Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Alma Mater, Forever

My younger sister, Dana, started her senior year of college yesterday. As I thought about her setting up her apartment and about what she will experience in the upcoming year, I thought about my senior year and what it meant to me. 

My senior year was the first time that I really felt like an adult. I was outside of the underclassman bubble and for the first time I really had to think about what I wanted to do with my life. I had to make some big decisions about my relationships and my future career. I took on bigger responsibilities in my classes as I went through student teaching and I also took on a leadership role as the President of the Jewish Women of Ohio. I soaked in the wonderful culture of Athens, OH and I went a little (okay, a lot, see the Domo face below) crazy in the winter.

Inspired by Elizabeth's post about her little brother setting off for his freshman year of college, Dana, I have decided to write a few tips and things for you to keep in mind for your senior year.

Take as many pictures as you can! Take pictures of your friends, your favorite restaurant, your room, your favorite lecture hall, the street you walk down every day, parties you attend, and adventures you go on. Don't worry so much about sharing them on social media streams, just keep them organized and backed up in a safe place. After you graduate you will be happy to have these memories captured as photos. I often look through my folders of photos from my senior year and it always puts a smile on my face. Keeping a daily journal will also be nice when June rolls around.

Experience everything you have been putting off for the past 3 years. I'm not sure what those things are or what that means to you, but you do. Spend the extra dollar to dine at a restaurant that has always been a little out of your price range, walk into a school building that you have never been in or go to a club meeting just for fun. I'm sure I will hear about these experiences on your blog (and I can't wait!)

Speak up in class! I was not good at this when I was in college, especially in big lecture hall classes. I didn't gain my confidence until I was in my senior level education classes and in front of a class of 30 or so 6th graders every day. Ask questions and answer questions. You have spent the past three years studying and you are so smart! Drop some knowledge and show that you are on your way to becoming an expert in your field. Impress your classmates and professors and fluff your ego!

Make the best use of the resources you have available on campus. Talk to career advisers, academic advisers, collect recommendation letters and advice from your professors and stock up on PDF articles from the library. Once you graduate it all disappears! All of the resources available to you at Penn State are like a cushy safety blanket that does not exist in post-grad life. Seriously, this was one of the things I struggled with the most.

Show your school spirit! Make the most of being around your fellow lions while. After you graduate you will meet many other people who went to Penn State and it will be an instant bond. You will have friends wherever you go.

Oh yea, and keep in touch with your sister! 

I know you will have an amazing senior year. I love you!!!

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