What is your take on liberal arts education?
I went into it – and I still definitely feel this way – believing that people who study here can get an entirely liberal arts education and do whatever they want with it. Actually business is a great example, because depending on how the business application process actually went, I felt pretty confident that I could take whatever direction that I wanted to go. So much of life happens based on skills, and especially based on people that you know. There are things that you don’t necessarily learn in a classroom but you still have to do. You have to get communication skills, for example, and to make connections with people around you, and a lot of that comes from how you learn rather than what you learn. I definitely feel like I kind of do whatever I wanted to, and balance it in any way that I wanted to, so I feel like I have a decent shot. Maybe I’m in a false sense of security or comfort, but I feel pretty confident. I buy into the idea of it. It sets you up well.
As a sophomore, do you spend a lot of time thinking about what you will do in the future?
I try to spend as little as possible. I’m waiting until a wall runs into me in two years, and I’ll sort it out then.
Do you have any advice to our student community?
The more I spend time here around people, the more I wish that everybody would calm down a little bit and be relaxed. I think there’s always a lot of difficulty in finding your place in college and settling down. My advice would just be, “Take your time, sort everything out, and value the people around you.”
You brought up a good point. Do you feel like you had a difficult time initially? Or did you just clicked right in here?
I was lucky enough to initially click right in here. But it’s college, and it’s four years of your life where you are really doing a lot with yourself. It’s impossible to have people not take different directions, which means that, if you start out in college and find yourself in this little cluster of people, as the years go on it’s like a web slowly getting bent and pulled in different directions – which is a natural process. People go off in different directions, and you lose people while other people come back. It’s difficult to change without shifts. I was having these conversations with several of my friends before. We are just wondering, “Did you make a right call a couple months ago when you joined this organization that’s now pulling you away from your friends, or pulling you in a direction that you didn’t realize? Or do you wish you could double back on?” For me, the difficulty has always been that, because I started out so well – I was blessed enough to have a good freshman hall – I have to try to hang onto that.
Do your friends reach out to you if they are in a difficult situation?
That’s a strangely pertinent question. I think recently we’ve all had a series of individual problems, and so I definitely feel like they’ve reached out to me and everyone, because that’s the nature of our group. Especially in the past month, there has been a lot of reaching out to one another. I think it’s good that we all feel comfortable with that. But at the same time – a good friend and I talked about this – we kind of sit around and think, “Okay, the group needs a win.” When one person doesn’t get something right, it’s a shared thing; it’s impossible to avoid it. When something goes good for us, it is also shared; so we sit back and rest on that. Now, someone has got to win; somebody has to get into something or apply to something and get accepted, because a lot of other people are having a tough time.
I genuinely wish that college could be more about inner fulfillment and satisfaction from personal growth and learning. But it seems society frames college as a pile of medals and a piece of paper.
It’s impossible to avoid too. Everything feels like a gamble because there’s so much of a stake in your life’s direction. I have friends who have transferred and I think they made the right decision, and friends who did not transfer, and I agree with their decision as well. But at the same time, it’s such a gamble. Where are you going to end up? Even though I definitely agree with a decision to move, it’s still a loss and it still hurts. With every single thing, the stakes feel so high. The only way to describe college is a way to prepare for your future. When you say, you are going to this program or that program, and well, that’s the rest of my life right there. But in reality, there’s definitely a lot of wiggle room and room for change and to make what you want to be of yourself in the world. There’s plenty of room out there. But because the dialogue that we have to talk about all these things is wrapped up in the far, far future, it’s hard not to feel as if the rest of your life is going to be decided for you in the next few months.