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Lessons I’m Glad I Now Know

As I set down the book of my Juniata Experience, I reflect on the many lessons I gleaned over my four years at Juniata College. From graduating with an individualized Program of Emphasis to coming to terms with being a student-athlete throughout COVID-19, here are some lessons I’ve learned at JC.

Don’t fret about what comes next. Even during my first year, there were students who had clear plans about what they wanted to do after graduation – going to law school, medical school, teaching or more. By my junior and senior year even more of my peers had plans set in stone. I was different. Sitting at my desk for hours each week brainstorming ideas, I still didn’t feel that same drive to commit to some idea of who I want to be that I wasn’t fully on board with. It wasn’t until my last semester of college that same drive to decide finally came. It’s okay not to know what awaits you after Juniata, but once something motivating jumps out, make sure to grab on to that next adventure and hold on tight!

Motivation can come from anywhere. This lesson I learned from the journey leading up to my next adventure after college. I’ve vacationed outside the US before, but never lived elsewhere for an extended period of time. When COVID-19 crushed my opportunity to study Communications abroad in Germany in Summer 2020, I felt even more motivated to travel overseas. I briefly held out hope that a reprieve would come in the form of a trip to Brazil for my men’s volleyball team to play in a preseason tournament my final semester. Not surprisingly, even that was postponed. In the winter when I was given the chance to continue both my academic and athletic career by getting a Master’s Degree in England, I immediately jumped on the opportunity. Although the decision was my own, the opportunity given to me came thanks to the complete higher education experience that I underwent at Juniata. And, the motivation driving my leap of faith to move overseas to earn an MA was thanks to the strong encouragement to study abroad and opportunities for travel at Juniata that I was sad to have missed.

Live in the moment was the most important lesson I learned from Juniata. When people told me freshman year that four years will pass in the blink of an eye, I had no idea what they meant. It wasn’t possible then for me to see that one day soon, I would be walking across the stage to pick up my diploma, saying so long to the halls of BAC and having an especially sentimental final meal at Baker. It’s sad when the chapter titled ‘College’ in the book of our lives closes but part of living in my new present means living with our connection to Juniata.

As an alumni I expect to stay connected with both the lessons learned and people met through my alma mater. And when it’s your turn to leave the nest, I hope you don’t forget your eagle family either.

How Juniata is thriving during the pandemic

Theo Weinberger
Theo Weinberger ’21, Multi-Sport Athlete

How is it possible that at Juniata, despite CoVID restrictions, I’m allowed to compete in the annual Bailey Oratorical speech contest in person? I get to eat food at Baker celebrating Mardi Gras at a table with four of my friends?  Juniata students are in the fortunate position of having found a new normal during the CoVid19 public health crisis while keeping our on-campus students’ test positivity rate– our rate of infection –just around 1%. Through the extraordinary performance by our school, faculty, and most importantly, our students, we’ve been able to enjoy what many other colleges cannot at this time.

Of course, if your school is like most high schools or colleges across the U.S., these privileges may seem unbelievable for you.  Dining, sports, being with friends? The option for in-person classes that maintain the quality of education that has been more familiar and effective than SOME online classes have been for many? How is it possible?

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Juniata Esports: We Work Hard and Game Hard

Theo Weinberger
Theo Weinberger ’21, Multi-Sport Athlete

Just like there is no one “right way” for a person to go about finding their place in the Juniata community, I didn’t join the JC Eagles Esports team the “right way.” I didn’t have any knowledge of who or what would be waiting for me when I followed the flyer leading me to the Super Smash Bros Ultimate Team tryouts. As I meandered through the front door of the ESports Lounge neighboring the Tussey and Terrace Dorms, I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to be on the team yet. This doubt disappeared when the team captain invited me to take part in the tryouts.

The Juniata College ESports Lounge
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Surprised? College Online brings the best out of JC Athletics!

Theo Weinberger
-Theo Weinberger ’21, Communication POE, California Skater Dude

It’s been over a month since spring break ended, and the reality for Juniata athletes became classes in pajamas as they co-enrolled at in Zoom University. Parents’ home cooked meals have replaced our sweet Baker and Eagles Landing meals. Lovable pets and our cute siblings may be replacing our team bonding and connections for now, but we shall not forget the Oak shaped holes in our hearts that our early departure from Juniata left us with. Maybe this sounds like an ideal college experience for you? Studying from home may sound like paradise for some, but for others it quickly became clear that not all aspects of life at Juniata College are as fruitful when recreated at home. Being at home has made me miss the appeal of living at college. Part of what makes us Juniatians is that we are adaptable and we press on, and that’s exactly what the Juniata Athletics program is at the forefront doing.

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The Dreaded First Year 15

I’m proud to admit that I have lost my First Year 15. Much of the hearsay about college has made it seem almost inevitable that parents will foot the bill, but also by the student in the form of baggy eyes and a little extra “chub” around the edges. In my first year of college, I gained over 30 pounds. In my second year of college, I made it a goal to get back the “pep in my step” so I can continue to compete at the varsity level. Now as a junior, I’m in better shape than I’ve ever been in my life. In college, having a healthy lifestyle can be tough because living alone is a first for many undergrads. Balancing a healthy lifestyle and enjoying your newfound independence can be a struggle for any new college student!

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