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SIP Stress Be Gone: Navigating Your Senior Project

Savannah Kinchen holds her Senior Individualized ProjectFriends, I come to you today through the blogosphere with groundbreaking news – just moments ago I officially handed in my Senior Individualized Project (SIP)! I’ve been working on my SIP (or SIPping, as the kids call it these days) since spring of 2017, back when I was panicking about what my topic would be, which model I would choose, and how on earth I would ever finish it. Luckily, I had plenty of resources here on campus to help me navigate all of my SIP anxieties. As an Anthropology and Sociology major, I elected to do my SIP in my major department, although you can do your SIP in departments outside your major as well. Mine ended up being a forty-page research paper, but I have friends who are writing original plays, producing original music, and writing novels for their SIPs. That’s what’s so great about K – you can base your SIP off of whatever experience you want to have. But back when I was in the early stages of my SIP journey, I felt overwhelmed. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, and it seemed like everyone else around me had a solid vision for theirs. Luckily, I had the support of the Anthropology Department Chair, Dr. Baptiste, who always welcomed me into her office hours to hear my latest SIP concerns. I’m sure that at larger schools it just wouldn’t be possible for professors to spend as much time with students who needed help planning their SIPs. I feel so grateful to be at a school where the professors are not only easily accessible, but are also so willing to help you find your way, whether it be on a class assignment, your SIP, or life after K.

Through my conversations with Dr. Baptiste, I discovered that I wanted experience in the work force rather than experience with collecting data. She suggested that I do a summer practicum model for my SIP, where I could couple a literature review with a reflection of my internship experience. This sounded perfect for what I wanted, and now the only problem was getting myself a summer internship. That’s where the Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) came in. I went to them asking what summer internship opportunities were available and they encouraged me to apply to one of the several Kalamazoo organizations that the CCPD partners with. They coached me through the application process, helped me edit my résumé and cover letters, and even awarded me a substantial stipend once I landed an internship (music to the ears of a broke college student). So not only was I able to gain experience in a field of interest, I was also able to base my SIP off of that experience. The support I was given from the Anthropology and Sociology Department and the CCPD, as well as the abundant opportunities provided by the City of Kalamazoo made my SIP experience a positive one. Whoever is reading this is probably not overly concerned about the SIP just yet, but you can rest assured that K College will give you the resources you need to succeed.

-Savannah Kinchen ’18