Education Enriching Life

Name: Mariah

Major: English and Secondary Education

Class: 2015

Home State: NH

College: Saint Michael’s College

ImageWhat were your main reasons for going to college? 

To get the training necessary to get the job I want in the future, to meet new people and have new experiences, and to be a more knowledgeable person.

How much of an influence did your parents/peers/teachers have on the schools you chose to apply to?

It was mostly my own choice, but everyone encouraged me to want to achieve higher education.

What do you see as benefits of going to college?

Learning, experiencing, living.

What are some negatives of going to school?

The cost of course, the massive debt I’m going to face.

Did you consider a gap year? Why or why not?

No. I knew exactly what I wanted to do, so I didn’t want to waste time. 

Do you think you would change anything about your choices regarding your education? Nope.

How do you think you will use your education later in life? 

An education can be applied to every aspect of life and enriches it. But to be more specific, I’m going to be a teacher.

Favorite band?

ABBA

“We’re not hipsters and bedraggled art students”

Name: Heather

Major: Undecided (but something in the sciences!)

Class: 2016

Home State: Illinois

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What were your main reasons for going to college? 

My big reason was because the alternatives didn’t look so good in the long run. Half of the kids from my high school were going on to college education of some sort, and the rest were getting ready to work and get married as soon as possible because they couldn’t afford college or didn’t score high enough on exams.

On a brighter note, I love to learn and then apply what I’ve learned. I feel college is my reward for all the long hours and excruciating work I’ve put into my education in the past. Why turn down the chance to continue learning?

How much of an influence did your parents/peers/teachers have on the schools you chose to apply to?

My parents were fine with almost anywhere I wanted to apply to, as long as I was actually interested in the colleges. They have always placed a high value on education. My high school counselor tried persuading me to apply to the same “big” schools as my friends because that’s what was expected of kids in the gifted program. He ended up being mildly disappointed that I found out about a liberal arts school; it didn’t fit his image of where the “neo-intelligentsia” he was advising should go to learn.

Where else did you apply?

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and Mizzou. I might of also applied to Marquette. Either that or they just really wanted my money me.

What do you see as benefits of going to college?

As I mentioned earlier, college is the reward for all the hard work done in high school. You get to choose your classes and truly map out the direction of your future. College prepares your for a career while nourishing your various interests and exposing your to an abundance of different people and ideas. At least that’s true of Beloit.

What are some negatives of going to school?

In regards to Beloit specifically, some people I know don’t approve of my going here. Either they equate “liberal arts” with images of hipsters and bedraggled art students, or they view the college as being too nice, not as down-to-earth as a university or a few years of pure work. I am still me; I’m not a pothead and I’m not an elitist for going here. I think the disapproval on both sides is ridiculous.

Also, and this is definitely more of a personal thing than a universal truth, I don’t always like the unspoken tension between different political views (Democrat vs. everyone else) and different beliefs (very secular vs. very religious) here on campus. It gets stressful at times being someone who is neither here nor there. We’re all attending Beloit to live and learn with the same passion – we don’t have to pretend there’s such division between us all, and yet every now and then this division rears its ugly head.

Did you consider a gap year? Why or why not?

No. A gap year wasn’t even an option for me. Even if it had been, I wouldn’t have taken one. I would have just bummed around, applied for jobs and been turned down, etc. Not good for the psyche at all.

Now that you’re here at Beloit College, do you think you would change anything about your choices regarding your education?

No! In fact, anytime I receive a letter from a friend going to a university (yes, some of us still handwrite letters!) and I hear about their lecture halls filled with 300+ students all clamoring for the professor’s attention, I say a little thank-you to God for being here and not elsewhere. I can’t imagine being in classes that size. Plus, every class I’ve been in has incorporated hands-on work in conjunction with lectures; I don’t have to wait until my junior or senior year to apply what I’ve learned.

How do you think you will use your education later in life?

I’m already on my way to using it! This summer, I’ll be volunteering at a local museum to assist with collections – cataloguing, organizing, display, all that good nerdy stuff! Whatever major I end up in, it’ll most likely require some graduate school. From there, who knows? I like to joke that I’ll end up as the most well-educated bartender someday when I can’t find any jobs. Then I could apply my growing knowledge of anthropology, psychology, biology, etc. to everyone I make drinks for – liberal arts in practice, eh? But I don’t honestly think that’ll be the case.

What’s your favorite dessert?

German Chocolate Cake! But only if it’s fresh.

The C Student

This is a reflection from a church newsletter that my mom sent to me last year. I really like it an coming into the college acceptance/rejection season, it’s comforting to think that academics don’t have to define who you are. Christina Villa talks some common sense into the frenzy of worry over what schools to choose.

The prayer at the end is simple but beautiful. Even if you’re already safe and sound in college, it still serves as a reminded to say humble and don’t let others’ judgements of your abilities limit your potential.

Excerpt from 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

“Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.”

