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December 18, 2012

Home is Now Behind You

First off, congratulations to all of you Early Action acceptees! I’m very excited to welcome you into the Clark family. As more acceptances come in, you’re going to be asking the tougher questions now. Why do you want to go to school A? What does school B have to offer me? Can I afford school C? 

I wrote in my first blog why I chose Clark (twice). I talked about that it’s okay to make a mistake – These questions you’ll face in the next few months are going to be some of the hardest you’ve had to deal with, and no one expects you to make the perfect decision right away.

“Home is now behind you, the world is ahead.”

Gandalf says this to Bilbo in The Hobbit, and I wanted to jump out of my seat when I heard this. It’s perfect. Because the world is ahead. You’re about to move away from home. I’m preparing to move away from Clark and start looking into Grad schools.

An accurate depiction of you surrounded by college students. Also, accurate on some of the beards and people I’ve seen on Clark’s campus. Quite relevant.

So, this time, I want to speak directly at you and why I think that Clark prepared me for my future better than any other school could have.

  • I’ve met friends from across the world who have changed how I see  beyond my small town in Rhode Island.

Clark has given me academic connections throughout the world – I now have contacts in Brazil, Columbia, Argentina, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Japan, and Estonia. And beyond the academics, I have friends from Bangladash, Taiwan, Nigeria, Mongolia, Bulgaria, California, and New York (shudder, as a Bostonian, maybe they aren’t all so bad). Every day is a new country to meet, a new culture to enjoy.

I’ve been able to experience Europe through the May Term at Luxembourg, and was recently told that I would be able to spend another two months there this summer working directly with the University of Luxembourg in their research laboratory. I plan to apply there for my Ph.D., so fingers crossed!

  • Clark has allowed me to go beyond merely being a drone and has given me my own name.

At the end of this year, I will have a chapter in a book to be published later in 2013. I will have presented two of my own papers at an international conference as well as at least one other local conference in Maine or New York. I will have been a lead in organizing Clark’s own academic conference. I will have presented at Clark’s Academic Day twice (and once more next year for my Honors Thesis, defended in front of the department). I will have a paper I wrote in my sophomore year published in an academic journal. And I am applying to be a LEEP scholar (as well as a few other scholar applications to go through) and I have my name inside of an Academic Journal on the front cover as an Editorial Assistant.

There’s a telecom to the left, connecting our talk of my paper to Columbia University, Norway, and Salerno, Italy.

  • I’ve learned how to lead and how to be led.

Clubs have helped me grow both as a leader and a follower  (literally!). As Captain of Ballroom, I’ve both had to lead girls dancing and be led by men. You learn in college what battles to fight for and which battles to work out. I’ve learned that sometimes it’s best to shut up and let my partner and best friend, Michelle, take control and drag me around the floor. Being on UPC and Psi Chi E-Boards, it applies well there as well. Life has a give and take, and I wouldn’t have learned that at any other place.

So, potential Clarkies. The future is ahead of you. College is here. Home is behind you. But like Bilbo, you’ll find yourself on an adventure the whole way through. You’ll face your own kind of giants to conquer, trolls to run from, orcs to fight, and eagles to fly you back to safety. College is what you make of it. You can be great wherever you want to be great at. It isn’t the school’s name that decides your future. It’s you. You decide your future. You decide whether you want to travel and experience the world, or if you’d rather just live in the Shire. Both have their benefits.

What will you choose?

Hobbit picture found here

Ballroom photos taken by teammate David Scheff

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