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Emily Williams

Emily Williams
International Relations and Global Studies
Middle Eastern Studies
Graduation Year:
Spring 2014
"First and foremost, UGS allowed me to make an informed and intelligent decision about my major. Without UGS, it's likely that I would have changed my major and interests multiple times and wasted an unfortunate amount of time that could have been better utilized."

Exploring UT Through Undergraduate Studies
I initially came to UT expecting to go into the medical field. Very early on during my first semester, I realized that my interests had changed long ago, and I hadn’t allowed my major and career goals to do the same. I chose to be undeclared and transferred to Undergraduate Studies when I realized I was no longer completely committed to my initial major. I was quite overwhelmed by the large number of majors that UT has to offer. I had never even heard of many of them!

My UGS advisor asked me what I liked. She asked me to get to know older students and learn about their experiences at UT, audit classes, and join clubs that would expose me to a wide breadth of academia at UT. I eventually joined the UNICEF student chapter and found many people with similar interests and values. Many of them were International Relations and Global Studies (IRG) majors. Upon learning more about the major and degree plan, I was hooked!

Studying International Relations and Global Studies
I am honestly surprised that I have been able to personalize my major so much. I thought being at such a large university would come with a very strict mandate as to what students in each degree plan had to take and when they had to take it. The degree plan has allowed me to study the topics that I’m most passionate about and combine them in ways I had never considered before.

The most rewarding class I’ve taken was Israeli Intelligence and Espionage with Dr. Randy Gellar. Dr. Gellar was extremely passionate about his own research and field of study; he passion and excitement for class was contagious. He made me more excited to learn and engage than I has ever felt before and I’m so grateful to have had a professor that cared about his students and their success so much.

Favorite Study Spot
I study in my apartment! It’s so much more fun to study in my pajamas and eat whenever I want to.

Student Organizations
I was Texas Orange Jackets vice president of membership, Texas Darlins president, vice president, and philanthropy chair, UNICEF student chapter president and education and awareness chair.

UNICEF was definitely an integral part of my major exploration; without it, I probably wouldn’t have learned of the IRG degree! Additionally, Darlins and Orange Jackets have both been extremely helpful in career exploration. The alumnae networks are very valuable in helping to navigate both life after UT and the professional world.

I worked as an intern at Gerson Lehrman Group in the spring of 2013 and fall 2013 semesters.

Advice for UGS Students
Don’t panic! It’s perfectly fine to say, “I don’t know.” Lots of other people “don’t know” also—they’re just scared to admit it. Most importantly, ask yourself, “What do I like?”. You, not anyone else, will be the one going to class, taking notes, and studying for exams for the next four years. Make sure you actually like what you study. Follow your passions and you’ll find that classwork will be a pleasure—not a burden.