The Simplicity of Jobs and Books

Name: Julia

Major: Psychology

Class: 2015

Home State: CT

College: Mount Holyoke College

ImageWhat were your main reasons for going to college?

I’d like to have get a degree so that I have a better chance of getting a job.

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

Very Little – I made the final decision.

Where else did you apply?

Bryn Mawr, Connecticut College, Wheaton, Wellesley, Barnard, Simmons, Ithaca, and Goucher

What do you see as benefits of going to college?

Continuing my education, meeting people from around the world, new experiences/opportunities…

What are some negatives of going to school?

Sometimes I miss my family and the workload is exhausting.

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

I did for a split second, but then I decided against it because I was too excited at the prospect of starting college – I wouldn’t have been able to wait.

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

I wish I had been clearer in my major choice from the start – now I have to cram all of my major classes into the last semesters.

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

I think that a liberal arts education will secure me with a strong worldview along with the tools I need to make a difference in the world. I hope that my education will help me get a job in which I can help others. I also believe that it will spark a desire in me to continue learning and reading.

Favorite band?

Regina Spektor

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Finding Your Personal and Academic Identities

Name: Debbie

Major: sociolology major and religious studies minor

Class: 2013

Home State: California

College: Beloit

What were your motivations for going to school?

College was the norm at my school. The question wasn’t if you were going to school but which one.

What do you see as benefits of going to college?

Having the liberal arts in practice sorts of experiences. I did DUFFY program where I worked for a semester with housing services in Beloit. I’ve done short-term service projects like school art projects and another large part of it has been going to church and having that off-campus community. There is a community here and it means something to say that I’m from here.

What are negatives of going to school?

The academic pressures can be a lot in the mix of figuring out personal identity and sometimes that can be overwhelming. With any college you can get yourself into a bubble and that can be a negative. It can make it inconvenient to be aware of other things that are happening in the community.

What are solutions to the negatives?

For personal identity: having close relationships with your advisor and having good support services like good counselors and RAs for figuring out those questions. Having an environment where people recognize that you’re not just a student, you’re a person trying to figure out who you are.

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

Quick answer is no. I appreciate where I am and all the experiences that put me here. But now I’m realizing as a senior how much of an impact four years away from home has had on me. Coming to Beloit, being far away, I’m probably going back to the West Coast after graduation so I won’t see my midwestern friends again. I would have liked to be able to facilitate quality interactions with my family because sometimes Skype and phone calls aren’t enough.

Favorite band? 

Mumford and Sons

Commencement Speeches = The Ultimate Closure?

Commencement speeches can be the illustrious closure to four years spent in libraries and lectures. They can give guidance for the years ahead and fill an excited graduate’s heart with courage and passion. Other times, they put everyone to sleep.

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David Foster Wallace’s Commencement speech at Kenyon College in 2005 has to be one the best I have ever read. My jealousy for the people in the front row that day is infinite.

Wallace talks about liberal arts schools as places that teach you how to think about the people around you. It encourages you to acknowledge that your reality is not the only reality and that you are not the center of the universe. College can push you out of your comfort zone, thereby rocking your universe centered on you, and forcing you to experience other ways of being in the world which makes you nicer.

Who doesn’t want a world filled with very aware, very nice people?

Here’s a link to Wallace’s speech (long but so worth reading) and a New York Times list of the best commencement speeches ever given!

Answering the ‘So What?’ Questions

Name: Rita Bouwens

College: Beloit College

Major: Anthropology

Class: 2016

Home State: Michigan

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 What were your main reasons for going to college? 

To continue my education and to begin it, ultimately. Learning is never finished.

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

Not much at all. My parents pretty much let me have free reign to research schools and I didn’t apply to the same schools as my peers.

Where else did you apply?

University of Michigan, University of Chicago, Hope College, Calvin College, Grand Valley State, Aquinas College, Connecticut College, Bates College, Bowdoin College, Trinity College, Wheaton College, Earlham College, Illinois Wesleyan, Knox College, Kalamazoo College, The College of Wooster, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, Grinnell College, Macalester College, Denison College, and Dickinson College.

What do you see as benefits of going to college?

One is able to articulate oneself better and answer the “so what?” questions. Also, “unpacking” complex concepts.

What are some negatives of going to school?

It’s not cheap.

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

I didn’t, mostly because I was ready to start college and I wanted to get it underway.

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

I wouldn’t. I love it here and I think it’s the perfect fit for me.

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

I’d love to be an anthropologist and study mermaids. I’m only half-joking with the second part.

Also, what’s your favorite dessert?

Plain popcorn or apples with peanut butter

A Jumping Off Point

Name: Lena

Major: International Relations

Class: 2015

Home State: Oregon

College: Mount Holyoke College

Malyszko/Mount Holyoke Photo

What were your main reasons for going to college?

To further my education, and to be able to expand my world view.

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

There was a small influence, but there was a rule that if I wanted to apply to any on the East Coast, I would have to apply to the same number on the West Coast.

Where else did you apply?

University of Oregon, University of San Francisco, University of Redlands, University of Denver, American University, Goucher College

What do you see as benefits of going to college?

Being able to meet influential people, either who are influential now, or they will be influential in the future.

What are some negatives of going to school?

I’m super far from my family, and I feel like this is a bit like high school all over again – all-girls high school, women’s college. IR is also a super time-consuming and stressful major, no matter what people say about it.

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

I did, but I knew if I took one, I’d never make it back to school. I ended up taking one term off and going to Europe for school and to travel instead.

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

If I were to go back, I’d apply to a few more schools in the Midwest/Central region. Specifically in Chicago.

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

I plan on Law School and doing something with that in the future, other than
becoming a Lawyer, as I find that dull. Who knows though? It could totally
change.

Favorite band? That’s a toss-up. It’s Mumford and Sons, Maroon 5, or
Macklemore. I’m leaning towards Macklemore.