Listen to a conversation between a student and her academic advisor.
Hi, Professor Jones. Thanks for seeing me.
No problem, Laura. How was your summer break?
It was great! But the fact is, it's made me reconsider my academic plans.
Oh really...? Nothing too dramatic, I hope.
No, no, at least I hope not.
What do you mean—exactly?
Well, I just spent the summer working on a Native American reservation, a Navajo reservation, in Arizona. And I was fascinated...
so, now I want to study the Navajo language, um, their history, religion...
I want to go back next summer, too, and maybe even spend a semester there, some kind of internship or independent study.
Wow, sounds like you're really enthusiastic.
But, you were majoring in sociology and I seem to recall that for your senior project you were doing something with education...
Right. I've done some research on the public schools in the northeastern states... how they’ve been affected by changes in population... um... immigration trends—during the past 50 years.
But now, I really want to study the culture of the Navajo people.
Well, there are a couple of options ... depending on your priorities.
Say, how'd you end up on a reservation in Arizona anyway?
Well, a friend of mine took a job there ... uh, in a summer-school program... and they had another opening—someone canceled at the last minute.
I thought it would just be a big adventure. But it turned out to be much more than that.
I see. Anyway, as I was saying, your options depend on what your priorities are... and on exactly what you want to study.
UH, like I said…Navajo culture.
Let's see if we can be more specific.
If you want to study the Navajo language, learn about their religion, their history... that's part of cultural anthropology.
No, I really don't want to change majors at this point. I love sociology, and I really want to graduate in four years.
OK, now I see what your priorities are. So, from a sociological perspective...
since you’re interested in education, you can stay with that... change your research topic to the Native American experience with public education... the effect it's had.
And you could take sociology courses on religion or the role of minorities in society... again, focusing your research on the Navajo.
Um, I hadn't thought about that angle. Sounds intriguing.
And all the courses I've already taken would still count toward my degree?
I'd have to check, and we might need to plan carefully to make sure all your degree requirements are met, but I don't see any problems.
Great. And then I can pick up the language and culture courses as electives.