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Three and a Half Years of Firsts

Julia Newman
Julia Newman ’20, Professional Writing POE

My impending graduation has had me reflecting back on a lot of things lately. Three and a half-ish years ago, I wrote my first blog for Juniata. Now as I write my last, I thought it would be a fun full circle moment to revisit my first ever blog, aptly named “A Year of Firsts.”

My first year of college was one of much adventure. I met my two best friends, lived with my first roommate, gained and then lost the freshman 15, discovered many new passions, tried a million new things, and started figuring out who I was.

Rereading my first blog, I see that so many parts of it were true and so much has changed since I wrote it. I pulled a few quotes that I think are especially relevant to the course of my reflection:

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The Gambian Art Coalition – Part 2

In the summer of 2019, I spent five and a half weeks in The Gambia, West Africa. Three of those weeks were spent studying politics and culture with 19 other Juniata students, and two and a half were spent working for the Gambian Art Coalition.

As a sophomore at Juniata I became the co-founder of the non-profit organization known as the Gambian Art Coalition. Exactly one year later, (as of November 18th, 2019), I am knee-deep in organizing sales and presentations, working with interns and business professionals, and coordinating buying trips and budgets. Being the co-founder and Director of Communications and Marketing of an international non-profit organization was not something I thought I would be doing while earning my undergraduate degree at Juniata College.

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The Gambian Art Coalition

I went into my sophomore year at Juniata with a full schedule. Three jobs, two internships, and a full load of credits. Never in a million years did I think I would have the time or the ability to co-found a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) as an undergrad.

The NGO I cofounded with two of my great friends, Evelyn McCammon and Sarah Borgardt, is called The Gambian Art Coalition. It was an idea brought to us by Professor Nagengast in the Politics department. He’s been travelling to The Gambia for the past 15 years and has made many great friends amongst the Gambians.

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The Infamous HOBO Hike

The HOBO Hike is a rite of passage for all business students at Juniata.  Everyone on campus knows about it, but only a select few have really experienced it.  It’s a mystical and cryptic field trip that you’ll immediately hear fellow Juniatians talking about, but they don’t reveal what exactly it is.  To start, let’s break down what HOBO is; the actual name of the course is Behavioral Analysis of Organizations.  However, it was originally called something like Human Behavior in Organizations.  The professor at the time decided HBO was already taken, so he threw in the “O” to separate it from the TV channel.  And so, the class was dubbed HOBO and it has remained that way ever since.

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