By Jennell Retamar

Students who attend Florida Southern but are not sure what they want to major in or want a  program that is not offered may pursue the self-designed major. By creatively combining different courses from several departments students can customize their degree and pursue their interests to gain a broader concept of different fields.

“I always tell students to make your major marketable, and it should be creative but it should also speak to one’s degree,” Dr. Lisa Carter, coordinator of the self-designed major program, said.

In order to go through this process, students must  be of sophomore status, have at least 30 but not more than 72 credits and have taken at least one 4 credit hour course in each of the areas you plan on pursuing, among a list of other requirements necessary prior to creating an actual proposal.

“I think it does take a lot of effort and creativity on the student’s part; There is a lot of thought and planning that goes into the actual coursework. Depending on what job you are applying for, employers potentially could look at you as a standout from other applicants,” Carter said.

Clare Bollard, a Baltimore, Md. native, is currently a sophomore going through the Self-Designed Major process. Bollard realized that if she combined communications and business, she would generate a major that would fit her desires for a talent management program. By combining the two disciplines together, she would be able to graduate with a major that not only she designed but with a degree to be able to work as a talent agent.

“You have to understand how to hire people, be persuasive and know how to deal with money. You also have to work with people so having great communication skills is key,” Bollard said.

Although there are not many schools that offer talent management programs, Bollard is sure she will be pursue this route as a career. She says if the self-designed major doe not work out for her, she will continue her studies and go with her backup plan as a business major with a focus in management and make a career out of talent management that way.

“Right now, I have currently only started filling out the proposal and I am trying to figure out what classes I would need in communications and business-marketing,” Bollard said. “I still have to figure out what classes I want to include and explain why I want to create my major and how it would be beneficial to me.

I also have to create a senior seminar project and explain that. After I fill out all of the paperwork, I have to meet with my advisors and have them approve it.”

In effort to add practical experience in talent management to her resume, Bollard is also serving her first year as an Association of Campus Entertainment (ACE) director. She took on the Mocs Comedy director position this year following Megan Riordan, 16’. Last year, Bollard had been in the Mocs Comedy committee under the leadership of Riordan. Bollard was encouraged to apply for NACA, the National Association for Campus Activities. NACA is a non-profit organization that hosts events, which showcase musical artists, comedians, stage shows, and, a variety of other acts.

Bollard was eventually picked to be one of six ACE members to attend the five-day convention in Louisville, KY. After attending NACA, Bollard was told that she should apply for a Director position. Before even being told that she should apply, Bollard was doing tasks for Riordan such as ordering food from Guest Services and hosting the last comedy show.

“I would like to be an agent, I want to be the person that people call to hire someone. I kind of want to do what I do in ACE, but on the other side of it. I want to be able to contact other agents and hire acts,” Bollard explains. “This last year really solidified my experience here at Florida Southern. Through my experiences with ACE, it really clicked for me. I really hope that creating my own major works out in the long run.”


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