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Like many students who transfer, Jamie Mistretta ’17, from Philadelphia, Pa., was struggling to find an engaging environment at her previous college, which led to a phone call with an admission counselor at Juniata. “I didn’t feel academically challenged, so I knew I wanted to attend a school where academics are a priority, and find a place where I could really get to know other students and professors,” says Jamie. Her phone call allowed her to meet an alum of the College and gain a really authentic understanding of the Juniata community.
After visiting Juniata, Jamie reflected on how easy and important it can be to design your own Program of Emphasis (POE). At Juniata, Jamie is able to take classes in a pre-designated POE program and then take specific courses that allow her to re-define her degree program. “It is great to have the option to study what I want to study and create my own personal POE,” says Jamie. She didn’t lose any time by transferring, as nearly every credit transferred to Juniata. She is currently pursuing a PreK– 4th grade education POE, but she is also interested in speech pathology.
In addition to finding her academic transition easy, Jamie also quickly adapted to a new social atmosphere on campus and in the Huntingdon community. “It was really important for me to go to a school where I could have great relationships with students that did not only revolve around studying,” says Jamie.
Juniata encourages students to interact with classmates through at least one of more than 100 campus clubs. She is currently an active member of Amigos de Guanin, a club that raises awareness and hosts fundraisers for people in Guanin, Dominican Republic, and she is a member of concert choir.
According to Jamie, the key to transferring is acknowledging what aspects you truly need out of your education. Transferring to a different college can be stressful, but phone calls and visits can really allow you to share some of your concerns and interests to achieve a more satisfying college education.
“Don’t hesitate, always apply,” Jamie says. “Applying gives you options and opportunities to find the qualities you want in a college experience.”
Written by: Lauren Frantz ’15
It is officially week 2 of my final year at Juniata College, and let me tell you, I’m already feeling pretty nostalgic. I spent the entirety of last year studying abroad, first in Russia and then in India, and though it was an incredible year full of adventures and new experiences, I am so happy to be back at Juniata. Everyone tells you about being homesick, but no one really warns you about being campus-sick. You really do start to miss your college once you’re gone for a while, but thankfully I still have one year left! Here, I have created a bucket list of things I will endeavor to complete during my final year here.
- Attend every single tradition. At which other college are classes canceled on a random day and everyone picnics at a lake in the mountains? And only at Juniata is there an event where freshmen risk bodily harm by charging at the rest of the student body, trying to fight their way past them. Juniata College has many unique and fun traditions, and I was insanely jealous every time I saw pictures of my friends participating in fun activities, such as eating lobsters at Lobsterfest and pitching tents on the lawn for Madrigal. This year, I am not going to miss out on any of the events and activities at JC.
- Find the secret spots. Because Juniata is located in the mountains, there are many different places to explore around campus. One of my favorite spots is the Cliffs, only a 10-minute walk away. The views are incredible, but another little known fact is that there is a rope swing at the bottom (how cool is that?!). No one really knows where exactly it is, but it can’t be too hard to find. In addition, there are great hiking trails not too far from campus, including 7 Geocaches within a mile (a Geocache is a container filled with an unknown object that you find using GPS coordinates). I have never been Geocaching but who doesn’t love a huge treasure hunt?! Before I graduate, I will leave no stone unturned.
- Make lasting relationships. This may sound cheesy, but one of my goals is to make sure I leave Juniata having made enduring friendships. Juniata is a small community, and I know everyone here has my back and wants the best for my future. I know I can rely on my professors and advisors to guide me both in my final year and after I graduate. In addition to becoming closer to my mentors, I am also looking forward to meeting new people and getting re-involved in my favorite clubs, like Circle K and PAX-O (a Peace Studies club). It’s my last year to really make an impact, so I hope to be as involved as I can! Finally, I know I’m going to miss all of the friendly faces on campus, from Laura who works in Baker to President Troha. These sorts of people make Juniata a happier, brighter place, and ultimately a college that is unique and irreplaceable.
As much as I don’t want it to, senior year is going to fly by. No matter what I’m doing, whether I’m canoeing on Raystown Lake during Mountain Day or debating the meaning of life with a professor, I’m happy to be back home at Juniata. I can’t wait to start checking things off my bucket list!
It’s crazy to think that I only have three weeks left of my first year of college. It seems like just yesterday I was taking trip after trip back out to the car to move all of my stuff into the dorm. This year has definitely flown by! As my semester comes to a close, and this is my last post for the year, I’d like to recap some of my favorite things about my year at Juniata.
I applied for a job in the Admissions Office right off the bat when I arrived at Juniata, and did not have my hopes up since I was only a freshman. Shockingly, however, I got the job! I have had so much fun learning more about how the college admissions process works, and have met such wonderful people throughout the year. I’ve also learned how easy it is to find a job on campus. If you are in need of some cash, Career Services is an incredible place to start. There are so many jobs all over campus, in every field, so it doesn’t matter what qualifications you have, you will definitely find something.
Cafés, Cafés and More Cafés!
