The world is my classroom
Student discusses Engaged Learning
Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
I feel hands-on experience is the best way to learn anything. I’m that kid in the classroom who is constantly fidgeting. Even if I love the class, it’s hard for me to sit for an hour or more taking notes dictated by my professor.
I’d much prefer to be doing something that can engage me on the topic at hand.
If I had the choice between listening to someone talk about a theory or witness the theory in action, I would choose the latter every time.
One of SMU’s greatest strengths is that the administration is progressive enough to realize the importance of real-life learning as well.
Engaged Learning is a program on campus that allows students to find a topic within their major that they are passionate about and work outside the classroom.
Students find a mentor, propose a project, apply, and can get up to $2,000 in grants to pay for the tools or travel that the project requires.
The project title goes on your final transcript and it can double as an internship or civic engagement.
One of my good friends Jean Paul Destarac (economics major and markets and culture major) worked in Belgium where he researched the European debt crisis. I remember Skyping him this summer from across the world where he got to use Europe as his classroom.
These projects are not limited to research, but can be creative work as well.
I was taking classes at the SMU-in-Taos campus this summer while my friend Dylan Smith (English major) was working on completing a novella for his Engaged Learning project.
Now, when he leaves SMU, he won’t only be walking away with the classroom understanding of English. He will graduate college with his published work in hand.
In addition, my Resident Assistant in Taos was Kimberly Mendoza (biological sciences major and chemistry major), and I watched her as she was preparing to leave for Guatemala where she’d begin her project.
Her project involved health-related problems and solutions in the indigenous Mayan community.
Her enthusiasm for her project was contagious, but even more exciting is the fact that her civic engagement could someday help to provide better healthcare.
After seeing the wonderful success of my friends, I am ready to apply for a project myself. SMU has given me the opportunity and the means to learn in the best possible way. Anyone who wants to use the world as their classroom should apply because Engaged Learning allows us to imagine a project and make it happen.
The application cycle is Nov. 15th to Feb. 15th. For more information and to find the application, go to http://smu.edu/engagedlearning.
Finnegan is a sophomore majoring in business. She can be reached for comment at email@example.com.