Reflection

In a recent issue of my college’s alumni magazine, the President’s letter was about the admissions committee agonizing over the many qualified applicants for limited places in the incoming class.  So impressive was the applicant pool this year that even “the acclaimed oboist who also started an animal shelter in her community” and “the budding actress who rock climbs and is fluent in three languages” were not admitted.

I understand that if you look directly at the applications of the kids who did get in, you will go blind, so admissions committees use those eclipse-viewing things.

The spell cast by the hyper-competitive college admissions process is not easy to opt out of.  When one of my sons was 11 or 12, he was getting a haircut and the barber asked him how he was doing in school.  “Oh, I get mostly C’s,” my son said.  The barber, Charlie, stopped snipping and looked my son straight in the eye in the mirror and said, “That’s just right, that’s just where you want to be.”  Then he resumed clipping and said, “You’re the guy they’ll want to hire when you grow up because they know you’ll try really hard.”

Oh great, I thought. Charlie had cut my son’s hair since he was little.  No matter how busy the shop was, we always had to wait for Charlie.  Sometimes it was a very long wait.  But Charlie, soft-spoken and polite, had patiently demonstrated the clippers for my son when he was 4 and suspicious of haircuts.  My son trusted him and was loyal to him.  And now Charlie was telling him that it was OK to be a C student.

Maybe I should have hustled the kid into the car and said something about how you can’t listen to everything your barber tells you. But I didn’t say anything. The world needs only so many tri-lingual, rock-climbing oboists, after all.  But it always needs more trust, more loyalty, and more  people like Charlie.

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Prayer
O God, release the high school seniors and their parents from the clutches of college anxiety, and restore the sight of those blinded by the accomplishments of others.  Amen

A Great Place to Grow

Name: Abigail

Major: Mathematics

Class: 2015

Home State: New Hampshire

College: St. Lawrence University

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What were your main reasons for going to college?

The main reason I went to college was because that’s what you do after high school. Everyone I knew from growing up went to college, so I was going to, too. I was of course very excited to go to college, as I love learning and want to know everything there is to know about everything.

What do you see as benefits of going to college?

I think there are so many benefits of going to college! I think for the job world today, it is necessary to at least get an undergrad degree to be able to get a job you want and be able to live a lifestyle of your chosing.

What are some negatives of going to school?

It is hard to make money during these four years, as work-study jobs are difficult to find on campus and they don’t pay much anyways, but other than that, I can’t think of a single downfall! It’s a great way to mature, learn about yourself, and grow as an adult!

Did you consider a gap year? Why or why not?

I did not consider a gap year. As I said before, everyone I knew went straight to college, and as learning is all I had ever done since I was 5 years old, I wanted to continue learning in the traditional college setting.

Now that you’re in college, do you think you would change anything about your choices regarding your education?

Nothing at all. Although the college application process was filled with rejection, at least for me, I am so happy to have ended up at St. Lawrence and I love all of the opportunities I have had here! Whatever choices I have made to help me get here, I would never change.

How do you think you will use your education later in life?

I think I will look back on my education every day of my life. I feel like college isn’t just a time for learning in the classroom, but to learn outside, too, and the things I learn about myself and about interacting with others will be things I look back on for the rest of my life.

Favorite band?

Jamie Cullum, a British jazz musician!

No Inherent Negatives

Name: Julian Vanecek

Major: Computer Science and Mathematics

Class: 2016

Home State: Wisconsin

College: Beloit College

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What were your main reasons for going to college? 

If I don’t go to school now I would be wasting my time going on a gap year. Going to college is pretty much implied but I still wanted to do it because my family is highly educated and there is no reason for me not to do it.

How much of an influence did your parents/peers/teachers have on the schools you chose to apply to?

I went to Germany in my second semester of my junior year because we hosted a freshman student and I talked to him about going abroad or going to California and he said I should come to Germany. So I went there the next semester to stay with his his family. It was really my decision.

Coming back from Germany I didn’t have any idea about colleges. I didn’t have any idea about the system or anything. And my mom said “Julian, you really like Beloit, you should apply there” so I ended up coming here.

What do you see as benefits of going to college?

Better life, better neighborhood, more options, better job, less stressful life because you don’t have to deal with the system working against you. You have options about how you spend your time, you can do more things like travel and have an all in all less stressful life.

What are some negatives of going to school?

There are no inherent negatives about going to school.

Did you consider a gap year? Why or why not?

Yes I considered it. I didn’t take one because I already had a gap semester in germany where I gained a lot from that. It’s understandable why a lot of people would do it but I could have spent my time more productively by going to school. If I done it I would travel.

Now that you’re here at Beloit College, do you think you would change anything about your choices regarding your education?

I would have researched schools more, but it’s fine where I am now.

How do you think you will use your education later in life?

For my profession, for making money. My education will give me lots of skills. I will be more flexible in terms of what I can do.

Favorite band? 

Phat Phunktion