Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Learning As I Go

 Stephanie Haugen '12

        With only three semesters at Pacific remaining, I am forced to look ahead to life after school. This is the first time in my life when I don’t have the next step all planned out. Like many college students, even after declaring a major I still don’t know what career path I want to embark on.  
Fall Club and Organization Fair
Boxer Bash
        When my friends and I get together we don’t talk about the “F-word”—“Future.” The future, looming over me like a cloud of uncertainty, motivates me to peruse the internet for career options, companies that are currently hiring, schools with graduate programs and, when I’m feeling especially discouraged, means that would allow me to sell postcards out of a shack on the coast.
       Although the future continues to scare me every time I let thoughts of it infiltrate my mind, I feel as if my preparation for the “real world” becoming increasingly concrete. In the last couple years, I have been forced outside of my comfort zone. My reporting classes asked me to talk to many people, try things I am not familiar with and familiarize myself with others’ ways of living.  

Once shy and unskilled at conversing with new people, I now find that, against all the advice I received as a child, I actually enjoy talking to strangers. I like hearing their stories, where they’re at in life and how they got to this point. They often inadvertently share life lessons with me they have discovered through their experiences. I am lucky because most of the time I am talking to someone because they are passionate about something.
       Whether it is their research, their work, the cause they are dedicated to, another person they are dedicated to, or the message they want to share with others, the people I have the pleasure of meeting are almost always passionate and knowledgeable about what life has thrown their way.     

Noise Parade
       I have always been the type of student who insisted that learning through books and lectures and in the classroom was perfectly adequate. I have changed my outlook on this matter. It is the times I have been pushed to find learning techniques for myself that I have learned the truly valuable lessons I was never expecting. I am not sure if I want to go to graduate school right away after my undergraduate studies are completed in the spring of 2012, but I know I want to continue my education. I know I want to continue meeting new people and venturing to new and unfamiliar places.
       So far, college has drawn things out of me I didn’t know were there and I am grateful for this. When I look back on the interviews I have conducted in the last two years I look back with gratitude that every person I met added to my education and my understanding of the world. I hope in the years to come I can look back at my last three semesters at Pacific and the beginning years of my career and feel the same way.
Haugen '12 is majoring in journalism and worked as a Communications Assistant for the Office of Alumni Relations during her time at Pacific.

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