Sara Paduano - Featured Alumni
May 1, 2012
Despite being valedictorian of my high school and being voted “most likely to succeed”, I never fooled myself. Like most other high school seniors, I had no idea where I wanted to end up in my career. One thing I was sure of: I wanted to be an RIT student.
Entering RIT as a film and animation student in the fall of 2005, I spent the first five quarters of my college career juggling tennis, intramurals, two jobs, and countless nights spent in the film or animation labs - often clocking 3-4 hours of sleep a night. Not ideal. Still, switching my major was a huge decision for me. I had a passion for animation, and despite not being the best at it (and admittedly needing more sleep), it was not the easiest thing to leave. I had fallen in with a great group of people (all insomniacs, and I say that admiringly) who came to call the lab home, and I would be walking away from that if I left the program.
During the spring quarter of my sophomore year, I took the plunge. I adamantly switched into the College of Liberal Arts’ advertising and marketing program, despite being certain of the marketing aspect only. My uncertainty, however, for the advertising portion, quickly became apparent, and as I signed up for classes the following fall, I couldn’t help but ask myself why I was choosing to do a program I was only going to enjoy half of. Not only that, but because of the curriculum and how far I was behind in it, I was out of luck on the Italian classes I wanted to take and the study abroad in Italy I dreamed of.
Still as lost as I was as an animation student, I couldn’t help but wonder why I was working so hard in programs that I just wasn’t comfortable in. Why couldn’t I create a program for myself that would cater to my interests and set me on a career path I was certain of? Enter the Center for Multidisciplinary Studies (CMS).
With the multidisciplinary program, I was able to apply my film background to the marketing classes I had already taken, while adding a more diverse set of marketing classes and a phenomenal public relations writing program. What’s more, I even had time to take three quarters of Italian classes for a minor and the opportunity to head to Italy the summer before my senior year. Che bella.
Upon graduation with my BS in 2009, I still wasn’t exactly certain of where I was going to go, but I was completely sure of one thing: I had an array of skills and a portfolio of completed class work that would prepare me for anything. And as I interviewed and networked, my multidisciplinary degree was a sound talking point.
CMS is a realistic college program – it’s flexible, adaptable, and challenging. I was afforded opportunities and networking via the multidisciplinary program that I would not have received had I stayed locked into a rigid curriculum elsewhere. As someone who has an intense love of learning, CMS allowed me to expand that love into several different interests.
Had I not broadened my horizons and opened so many doors through the multidisciplinary program, I would most likely not have spent the past three years exploring four foreign countries, working in several different marketing positions, and completing my Masters. What’s more, I may not have ended up being fortunate enough to absolutely love my full-time job with the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection - so much so, that it’s tough to call it a job in the first place.
The faculty and staff in CMS understand that diversity is what maintains interest, and were ready and willing to work with me until I was finally satisfied with the amazing degree they helped me craft. If there’s a will, there’s a way, and the CMS program will help you find it. Ciao!