What defines a college success story?
Depending on who you ask, the definition might be having a pristine academic record, or graduating on time, or being able to get back on your feet after every struggle you go through. There are many valid answers to this question – after all, everyone has their own idea of what success is.
For Veronica Rose Tan, a fresh graduate of Loyola Marymount University (LMU), the most rewarding accomplishments of her college life are those that enabled her to work within the fields of her multiple interests.
The road to college success
Veronica is the youngest in her family’s line of LMU alumni. After graduating last May, she now holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with minors in Music and Theatre Arts.
Psychology, music, and theatre arts – certainly not a combination of interests you see everyday, right?
As unconventional as they might seem, these degrees reflect Veronica’s ideal learning experience. Majoring in Psychology didn’t stop her from wanting to gain a deeper understanding of topics she found interesting. On top of her Psychology classes, she also took up courses in Asian and Asian-American Studies, Music, and Theatre Arts.
Studying what she loves at Loyola Marymount University
Driven by the desire to learn more about the subjects close to her heart, Veronica found ways to include them in her studies.
In a research project for her Close Relationships Capstone Seminar, Veronica focused on examining attachment anxiety and dating simulators in Japan. The study was made within three different contexts: close relationships, technology, and cultural psychology.
“I really enjoyed being able to apply what I have learned in the last four years to one particular topic.”
Her interests allowed her to widen the scope of topics that she could explore. Veronica wasn’t just a student of Psychology, she was significantly knowledgeable about culture and music as well. This gave her a unique perspective for her studies.
Veronica was able to present and win awards at academic events. Her study on the relationship between emotional intelligence and listening to music as a means to cope with negative experiences received an award at LMU’s Honors Psychology Program. She was also able to present the study in the Western Psychological Association Research Convention, where it won her the Trish Walsh Award.
She was also lucky enough to earn a stipend through LMU’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program. The opportunity gave Veronica the chance to work with Professor Máire Ford.
“With Professor Ford, I have learned how to actually conduct experiments. She has helped me to understand the research process, statistics software and analysis, and how to write abstracts and present research.”
Finding inspiration abroad
Never one to let an opportunity pass her by, Veronica was able to spend some time studying abroad.
She travelled across the globe to Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan to take courses in Japanese folklore and music. Afterwards, she spent some time at Yonsei International Summer School in Seoul, South Korea. Veronica was grateful to learn developmental and social psychology. Most importantly, she was able to do so with an East Asian context.
“My study abroad experiences are what fueled my desire to study Asian and Asian American psychology, cultural psychology, and ethnomusicology. Both psychology and music are heavily western-centric in education.”
Now that she has earned her Psychology degree, Veronica is travelling to Japan once again. This time she will be teaching English to Japanese students under the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program.
“I see myself as a sort of ‘renaissance woman’ built to serve others. I look forward to many inspiring and cross-cultural experiences through my work in the JET program.”
The opportunity will allow her to represent America as a cultural ambassador. As a new chapter of her life begins, Veronica is ready to open herself up to more experiences. Above all, she is hopeful that she will be able to continue growing in the pursuit of her passions.