Thursday, August 31, 2017

Senior Thoughts

Along the lines of the last post where I had things I wanted to tell my Freshman son before he moved into UW Madison, I have a similar, though different list for my daughter. She will be entering her Senior year at the University of Minnesota and, unlike Ben, will be living in an apartment, not a dorm. So here goes another,

10 Things I'd Like My Senior Year Daughter To Keep In Mind:

  1. Enjoy this year: Yes, there may be graduate school in your future, or maybe not. Whatever the case, it will be different. The experience you have as an undergrad will never happen again, so relish the moments, and make more of them, as you go. 
  2. Try something different: This applies to extracurricular activities or things outside your comfort zone. Because you will not have access to many of the student benefits after this year, take advantage of them and push yourself a bit. Join a bowling club or a fishing club. Do something that you wouldn't do if you had to pay (or pay full price) for it. 
  3. Keep doing what you're doing: Academically you make me and your mom incredibly proud. The Dean's list every semester is fricken amazing (coming from a guy who was on the "other" Dean's list for a while. At the same time, don't beat yourself up if you come up short. No employer I know of ever hired someone based on GPA. I know no one puts more pressure on you than you, but know that your dad is okay with a B. I made an academic career out of them.
  4. Be proud of your Gopherness: There is a long history of Landwehr U of M connections, and you are now very much a part of it. Wear the colors with pride and I would encourage you to go to a few sporting events this last year. It's not your last chance to go, but it is as an undergrad, and they can be a lot of fun. 
  5. Continue to seek out new friendships: One thing that struck me while walking around UW Madison with Ben is the incredible international diversity on campus. Use this as a chance to continue to meet people of different cultures and backgrounds. I feel it makes us better humans. 
  6. Think about a career, but not too much: The time is upon you to start thinking about what's next. A new job, a place to live, etc. It's never too soon to start looking into these things, but not to the detriment of your experience. Go to some on-campus job fairs, take a short seminar on resume writing, network with people in your field. Do all of these things while remembering that the main reason you are there is to study and take advantage of the freedoms enjoyed by being a student.
  7. Don't rule out grad school: Speaking to #1 above, don't rule out graduate school just because you're burned out now. Keep it in the back of your mind. One of my few life regrets at this point is that I never got a masters degree. I still may in my retirement years!
  8. Guide your brother: You've been in this game for 3 years and Ben's just getting started. He will turn to you for advice and guidance, maybe more than you want. Be patient and helpful as he navigates the waters of juggling his academics, work and social life. (I know you'll do this, just reiterating.)
  9. Have fun: Said it before and I'll say it again. College years were some of the best years of my life. Lifelong friendships created, great memories and incredible intellectual opportunities are all to be had. I still love being around people in a learning environment. Throw good friends into it and it is even better.
  10. Know that we love you: We realize that we are a little goofy and crazy when it comes to move-in/move out and gushing about our kids. But it's only because we love you to death and are so incredibly proud of both of you. So, text us when we text you. Heck, surprise us and text us for no reason just to tell us you love us. That kind of thing makes my day. At the same time, understand that we're all busy and if we go a day or three without a text, it's only because we're deep in the crazy of life.

Ski-U-Mah!

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