Whether you choose to go abroad or stay on campus, winter quarter begins the long process of the Senior Individualized Process, or the SIP.
I’ll be honest, I am extremely nervous.
During winter quarter it is advised that you begin preliminary thoughts about the content and form of your SIP, as well as talk to different professors and choose an advisor, who will help you during the process and keep you on track. Within the English department, those advisors are assigned to you during the spring, and then you meet with them and discuss guidelines and deadlines.
I think I have an idea of what form I’d like my SIP to take; as an English major I have quite a bit of flexibility. Within the English major, you can concentrate in Literary and Cultural Studies or Writing. Further, you can choose concentrations in fiction writing, poetry, journalism, and creative nonfiction within the writing track. The options are very broad, which is both a good thing and the worst thing ever. I’m a journalism concentration within the writing track, so I am very likely not going to pursue a literary analysis thesis SIP (like 30-50 pages analyzing the representation of gender in Shakespeare works) or a creative writing SIP (like a family memoir, a screenplay, or a collection of poetry).
I’m also concentrating in Media Studies, which is where I think I’d like to do my SIP. (You can choose to complete your SIP in a department other than your major, you just have to find an advisor willing to work with you and—of course—do some paperwork.) Since I’ve taken documentary film courses here, I’m eligible to create a documentary film SIP, provided that it explores topics that are relevant to the department and that it meets certain length and content requirements. Of all of the options available to me, this one makes me the most excited. I’d love to be able to combine my loves of activism and social justice, media, and documentary journalism into one great SIP that I could use to build my portfolio.
Thinking about my SIP, about graduation, about My Future—it all makes me anxious and excited at the same time. Mostly anxious right now, but hopefully once I talk to more professors and get a better handle on what I want to do and how to do it will be different. Once I’m done I’ll be able to present my final draft–the culmination of a year of work and four years of academics–in a fancy bound portfolio engraved with the K logo, as a representation of how far I’ve come in the last few years. I just have to start it first.