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A big shout out to all the school counselors out there

Kat Swantak
Kat Swantak, Assistant Dean of Admission

Can we just take a moment to give a huge round of applause to all the hardworking school counselors out there?

This year has been absolutely bonkers when it comes to getting students ready for college. As if applying to college wasn’t hard enough, COVID-19 put a huge wrench in the process. No, wait. I take that back, make that like 10 wrenches. Heck toss a screwdriver and a hammer in there too. Every year, standardized testing policies change, application deadlines get extended, and lists or requirements grow longer. But what stays consistent is the true dedication school counselors have to their students’ success.

If you’re a school counselor, thank you. I can’t even count how many calls I’ve had with you to advocate for your students that happen after school hours or even over the weekend. I can’t imagine how huge your caseload is, yet I always see you make time for your students. You field emails from stressed students and parents on Saturdays, and you assure them that colleges actually did receive your their scores even though they may have received an email saying we haven’t.

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Someone asked me why I work at Juniata College

Kat Swantak
Kat Swantak, Assistant Dean of Admission

So, I thought that was kind of strange. It’s almost the kind of question you get in a job interview that forces you to spitball something about job satisfaction and professional development. But, the mother of a student that I’ve been working with since her junior year asked me this a while ago. They’re from NYC, and had their world completely flipped upside-down when they came to rural Pennsylvania. I get it, I grew up in a large town where you can get falafel, acupuncture, and Wegmans within a mile of each other.

“And then what did you do, Kat? We await your response with baited breath!” said no one. Well, I did as I was writing this. Internally though.

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Have you ever asked yourself, “What’s my why?”

Jason Moran
Vice President for Enrollment and Marketing

What I really mean is, have you ever asked yourself, “What’s my purpose?”

Recently, I was on Forbes.com and saw an article titled Do You Know Your “Why?” 4 Questions To Find Your Purpose. In the article, I was immediately drawn to a tweet posted that stated – a clear sense of purpose enables you to focus your efforts on what matters most, compelling you to take risk and push forward regardless of the odds or obstacles. Why am I sharing this? Because this tweet defines a Juniata College lived experience.

After reading both the tweet and the article, I found myself reflecting back on my past eight months at Juniata College serving as Vice President of Enrollment; my move to Huntingdon, PA to join the Juniata community; and my many interactions with Juniata College students, faculty, staff, and alumni.  Why did I find myself reflecting?  Because I instantly made the connection between the article and Juniata College where students, faculty, staff, alumni, and yours truly land to find purpose… or their WHY.

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What I wish I knew – Fernando Gomes, Assistant Dean of Admission

Fernando Gomes
Fernando Gomes, Assistant Dean of Admission

By the time we reach the end of the school year, I will have spent an entire decade in college admissions. Ten years, three different schools in three different states, and I really wonder how time passes by so quickly! (And if that sounds like something an older person would say, don’t worry, you’ll find yourself saying it in due time.)

If there’s one thing I’m appreciative of it is how much I’ve learned over the years. Who I am now is definitely not who I was 14 years ago when I was deciding on what college to attend. There are many times when I want to go back to my high school self and just somehow impart all this new knowledge and do my [college selection?] process all over again! But what’s done is done- I can’t go back in time, and so here I am now working as an admissions counselor, doing my best to give students the knowledge they need, the knowledge I wished I had, to make the best decision for which college to attend.

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Taylor’s Vlog From Home | COVID-19 Edition | Episode 2 and 3

Taylor Hallabuk
Taylor Hallabuk ’20, Strategic Communication POE, Free spirit navigating life through Kesha songs and spontaneity

Hey guys! Episodes 2 and 3 of my vlog are up! Check it out and enjoy!

Episode 2

Episode 3