skills.
Erika Anne Strong: I was about to sign my name on the line to be a social work major, and something stopped me.
Sarah Pyles: I realized that I wasn't meant to do just one major. I felt like that was too specific.
Erika Anne Strong: When I was taking a class with Hays, I remember him giving us a sampling square. He took us out to the grass instead of like, the woods or something, and he said "Okay, now everybody throw your squares. I want you to identify 20 things in this square that doesn't include grass." And I'm sitting there and I'm like, "Hays there's nothing but grass in the square," and he was like, "Look harder."
Shannon Regan: I think it was Western 341, and it was kind of a theater class, I don't really like speaking in public or acting. It's never really been my forte, so being forced to be on a stage and doing a play with, you know, all the Western majors definitely brought me out of my shell.
Andrea Christman: One fall Kevin said, "Hey you should come to Costa Rica. We're going in January this time." And I thought hey, maybe I can go. And it was just like that perfect example of they cared about me before I cared about them, and then of course I went to Costa Rica, and that is something that I will never, ever, ever forget.
Sarah Pyles: I think it was kind of just like an awareness moment, where you realize just how cool the program it is to be a part of and how nice it is to really connect and appreciate teachers so much.
Cole Tyman: Miami itself on the whole has pretty small classes but to walk into a class that has 10 or 15 students with 1 or even 2 faculty members, I know this person is going to know my name, I know this person is going to be interested in my story.
Sarah Pyles: They ask you about more than just classes, like "Who are you as a person, how can we help you grow?"
Erika Anne Strong: I could just be completely honest and open and tell them all my crazy ideas and dreams.
Sarah Pyles: It's just like having a big family.
Andrea Christman: I love these people, I love this building. I think about this building a lot.
Jonathan Timmons: The folks in Peabody definitely seem to have a different energy about them.
Cole Tyman: I've been fortunate to serve as Student Body President for the last year, and in that I get exposed to a variety of different areas of campus. But Western's, I think, something truly unique to Miami, and I think it served as a home away from home for a lot of us here.
The Individualized Studies major within the College of Arts and Science provides students with the opportunity to develop a personalized plan of study. This interdisciplinary program allows for integrated and intentional learning by each student and culminates with a senior research project that serves as an entry point to graduate study or a rewarding career.