The People You Meet

Lauren web cropped.fwGoing to college is all about new experiences, even if it also feels like you’re leaving things and people behind. As a senior in high school, I knew I wanted to attend college, but I knew that I would need a job on campus to help cover the cost. I wasn’t looking at a job as this perfect way to meet people since I was leaving my great high school job. I thought I would just look for anything available and make enough money to support myself.

After a little searching, I found a job in the Post Office on campus. At first it was just a regular job where I worked with other students and supervisors, but they were quickly beginning to feel more like friends than just co-workers

I soon realized I would need more experiences in my field to write on my résumé, and so I looked into internships. I went to an English alumni panel, where I met Genna Kasun. After I listened to each alum discuss what they enjoyed about their jobs, I was very interested in Genna’s work with the Marketing department. She mentioned she was looking for interns, so I contacted her about an interview. She immediately recognized me as “the post office girl,” which was a surprising benefit of working at the post office because you meet lots of faculty and staff by delivering their mail. After a lot of crossed fingers and toes, I had a second job as Genna’s intern.

As a Marketing intern, an employee at the Post Office, and a full time student, I have learned the importance of managing my time well and taking naps. Naps are very important. While working for Genna, during the school year and over the past two summers I have been able to let my voice be heard. I’ve found myself writing for the Admission and Alumni magazines, attending conferences at other colleges, researching grant funders, editing grants, and so much more. She has given me so many amazing opportunities and provided me with skills and experiences that I will definitely use in my intended career as an Editor ─ I am forever grateful.

My job at the Post Office has also shown me how important it is to never stop forming relationships with people. Even though I knew I was leaving some great people by going to college, my supervisor Lori Hughes has become so much more to me than just my boss. She gives me such insightful guidance that goes beyond just being an employee at the Post Office. She always encourages me to pursue my goals, she says, “You should be happy in whatever you do in life, so don’t be scared to make the big life decisions.” When you meet someone that just gives advice and truly cares about your life, it is an incredible experience.

It’s an amazing thing when you walk in the door looking for a job and meet inspiring people that you might never have otherwise. What I didn’t realize then, is that the process of meeting people that will have a remarkable and significant impact on your life never really ends.

Best or Worst Week?

Relaxing with friends at Finals Blowout.

Relaxing with friends at Finals Blowout.

Finals week can be the best or worst week of the year. It can be the best because somehow the gods blessed you with not having any finals. The other poor souls, including myself, have exams or a project due for almost every class. Luckily, the Office of Student Activities provides a week of stress busters that usually come with free food.

Even if you are stressed beyond the point of remembering to take a shower, going to the stress busters are a requirement. One of the best stress busters is called Finals Blowout. At this one, there are free t-shirts, create your own stuffed animal, board games, a giant inflatable obstacle course, and tons of free food. This one is the best one because it’s later at night, allowing students to study all day.

One of the best stress busters is when the humane society brings puppies or kittens into Ellis Ballroom. A room full of adorable puppies and kittens is the perfect cure for an overly stressed college students. Another bonus is that there are also cookies and donuts.

These stress busters really do help Juniata College students relax. Not having these stress busters would result in students over exhausting themselves and believing that not sleeping is a good thing. If you are one of the lucky students who had hardly anything to do, my only advice to you is that you shouldn’t expect that kind of luck every year.

End of Freshman Year

A lot of people say that you change when you go to college. I expected myself to change; Juniata College was listed in Loren Pope’s Colleges That Change Lives. I just didn’t know how I would change. A graduating high school senior hears so much about college that he or she has no idea what is true, what is an exaggeration, or what does not apply to that specific school. While I haven’t finished my college career yet, I have finished one year and I can already see a difference in myself and how I view the world.

Juniata’s environment encourages healthy change. The professors are available and willing to talk to students about their academic interests to help them find a direction to head in or their personal problems to help them make the transition to the college lifestyle. Additionally, there are plenty of students who have great consciousness of issues and plenty of students with open minds who are willing to learn more. Juniata is a great place to have a casual and intellectual conversation. It’s a friendly place to get used to living away from home and to get a taste of the “real world.”