If you know anything about me, you’d know that I love cafés. I love the atmosphere, the coffee, and the creative recipes different places make. I love getting off campus, walking into town, and plopping down at a table with a cup of coffee, a scone and tons of homework. This week especially, since I will soon be returning home to Boston, I decided to visit all the different cafés in Huntingdon. Standing Stone, a popular spot, definitely has the best sandwiches and board games, which is a win-win for me! Stone Town Gallery, a café and art gallery, has the best scones and most interesting decor, and so much fun artwork and jewelry to look at and wish for! Wildflower Café, which I actually only visited for the first time today, has the sweetest staff, huge tables to do work, and deliciously strong coffee. When I first came to Juniata I was very hesitant about the small town and the limited number of places to eat, but I have fallen in love with the sweet shops throughout the town.
Visiting the Jail
When I tell people my college is near a prison, most people are shocked, or scared or confused. I had similar reactions when I first learned that too, but now it seems totally normal to me. Especially due to the fact that earlier this year I got to go inside the prison and talk to some of the prisoners. Last semester I took an Introduction to Criminal Justice course that included an opportunity to attend The Day of Responsibility over at SCI Huntingdon. A few of my classmates, my professor and I spent one day inside the prison, listening to different speakers talk about the effects of crime in communities, and even got to speak to different prisoners who have been sentenced to life imprisonment. I was very surprised at how intelligent many of the prisoners were, and how funny, charismatic, and normal they were. The Day of Responsibility definitely challenged and changed some of my views on the criminal justice system, and I was incredibly lucky to have been a part of it.
Personal With Professors
One thing I wanted from college was a strong relationship with my professors. I have learned after this year that Juniata is the best place for that. All of my classes are small (my smallest class is six people), which really gives me the chance to develop a relationship with my professors. I often send an email to one of my professors, with a link to a video I found interesting and thought they might enjoy. I am never afraid to just pop into a professor’s office to say hi, or to ask a question about an assignment, or anything like that. Even if I am struggling with something, my professors have always been there for me, and willing to help in whatever way they can. I really do feel understood and cared for by my professors here at Juniata, which is an incredible feeling.
Warm Weather = Fun on the Quad
As the weather begins to warm up, more and more people have started doing work outside on the quad, which makes me so happy! I always envisioned college to be people leaning against trees, reading books and listening to music while others play frisbee or volleyball nearby. Luckily, that is exactly what I got at Juniata. I’ve been taking my homework outside, and bringing a snack and a blanket in case the weather gets a little chilly, and just finding a spot in the grass to work for a few hours. It’s always relaxing to work in the sunshine, and sometimes (more often than not) someone I know will walk by and sit with me for a while. I’ve even brought my guitar out and took jam session breaks in between studying. I love warm weather, and I love the atmosphere and energy of working outside with others.
There is so much more that happened this year than I can fit in one post, but I tried to capture some of the best things about going to school at Juniata. Although Juniata is a small school and far from home, I couldn’t be happier with my decision to attend.
Being from Florida, you get some interesting questions and looks from other people. When I am asked where I am from I always get this strange look because I chose to move from sunny Florida to bitter cold Pennsylvania. Yes it was a big change and a completely different place that was far away from home, but in the end it was worth it. I got to build my own major at Juniata where I could choose the courses I took and learn what I thing is necessary to build a career. I have chosen to name my degree Entrepreneurial Arts and it is exactly what I want to do. With my degree I can help businesses with their digital media plans.
I also got to continue to play the sport that I love and pick up track and field along the way to challenge myself further. I have two families here with me, my field hockey family and my track family. They are completely different and unique in their own way with multiple personalities. The relationships I have built with my teammates and the moments of silliness are ones that have made my experience so wonderful.
It is great that all the professors want you to succeed and want to genuinely help you to get a good grade, but to grow your knowledge and future. It is nice to go to a small liberal arts college where the professors make time to help their students and always have their door open for you to come in to talk. Juniata wants their students to thrive and the faculty help in any way they can to help students in any aspect they can. As a senior, I have many faculty and staff members that have helped me to prepare my resume and network. My boss even brought me to a marketing conference in Hershey, PA where I was able to learn more about marketing strategies for higher education. All this knowledge and experience will help me build the future that I envision and I am happy to have chosen Juniata College to help me do exactly that.
For me, the car ride to Juniata College was not a long one, only about an hour and a half. Following US 22 you pass picturesque farm land, beautiful mountains, a few houses and arrive in a tiny little town. It is quiet and people were out and about on that warm afternoon. Huntingdon is in central PA, you can’t expect a city here, much night life or a mall. However, Huntingdon has something very interesting: a vibrant multicultural college, with a diverse student body. In the middle of central PA this much diversity is hard to find.
Besides the diversity of the student body, what is so unique about Juniata is how well all these cultures and ethnicities get along. Juniata creates a bonding experience that unites and celebrates the cultures that exist on campus, such as those of Pakistani students, Chinese Students, Vietnamese students, Australian students, and American students.
