September 28, 2012


Fill in the Blank Friday

Students these days feel tremendous pressure to, well, fill in their blanks. Blanks like: I’m majoring in_____________, or I have a summer internship lined up at___________.
Classmates in the dining hall, family around the Thanksgiving table, and high school friends add to the pressure by asking the same questions.
These questions are really asking, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” While we at the froshblog don’t necessarily think you should already know that answer, it is important to start to define what you’re good at, what you enjoy studying, and how these things intersect and build the foundation for the person that you are becoming.
It is also important to acknowledge that the person you dreamt of being might be very different than the person you’re growing into….and that’s ok.  Don’t be so eager to fill in your blanks that you make a decision based on the person you used to be; you are evolving, and it’s ok if your academic and professional interests are evolving, too!
The First Year Deans share their own experiences with this question in a special edition of “Fill in the Blank Friday”!

Dean Traxler and her sons, Tyler and Ryan
What was your intended major entering college?  English and Journalism – I loved to write!

What was your major when you graduated from college?  English and Journalism, but I did try out other options like Psychology and Communication

How did your real major better prepare you for being an advising goddess? I learned that my majors didn’t have to trap me in specific careers like teaching or being a newspaper reporter.  My writing and close reading skills are really useful in my work at the university and with students, even though I discuss major options instead of Jane Eyre. I had the faith that the classes and majors I loved would eventually lead me to meaningful work, but I never could have anticipated finding and loving academic advising as a career! 


Dean Stanzione and her daughter, Ella Rose
What was your intended major entering college?  Marine Science, with hopes of going to graduate school to study shark reproduction (Seriously!).

What was your major when you graduated from college?  Environmental Policy, Institutions and Behavior

How did your real major better prepare you for being an advising goddess? I’ve always been interested in people: in our motivations, our assumptions, and how we react individually to common circumstances. I enjoyed the EPIB classes, which balanced my passion for science with my strength in examining human responses and cultural practice. But the process of deciding my major molded me as a scholar and adviser just as much as, if not more than, the coursework itself.  Learning what I do well, examining why I do it, and respecting how my decision-making was a process  became clear in college, but I use these skils in my personal and professional life. It is my great pleasure that I get to be part of this same conversation in the lives of our students, whether you are certain of your path or interested in paving a new one.



Dean Zipkin and her daughter, Luna
What was your intended major entering college?  Biochemistry, with hopes of curing cancer and AIDS.

What was your major when you graduated from college?  Psychology. And then 7 years after I graduated, I returned to complete an English major because I wanted to be a high school English teacher.

How did your real major better prepare you for being an advising goddess? For as long as I’ve had to think about what I wanted to be when I grew up, all of my possible responses have had to do with helping people. I chose Psychology because gave me a relevant background to do that. I enjoyed learning about the biological and behavioral factors that influence who we are and how we present ourselves to the world. I’m not sure how much the coursework in my major prepared me for this role, but the varied path I took to get to that major certainly prepared me for being able to step into the shoes of students that might be asking themselves the same questions I asked myself when I was in college.