The most major change that I see within myself is my new awareness of the world. There are global issues that I’ve never heard of or discussed before, problems that individuals face in other countries and in our own, and a lifetime worth of literature to read from non-English speaking countries. I never thought that reading literature in translation would be this rewarding until I took World Literatures last semester. You could say that I had a fairly sheltered life. I never watched the news. I never picked up a newspaper. Now, when I hear about something I read news articles myself and I talk to people who are always on top of the latest news. The friendliness of Juniata’s students is really helpful in these situations, since other students are often happy that you are willing to try to understand these issues and will help you out as much as they can. I’ve made friends from all over the United States and also from other countries, and I’ve come to realize that every one of these people has had different life experiences up to this point and that I can learn something from every person I come in contact with. Most importantly, I’ve learned that the standard advice of acting friendly toward everyone is very true and very important and that you should approach every situation and opportunity with an open mind.

Life Changed

Well. This is it: my final blog post. Seems like my life is full of endings lately; the last day of internship, a final choir concert, and last house dinners. My parents took a lot of my furniture home with them after convocation, yesterday. However, I had a friend tell me when I was feeling down about all these great things coming to an end, that my life is still in its beginning chapters. And that really made sense  and  comforted the book nerd in me.

So in those terms, these past four years at Juniata College were just the beginning of my life story. But, what an amazing start! If you would have told me four years ago that college would be this fantastic experience, I probably would have agreed with you; but I don’t know if I would have said that I expected college to change me.

I know that is has though; I started to fully realize this during this past semester in probably one of the strangest ways. I re-watched early episodes of “Glee”  on Netflix with my housemate, who had never seen the show before. I was obsessed with the show in high school and while I kept up with the show when I could in college, I haven’t seen the early season since they aired. As I was watching them this past semester, I could easily remember the first time I saw them. And I realized what a different person I was back then.

Freshman me at my very first visit to the Cliffs.

Freshman me at my very first visit to the Cliffs.

In high school, I just wanted to blend in. Despite my love for vintage clothes, I wore jeans and Hollister tees to fit in;  I didn’t want to cause a stir. I also didn’t stand up for myself, which resulted in me getting emotionally hurt. Juniata, however, changed all that. I found amazing friends who didn’t care what I wore – in fact, liked the unique clothes I started to collect. I took classes and talked with professors who gave my thoughts validity. Without realizing it, I became a much stronger person; someone who could say what she believed, wear the clothes she loved, and have a goal of helping women and girls in harmful relationships. Juniata and this community made all of those things possible.

These are friendships that last a lifetime.

These are friendships that last a lifetime.

Sure, Juniata isn’t perfect, but what school is? Really, what home is? Because that is what Juniata has become to me: my home. I know that it is going to be hard to leave (I mean, I’m tearing up writing this – graduation day, I will probably be an emotional wreck), but I know that I will always have the memories of my time here, the strength and knowledge that I learned, and the support of  my Juniata friends and community for the rest of my life. I know that my life is going to keep on changing, but I know that because of Juniata, it is going to keep on changing for the better.

Filling Your Empty Bowl

The tables of "empty" bowls.

The tables of “empty” bowls.

When spring finally arrives at Juniata College, one of the best fundraisers to look forward to is Empty Bowls. One of my favorite parts about Empty Bowls is that all of the proceeds go to the Huntingdon Area Food Bank.

When you go to Empty Bowls, you can expect AMAZING soups and beautiful pottery bowls. Part of the Empty Bowls tradition is that when you arrive at Stone Church, you get to pick out a hand made bowl for yours to keep. All of the bowls look amazing so it can be difficult only choosing one.

After picking your bowl, you then get TONS of soup. Local restaurants donate soup for everyone to enjoy. My favorite was donated from the local Chinese restaurant, Great Dragon. Looking at all of the delicious soups makes me wish that I could have 5 stomachs so I could try them all.

