Tara Singleton, senior undergraduate student at the University of Arizona, has been a part of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences since she arrived on campus. She is involved with various organizations across campus, most notably being the current ASUA student body president. As her four years at this university are coming to a close, Singleton reflects on her time with the College of SBS, how it has helped build her into the person she is today, and how it will help propel her future endeavors.
Q. What are your majors and why did you choose them?
I have three majors. The first is Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Law, or PPEL, as well as Philosophy with an ethics emphasis. I also have a French: Language, Literature, and Culture major within the College of Humanities.
I started out as a PPEL major and that has continued to be my primary major. I found out about PPEL via the college major search when I was a senior in high school and PPEL was ultimately the reason I ended up coming here. What really drew me to PPEL was the interdisciplinary aspects of the major. I plan to go to law school so I wanted a major that would give me some of that background. But I also wanted to make sure that I had variety and the ability to do other things. The philosophy aspect of PPEL was really interesting to me as well. There's a special double-dipping program with PPEL and Philosophy, so a lot of the electives that I was taking prior to PPEL classes were philosophy based which led me to a major in Philosophy as well.
As for my French major, I came in from high school having done four years of French so, initially, it was my minor. But because of the credit I had coming into college, I had the ability to complete the major in four years, so I decided to do it.
So, while it might seem daunting to say I have three majors, I think they ended up fitting together really well with the things that I was interested in. It came very naturally which was cool and I am glad I am able to fit that all in four years.
Q. What has your experience as an SBS student been like?
I think it's been quite cool to be part of a bigger college and to have that larger community and connection on campus. Even within ASUA and the other organizations I am a part of, there's so much crossover with SBS. But it’s also great because within my cohort or within my PPEL major we have that smaller feeling so I feel like I am able to experience both. There is a lot of variety that SBS brings to the table and those resources and offerings really added to my experience within my major and the University. SBS as a whole is very connected to the campus and I think that it has really enhanced my experience as a student.
Q. Has your experience as an SBS student prepared you for becoming ASUA president?
Yes, definitely. I think there's a reason a lot of SBS or even political science or PPEL majors are involved in ASUA. I think it's because of our natural passions for advocacy, leadership, and the political lens of things. But I think those interests don't mean as much if we're not really taught how to work with them. A lot of my early classes within the college taught me some of those interpersonal and communication skills that have really attributed to my leadership style. I think that my classes within SBS really set a good foundation for me with my leadership positions and ASUA.
Q. Are there any classes that you can think of that contributed to that solid foundation?
A couple of the prerequisites for my major that talked about government and politics and even the philosophy behind them really gave me a new perspective. What I think is really cool about SBS is the interconnectivity of a lot of the classes. Those prerequisites and entry level classes were what really gave me the skills to succeed within my majors but also within my various leadership positions.
Q. You mentioned going to law school. With graduation approaching, do you have any other future plans?
Yes, this is definitely something that has been on my mind a lot. I have applied to a couple graduate programs in human rights. But I definitely want to gain some internship or work experience in the human rights or political fields because those are the aspects of the law that I've been the most interested in.
I was initially planning on taking a year off before law school anyway, but I definitely think the pandemic has helped reinforce that a little bit. But the pandemic has also caused a couple other doors to close such as the possibility of international travel. But a lot of things are still in the air. If I do have the opportunity, I think my ideal year off would be an internship or something similar over the next two summers to be able to do some experiential learning. I would also love to do a little bit of traveling to be able to put my French to use. And, of course, studying for the LSAT. There is the potential that I go to grad school for a year before law school, but like I said, a lot of things are up in the air right now. Overall, I feel positive about it and I am trying to stay open minded.
Q. Do you have any advice for current SBS students or students looking to declare a major within SBS?
First of all, really work with your advisors and don't be afraid to either switch majors if it's something you're passionate about or add a major or expand your minor. Those are all things that I did with the help of my advisors in both of my colleges. So, if you are coming from another college and there's something in SBS that really sparked your interest, look into it and see if you can get that done. I feel like a lot of people think that it's impossible and it sounds impossible but there's a lot of ways that it can be done. My advisors have been able to help me work out how I can get this all done, and they can help you too.
My other bit of advice, as cliche as it sounds, is get involved. I think that a lot of the things I was learning in the classroom have been reinforced by my position within ASUA, my extracurricular activities, and my social activities. Those things were really where I was putting a lot of classroom lessons to use. They added this whole other aspect to my education that I wouldn't have had otherwise. Obviously, there's some positions, like being ASUA President, that I built up to over my four years here. But there's also a lot of things that I didn't know about or wasn't involved in until my junior year. So, there's definitely no timeline on getting involved. I think it's important to just take the right next step for you and I think SBS is a great place that supports all those ambitions and a great place to make the university your own space.