Seniors share life wisdom

 

Jan. 29, 2014

By Amanda Ramirez

 

Experience is the best teacher. Many people have heard this age-old proverb from instructors and relatives throughout their lives.

College enriches students with not only academic preparation, but also with experiences that can be applied to future occurrences for the rest of their lives.

If experience is the best teacher, underclassmen can learn from the experiences of seniors who have recently participated in similar life occurrences.

Advice from students with similar successes, concerns and problems can guide an underclassman in the right direction or prevent a mistake in the future.

 

Academic Advice 

On campus, there are many opportunities to gain experience through internships, organizations and programs that aid students in their transition to the working world.

Pamela Crisafulli, an academic adviser, works primarily with freshmen. A recent UW-Whitewater graduate, Crisafulli received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in counseling.

Crisafulli said she believes UW-W’s quality education, smaller class room size and professors who are dedicated to their students’ academic development, rather than their individual research, have prepared her for the working world.

Senior Alyssa Reetz, elementary education major and writing minor, said it is easy to become discouraged when a student’s course load becomes overwhelming.

“Even though you might have a tough spot, if you make changes in your study habits and your personal life, you can get through it, and you can continue your education,” Reetz said.

 

Career Guidance 

Senior Alexandra LaBonte, geography major and environmental studies minor, entered college with an undeclared major.

“You don’t need to decide what you want to do right away,” LaBonte said. “Let it come to you. Experience different classes, different orgs, go to different events and meet new people.”

Brian Bredeson, associate director of Career & Leadership Development, said  those who are undeclared or unsure of their major or career plans, should make an appointment with a C&LD adviser to receive guided self-assessments and career exploration.

“It’s an unconditional thing; you can come in as you are, and we can help you with whatever stage you’re at,” Bredeson said.

C&LD provides students with skills to find relevant internships and work opportunities.

 

Life Lessons

Senior Aly Rudy, psychology major and Spanish minor, said one of the most important life lessons she learned during her college career was to keep small issues in perspective. She found focusing on overall academic and career goals take precedence over petty problems that may arise.

“The little things don’t matter,” Rudy said. “It’s the big things. It’s the big picture that matters more than the little details.”

LaBonte, sustainability director for Whitewater Student Government, said UW-Whitewater has prepared her for future endeavors by equipping her with knowledge and  confidence in herself and her skills.

LaBonte said assurance is gained through, “Stepping out of your box. Speaking with different people. Pushing yourself in directions where you might be scared, but the end result is positive.”

Now, LaBonte aspires to become a sustainability director for a university or private company.

“Aim higher than you think you might get,” Crisafulli said. “It’s much harder to make a dream bigger than it is to scale it down.”

Crisafulli suggests students should attempt to leave their comfort zone to learn about different lifestyles.

Crisafulli also said expanding cultural horizons on and off campus allows students to see different perspectives, a useful skill in the working world.

“Do things that expose you to new cultures and ideas so that you learn the difference between something being wrong and something being different,” Crisafulli said.

A common theme mentioned throughout interviews with upperclassmen and recent graduates was to make an effort to explore unfamiliar cultures, topics and people. College is a time to grow rich in experience and knowledge.

“Listen less to fear and doubt, and reach for the courage to say ‘yes,’” Crisafulli said.

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