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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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What I wish I knew – Steven Simons, Senior Associate Dean of Admission and Marketing

Steven Simons
Steven Simons, Senior Associate Dean of Admission and Marketing

“College is the best four years of your life. You’ll make your best friends there!”

I remember when I came home from my first semester in college and it felt like it hadn’t even happened. It had gone by so unbelievably fast and yet so painfully slow. Everyone wanted to know: Was I having the time of my life? Had I made lots of friends?

But nobody seemed to be asking me the other important questions. Are you struggling? Are you managing the transition? Do you even want to go back?

I wish I had known how hard college would be, and that not every day, especially as a first-year student, was going to be perfect. I experienced a level of academic rigor that forced me to work harder than I had ever worked before. I remember earning a “D” on an exam and wondering if I was smart enough to succeed. Was I in over my head?

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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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Here’s what I’ve learned in my first 100 days at Juniata

Matthew Connor
Matthew Connor, Admission Counselor

Now that I have completed 100 days as an admissions counselor, I wanted to share some of my story. Before telling you about my role, I think it is important that you understand through what lens I view things. After graduating from college with a degree in Secondary Math Education, I began substitute teaching in hopes of getting hired full time. Through these efforts, I was hired to teach a variety of different math classes to 8th grade students. I worked in this position for four years, along with sharing my love for baseball by coaching at the high school.

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