Participating in Empty Bowls makes me feel very connected to the Huntingdon community. Knowing that ALL of the proceeds are donated to the food bank makes me want to continue the tradition of going to Empty Bowls every year. This is an event that EVERYONE should go to. I mean, who doesn’t love soup?

JC Relay’s for Life

President Troha knows how to rock a tutu as well!

President Troha knows how to rock a tutu as well!

Last Saturday was absolutely gorgeous – the cold winter weather finally broke. And I was lucky enough to spend the entire day outside with my friends, while raising money for a great cause! And I may have even got to wear a tutu, while singing ‘Frozen’ at the top of my lungs.

This day was one of Juniata’s spring traditions, Relay for Life and Springfest. People form teams all to raise money for cancer research, through the Relay for Life organization. Then, all the teams set up booths with activities or things to sell such as crafts, games, food,etc; everyone walks laps around the booths to see what everyone else is selling and to raise awareness.  This year we had a Disney theme, so the quad was decorated with Disney character cutouts and all the teams had cartoon inspired names.

Alexa and Kristoff get to know each other.

Alexa and Kristoff get to know each other.

I got to spend my time with my friend’s team, called Pascal’s Pals. We sold glasses that were hand-painted and had a “Goodwill for Life” table where an abundance of donated clothes could be purchased.

LW Relay Eagle web

The JC Eagle even made an appearance!

The happy day was ended with a memorial lap with paper bag lanterns lightening the day, with a slideshow in honor or in memory of those loved ones who have or had cancer. I think that this is one of Juniata’s most uplifting traditions and I’m glad that I could contribute this year.

Liberal Arts Symposium

As a first year at Juniata College, today I experienced my first Liberal Arts Symposium. Liberal Arts Symposium is a day where classes are canceled and the Juniata community is encouraged to go to see presentations about the research done by students. In addition to oral presentations, there were posters in the library and student art in the von Liebig Center for Science. Liberal Arts Symposium is also called “Mountain Day of the Mind,” and while looking at posters and listening to presentations does not sound like the ideal day of canceled classes, I found Mountain Day of the Mind just as exciting as Mountain Day (I also did not have to wake up at 4 in the morning).

CJ LAS1webI started the day by attending presentations on history and English research, which I found really interesting. After those, I went with some friends to see the art in VLB. The drawings, paintings, ceramics, and everything else were great. One of my friends went with me and she gave me some insight into the symbolism of different colors and styles in some of the pieces, which I really appreciated. We then went to the library to see some of the posters. The posters covered disciplines such as computer science, communications, environmental science, biology, and chemistry. Later in the day, I observed a panel of four students who created videos for an upper level writing class. The videos concerned accurate and ethical portrayals of themselves or others, which led to some moving stories of real people. Finally, I attended the Multicultural Storyfest, which consisted of international students sharing parts of their cultures. Two Russian poems and a dance from Thailand are some examples of the presentations from Multicultural Storyfest.

CJ LAS2 web

Students at Juniata work hard. With classes, papers, exams, homework, and other activities, the average student has a decent amount of work at any time. I think that Liberal Arts Symposium is a great way for other students and professors to take a break for a day and recognize and appreciate the impressive research that is being conducted or artwork that is being made throughout the year.

Welcome to Florida

Before spring break, everyone on campus is talking about what they are going to do with their break. I personally heard three main types of spring breaks: the people who sleep through it, the people who go on vacation, and the people who take service trips. I however, was not in any of these categories. As a part of the Juniata Softball team, we took a spring break trip to Florida. As nice as the warm Florida weather sounds and how exciting and fun the trip actually was, it was exhausting. Overall, we were in Florida for a week. We played a total of ten games, two per day. The day we got there, we also practiced. Doing all of this, right out of the gates in the hot Florida sun is exhausting, but the fun parts made it totally worth it.

