In the journey of earning your degree, where you plan to go, isn’t always where you end up. Drexel University is home to students with nontraditional paths to their degree, offering different programs and support to ensure students get the most out of their experience. Goodwin’s Bachelor of Science (BS) in General Studies is a great option for students who seek more flexibility from a degree program.
For Melissa Comunale, the ability to create a unique plan of study is what drew her to the program. Coming into her first year at Drexel, she was enrolled in an undergraduate nursing program. However, the nursing track wasn’t for her, which ultimately pushed her to switch her major to general studies, after nearly half her time at Drexel.
“When I applied to Drexel I actually applied as nutrition, then I switched to nursing,” said Melissa. “I did that for two-and-a-half years, then I realized that it wasn’t for me and I wasn’t happy doing it. Along with my family and my advisors, we came up with a plan of what to do to get me to graduate and figure out what I wanted to do after college. I already had a lot of sociology credits and communication credits so those were two areas that I really enjoyed. So, I decided to move to general studies and take those two on as minors. Then, I found out about the DragonsTeach Middle Years program to get certified to be a teacher for grades four through eight, so now I have an education minor along with that.”
With general studies being so diverse, students can mix and match their plan of study by adding one, two, or even three minors. Through stackable credentials like minors, students can gain a broader skillset while pursuing the areas that interest them most.
“I think I like the most about it is the fact that you can create your own curriculum and mesh together things that you like,” said Melissa. “I have a sociology, communications and education minor, those are all completely different but it’s customizable to what you like and what you enjoy doing. You can kind of create your own plan of study in a way, there are core general studies requirements, but for the most part you just get to create your own plan of study which is nice.”
Melissa’s journey to BS in General Studies wasn’t exactly what she planned, either. Spending such a large chunk of her college career enrolled in a program that didn’t work for her, eventually weighed on her GPA, causing her to struggle academically. In meeting with her advisor and creating the new plan of study catered to her interests, and existing credits, lead her to a better, more well-rounded, Drexel experience.
“I was not happy and didn’t go to class, which wasn’t the best thing to do,” said Melissa. “The coursework wasn't something that enjoyed doing, so I tended to not do it or not give it my all, so my GPA reflected that. So, when I finally switched and made that jump to general studies and added things that interested me, my GPA just shot up because I was starting to do something that I loved and enjoyed doing the assignments for it was just a whole different experience than the first two-and-a-half years.”
Melissa reflects, “from my experience, my biggest takeaway is just to listen to your gut and if you’re not happy with something, you can change it, there’s going to be something out there for you.” She advises, “talk to people, try different classes. That’s what I did, I started taking some sociology classes and education and communication and tried to see what I liked the most. If your major isn’t right for you, don’t stay in it. I thought nursing was meant for me, but it wasn’t. Don’t be afraid to try new classes, if you’re not happy, then definitely try something new and don’t get discouraged.”