April 2nd, 2011

ATTENTION UNDERGRADUATES: FIND A MENTOR!

A little self-disclosure: it’s been a rough semester.

As much as I’m enjoying my classes (particularly the Water: Science & Society and comparative religion courses), it’s been tough managing my time and my priorities, with various jobs, classes, school work, and thesis prep… and as a result, my emotions about being so busy/overwhelmed/CRAZY-STRESSED!

I know this happens to everyone at some point, whether it’s in college or not: what am I doing with my life? I need to soak everything up and do everything I can! I need to do my absolute best or else I’m going to disappoint not only myself, but others, too!

It’s tough going through these existential crises, especially if you think you’re alone. Communicating with my adviser has been paramount in getting through these tough times. Even though periods of discontent and frustration come in waves (and unfortunately affect my progress in school), it’s my determination that taps me on the shoulder every once in a while and says gently, “Hey Sar, you need a little extra help! You can do better than this!”

It’s these times when I’ve turned to my adviser and mentor for a little extra push. Not only that, but understanding too. A little aside: One of the students in our honors’ program is what we call an “adult learner.” She has a family of her own: two sons (who I believe have finished college?), and a daughter currently studying abroad in New Zealand. This is the first semester I’ve had classes with her. One morning, before diving into the deep meaning of cosmology and cosmetics (a story for another day!), she turned to me and said, “Sara, I don’t know how you all do this! I’m taking 15 credits and I can’t ever do this much again! It’s so much work… and you all manage jobs and social life, too? I can’t imagine!”

It’s true: college students are the ULTIMATE multi-taskers (albeit the ultimate procrastinators, too). Not only are we all juggling school, work, family and social life, but we’re going through an intense shift in power: we are now in control of our lives. As liberating as it is, it’s scary, too! And this is why college can be so hard if you don’t have someone to talk to, someone who understands what you, specifically, are going through. They can help tailor your college experience to fit your needs, your strengths, and your dreams!

So… this is a long-winded way of saying: GO FIND A FRIEND IN A FACULTY MEMBER. Find someone you trust, someone who is easy to talk to, someone you respect. Ideally, the trust and respect will be mutual, and can only help foster an amazing undergraduate learning experience.

Keep questioning,
Sara