Me at the Yankees Game

Me at the Yankees Game

In my opinion, the best day of the whole spring break trip was Wednesday, March 12th. This day was also known as our only free day. We had to option to either go somewhere with our parents, go with someone else’s parents, or go with one of the coaches to a New York Yankee’s Spring Training game. As a huge Yankee fan, I decided that even though my parents were in Florida, I wanted to go to the game. It was pretty awesome. Not only did I get to sleep in that day, but I also got to see Derek Jeter in person, who is retiring this year. It was pretty exciting.

Team Community Service

Team Community Service

We did other fun things in Florida too. One night we got to explore Downtown Disney, the huge shopping center in Orlando. Another night, we ended up exploring Orlando trying to find an ice cream place because everyone on the team wanted ice cream. Something huge we also did was community service. Our Coach wants us to help out the community everywhere we go. We ended up helping a local softball park make its park look better by painting the parking stops. Overall, I would say the fun and exciting parts of the trip balanced out the exhausting parts. This kind of trip really helped our team bond as a whole and it was totally worth the experience.

Trike-a-thon

Hi! My name is Leah Jans, and I am a junior studying prek-4th grade education. One of my absolute favorite things about the education program is the fact that I get to work in the Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC)! I never leave the center without a smile on my face and fun stories to tell my classmates.

ChildhoodCenter006 webOne of my fondest memories from the center is the trike-a-thon. It’s an event they run every year to raise money for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Before the big day, the children get friends and family members to sponsor them so they can raise money individually. More money is raised the day of through community members who stop by and donate money at the event.

As a Juniata student working in the ECEC, I get to help set up the course. We add obstacles such as stop signs and caution tape that the children need to maneuver around while they ride their trikes. At the very beginning to the event, all of the children line their trikes up at the starting line, and we count down before the children start.

It is so much fun to watch the children ride their trikes around. Some race each other, some choose to ride their trikes like a car and obey traffic laws, and some try to run down the Juniata students with their trikes. They spend the whole morning riding their trikes while their parents and family members watch.

Other than fun events like the trike-a-thon, having the opportunity to work in the ECEC has given me many other opportunities as well. I have gotten to attend family nights when I help run activities for the children and their families to participate in. The ECEC also runs a May program for children who want to attend the center for an extra month, and I have to opportunity to work there for the month of May. I will help supervise the children, plan activities, and chaperone a field trip. By starting out as an education student helping out in the ECEC for class credit, I have gotten many other opportunities that will lend themselves to invaluable experiences and will help me with my future career as a teacher!

International Roommate

In my opinion, one of the most interesting aspects about Juniata is the presence of international students on campus. I can’t think of an experience that I have had with an international student that was negative. Overall, they are some of the friendliest students on campus. It’s also interesting to see what different perspectives they bring to the classroom. I’ve met students from England, Germany, Russia, Spain, Japan, and Myanmar, just to name a few. However, I also have a roommate who is from France.

I know almost no French. And I can’t even pronounce the few words that I do know, I can only spell them. Nonetheless, we are able to communicate through English. Although he is usually pretty good with vocabulary, there are times when a word escapes him. This leads to one of my favorite parts about rooming with someone whose native language isn’t English: the game of guessing what he is trying to say. It’s kind of like a real life version of Catch Phrase or Taboo. Of course, there are websites for translation online, but where’s the fun in that? There’s also the friendly accusations that arise when English has stolen a word directly from French or when French takes from English. This word guessing game keeps both of us on our toes with vocabulary, which I appreciate as an English POE.

I’m not well-traveled at all; I’ve never left the country and I can count the states that I’ve been to on my fingers. So, it’s really nice to be able to talk to someone from a different culture and to see where we are similar and where we are different. Apparently, our American trains are not as good as European trains. He takes a train to school every day in France, and I’ve never taken a train anywhere in my life. Also, since the education systems are different, the term “college” for him is “middle school” for me. It’s really interesting to be able to talk with someone from another country on a regular basis and to be able to learn from each other, and I’ve had a great roommate experience.

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