Juniata Presents, the organization that focuses on bringing art and culture to campus, does a good job at showcasing this diversity through unique musical acts. The Red Baraat and the Hot 8 Brass band, who recently performed on campus are two examples of this diversity. The Hot 8 Brass band represent the music scene in New Orleans. The southern flare, and trumpets are completely different from Red Baraat who has a more Indian hip hop feel to their music. The results are the same: students enjoy them.
Not every performance at Juniata is going to be a favorite of every single student, however the fact that this tiny little college in the middle of farm land central PA can bring these big name shows and allow students to experience these fun cultured performances for free, is a wonderful and transformative learning experience.
Here at Juniata culture is celebrated, and welcomed. It is something not only to be proud of but to be shared.
When I first arrived at Juniata, I felt like everyone around me was from Pennsylvania. Everyone I talked to would say, “Oh yeah, I’m from Altoona,” or, “I live outside of Philly,” or some variation of this. However, I am not one of those people. I’m from Boston, which is a very long drive from Juniata College. When planning my fall, Thanksgiving and winter breaks, I was worried I wouldn’t find a way to get to the airport, or people that weren’t driving home to the same areas I was headed. I was very pleasantly proved wrong.
Juniata has students from almost forty different states in the U.S. as well as over forty different countries. There are so many people who don’t live locally, who fly from University Park Airport in State College or Harrisburg International Airport, take a bus or drive home for the holidays. Juniata College allows freshman to have cars on campus, which has been very helpful for me so far. Although I do not have a car of my own, my roommate, who lives in Altoona, PA, has her own car. She, as well as many of the students here at Juniata, is incredibly generous when offering rides to places I need to go. It is also easy to find other students looking for ride or cab shares on your Juniata Class Facebook group.
If you don’t have friends with access to a car, don’t worry! Juniata offers a shuttle service during the week of breaks throughout the semester. For a low cost, the school will shuttle you to or from campus to some of the neighboring airports in State College and Harrisburg, as well as different bus and train stations in those areas. They are easy to sign up for, and are offered at different times throughout the day to work with everyone’s schedules.
Many people may worry about going to a small school in a small town, but Juniata works to make travel accessible to all students and to make the town of Huntingdon seem not so small!
If I’m being honest, most of my Saturday nights this semester have been wonderfully lazy: playing games, watching movies, and going to get a milkshake at Standing Stone with my friends have become the weekend norm. So, it was a nice change to have a reason to put on a fancy dress and eat some good food. And that reason was Senior Dinner.
On March 1, the Class of 2014 was invited to spend a night remembering the wonderful last four years at Juniata College. This event was generously hosted by the Alumni Association and they succeeded in making it a night to remember. As we walked in, we were able to present something to the class time capsule that will be opened during our 25th Class Reunion in 2039! I recently got a new phone, so I placed a plastic bag into the capsule that held a letter to my 47 year old self and my old EnV 3 phone, which contained texts from friends saved from the night before I left for college my freshman year, pictures from all four years, and lists that I made during my time at Juniata, including my bucket list and a ten year plan. I can just imagine myself, 25 years into the future, looking at the ancient piece of technology and instantly remember all the amazing times I had during these four short years.
There were emotional speeches given by class officers and leaders that reminded us what makes Juniata so special – Madrigal tenting, amazing professors, and Mountain Day. Then, along with some sappy songs, a slideshow was presented with pictures from the past four years that people could submit through the Juniata Senior Facebook page. Memories as recent from my house’s Welcome Back BBQ and as old as freshman Madrigal zoomed by on the screen, and it hit me for probably about the thousandth time that my time here is almost over. That feeling cannot be described any other way than bittersweet. I know that JC has more than prepared me for the “real world” and that it will always be my alma mater; but that does not fully make up for the sad fact that my college experience is almost at an end.
Despite the most noticeable demographics, Juniata College is pretty diverse. There are people from different ethnic backgrounds, countries and cultures, socioeconomic classes, religions, hometowns (cities versus small towns), and personalities. This type of diversity presents a variety of issues because of what I have personally pinpointed as lack of exposure. Just as some people ask “stupid questions” about my hair or look at me weird for walking around most days in outfits that to some of my peers seem too dressy, I ask “stupid questions” about animals I had never seen or the deer hunting culture that is so prevalent in Huntingdon.
Juniata has an entire office, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and Campus Ministry, that is housed in the Unity House, dedicated to helping with culture shock, understanding our unique community, and is a great resource for support.
There are always discussion panels that various clubs and offices hold during the school year that is essentially an open forum to discuss specific topics of differences. I love the fact that at Juniata, there is a yearning for growth and knowledge, and it is displayed by the good turnouts to such events. One of my favorite series that Juniata has is the Beyond Tolerance series. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion brings in guest speakers and performers to do workshops with students, staff, and faculty. This year, some of the programs include African American Historical Trauma, an alumni panel discussing various forms of diversity and how their time at Juniata has positively effected their current careers, women’s rights and advancements, and urban activism and its toxic effects.
By attending such events, you can be eligible to receive a P.E.A.C.E Certificate. It is a nice acknowledgment of your desire to be a more well-rounded citizen and the certificate is even signed by the President of the school. I was so excited to receive my Bronze level last year, after attending six events and I hope to work my way up to Gold before I graduate.