How to Create an Independent Study
As an Asian and Middle Eastern Studies modified with Economics Major, I have become quite accustomed to finding ways to customize my Dartmouth education to suit my interdisciplinary interests. This term, I have continued to create a truly individualized course of study by creating my own independent study on the topic of Social Entrepreneurship.
After taking ECON 77 "Social Entrepreneurship" last winter, I knew that I did not want to end my pursuit of knowledge in this subject area after the 10-week class ended. With the help of my professor, I proposed an "Advanced Independent Study in Economics" on this topic, meaning that I put together my own reading list and came up with what types of assignments would make the most sense to doing a deep dive into the subject matter.
So, in addition to taking two classes this term, I am also pursuing my own independent study. This means that I meet three times a week with my professor who has agreed to oversee my independent study during which we chat about the material I have read, my reactions to it, and how it may inform my overall understanding of social entrepreneurship in the context of development in emerging economies.
Going into this independent study, I was not quite sure what to expect. I had never proposed my own course of study, but I was excited to work closely with one of my favorite professors on a topic that I am passionate about. It is one thing to prepare for a seminar class where you know there will be other students to help distribute the responsibility of facilitating conversation and answering the professor's questions. However, it is quite something else to meet 1:1 with an expert in the field of economics three times a week to discuss my reactions to readings. For each meeting, I find myself going above and beyond to prepare myself with conservation topics, questions, and areas for additional exploration.
While the term is not yet over yet, I can already see that I have grown as a thinker and an academic through this independent study.