My Memorial Day weekend was spent crammed in a van with eleven other people, running through torrential downpours and therefore having my shoes in a constant state of sogginess, and having one scary experience with a groundhog. And I have to say, it was one of the best weekends ever!
I traveled with a group of young adults to Camp Pine Lake, which is in Eldora, Iowa to be with other 18-35 year-olds of the Church of the Brethren for a weekend of fun, fellowship, and of course, four-square. I flew into Chicago to meet up with the group that I was traveling with, met up with a Juniata friend, and then it was off to Iowa! Unfortunately, it rained from the moment that we got out of the van at the camp and stopped a half an hour before we all climbed back into the van.
However, that certainly didn’t stop us from having a fantastic weekend! We set up the four-square court with tape to the floor, picked our favorite hymns and worship songs to sing, and caught up with our peers in the denomination – discussing ways on how to stay connected to each other throughout the year and how we can make our voices heard in the denomination.
These experiences make me so appreciative of the historical connection between the Church of the Brethren and Juniata. Being apart of Brethren Student Fellowship at school has allowed me to be even more involved with the Church as a whole and get to meet a bunch of amazing people that I other wise may not have met!
Oh, and the groundhog. This poor little guy in an attempt to get out of the rain, parked himself right in front of my cabin door. I discovered this as I was walking back from the shower and didn’t have my glasses on and therefore, I wasn’t really sure what was in front of me. I’m not sure who was more startled by the others presence. At least he let me snap a picture of him!
High school probably can be looked back on as the good old days, where minimal studying could occur and classes would still be passed with ease. There were no worries in the world because most parents were there to nag and make sure they could proudly watch their child receive that farewell handshake and be handed their diploma. For some, that was sufficient enough in schooling but for others, that was just the start.
Entering the college environment is a whole new universe. Your performance in high school could have been at the top of your class, but now you have the same type of students from all over competing to one day have that one extra part to their resume that will determine they get the job over anyone else. Realizing the importance of not only getting to make new friends, meeting professors that will change the course of your life and exploring new and exciting opportunities but thrown into the mix is also how to advance your future outlook. Building networks and establishing a name for yourself is crucial to succeed in such a competitive job force. That’s a lot of pressure that is placed on you to determine your own destiny. But having the support and available advice at a college such as Juniata, students cannot only enhance their knowledge but also go that extra step further in life.
When needing to build your resume or just seeking hands-on experience, no other college makes it more effortless than Juniata. Not only do they have a Career Services Office that can set you up with shadowing, internships and tips on how to put a competitive edge on your resume but also hold facility and staff’s expertise for research opportunities and answers to questions.
I was able to experience for myself the endless number of opportunities offered and available through the college. I got insight from a friend about a special internship for Juniata students through the Career Services Office. When I went to inquire about it, the director was so helpful and within a month I was a shadowing intern. My internship was at the Altoona Hospital in Altoona, Pennsylvania. It was through a residency program set up in the hospital through Altoona Family Physicians that ran anywhere from 7:00AM-5:00PM on weekdays. The internship was strictly shadowing and more of just getting the students exposed to the typical duties and responsibilities of a family doctor. Because interaction with patients comes with medical students and not undergraduate students, the exposure is limited but so is the knowledge of aspiring medical students. Even so, some of the residents were gracious enough to explain and teach the students about everything that was going on with the patients. I was able to learn and take so much from the experience. Some of the unforgettable moments were witnessing C-sections and a natural birth, learning different suture tying techniques and being allowed to assist in a routine pregnancy check-up. A majority of the time was spent with residents but interaction with the doctors and even medical students was incorporated. This was special for me because they went through the tough schedules and difficult struggles that are faced everyday as a biology undergraduate student. They can relate and reassure that a bad semester or grades that do not live up to your expectations are perfectly alright. Everything will be worth it in the end if you set your heart and mind to it.
Being able to experience this internship with some of my peers was definitely worth a majority of my time winter break. It reassured me that my dream to pursue medical school is the path I want to take with my life. Even though I do not wish to be a family doctor, exposure to this branch of medicine allowed me to narrow my focus down and know that this certain field is not my calling. Opportunities and experience like these are plentiful at Juniata. It’s up to the students to be proactive about their future and start it somewhere. The future is yours, embrace it with open arms and an aspiring heart full of ambitions and a countless number of possibilities will await.
Finals week… AKA stress. Over the next week I have a 58 page final project due, two essays, and two final tests. It’s safe to say over the last month I didn’t go out much. Last Friday I was doing what I had done for the last couple of weeks, working on school assignments with no intention of sleeping. I was attempting to figure out how to run a Chi Square test on SPSS for my statistics project when my friends rushed into my room saying I had to go out with them to the foam dance party. While I was reluctant to be torn away at first I gave in eventually.
The scene at the foam dance party was in short, awesome. There was a live DJ and a giant swimming pool full of foam with a crowd of people playing around with their friends. When we jumped inside what ensued was a lot of foam being thrown at each other, and I mean a lot. After an hour I think I had my fill of foam fun for a lifetime. That’s one of the things I love about Juniata. They always have events to remind you college is a lot of work, but it’s supposed to be fun too. Afterwards I got back to work, but a lot more distressed. Also I had another memory about freshman year in the books.
When I tried to remember what I’ve been doing for the past week, this is the list I came up with, in the order that I thought of:
1) This past Friday, I ventured
up to the peace chapel with three of my closest friends. It was a much-needed break from staring at textbooks and computer screens, and the perfect day for enjoying some sun and relaxing.
2) The Global Village was hosting an end of the year barbeque on Saturday, and my housemates and I spent hours that morning making shrimp shishkabobs and a pesto-pasta salad. All of the language houses made something for everyone to share, and oh my, was it all delicious.
3) On Sunday night, two of my friends and I took a study break and made homemade no-bakes.
4) The weather this week has been lovely, and I’ve spent a decent amount of time doing some work (…and sometimes taking a nap) with my equally as lovely housemates on the lawn outside of our house.
6) Yesterday, I went to lunch with one of my good friends and housemates at Standing Stone. We sat outside and ate our delicious Panini’s and sipped our smoothies, just enjoying the sun and people walking by.
If you’d asked me in person, I probably would have said something along the lines of “oh, a ton of work, you know.” This is not to say that I haven’t been working like a crazy person to finish everything that needs to be done, but I’ve realized that the people around me have made this week one of the best of my year, and it’s the week before finals!
The last few weeks of the semester are always rough. Anywhere you look, students are frantically trying to finish those last two papers, study like crazy for the coming exams, or desperately working to perfect end-of-the-year presentations. But the moments that I’ve spent with the people that I love here has made every painfully-late night of work more than worth it. These are the memories that I’ll look back on, seeing my friend’s faces mid-laughter, or remembering something especially amusing that they said. A good college experience has so much to do with the people you surround yourself with, and I’d say I’m pretty lucky.