Advice From Aunt Phoebe

The deadline to apply for Spring 2017 Graduation is THIS FRIDAY!
Will you be ready, when your time comes?

It is time for your dear Aunt Phoebe to offer some words of advice gentle readers. I offer it as a Senior just a few weeks from graduation. As I look back I see that there are some things I should have done differently.

I needed to ask many, many more questions. I have been a relatively passive student. I knew what I wanted my major to be, and to that end I simply found out what I needed to do in order to get the necessary classes that would lead to graduation. I never asked questions beyond that. I just floated along through the semesters doing only what was needed to pass my classes.

I have a “voice” and I am not afraid to express opinions so I DO participate in class discussions. I am reasonably sure that my professors have all known who I am by the end of a semester. What I have NOT done is meet with my professors unless it was required of me as part of the assignment. I generally understand the assignments and I am a fairly decent writer of research and other types of papers. It never occurred to me to meet with a professor just to talk —- in fact, I felt as though I would be bothering them if I did. I think I may have missed out on some opportunities by not doing this. I should have gone work-985543_960_720and just talked with them to find out what kinds of opportunities might be available to me within my chosen major (and minor for that matter). As a result I did not do an internship or volunteer at an historic site. I did not get involved in helping out with things the History Department was doing that they needed some student help for. I didn’t submit papers for competitions — because I thought I was probably not the kind (agewise) of person the competition was intended for. I think if I had taken some time to talk to some of my professors I might have found out about some opportunities that would have helped me a great deal.

Another thing I did NOT ask questions about the Capstone Paper which is required for every History Major to graduate. I SHOULD have asked A LOT of questions about it and found out how it worked. I understood it was the most important paper we will write as undergraduates but I did not really understand how it worked. Consequently, I am now struggling with it because I made some bad choices with regards to the class. If I had asked questions when I came to UAlbany as a Junior, I would have done things very differently and probably would not be struggling with it now.

I was VERY fortunate in one thing that I did not ask questions about that turned out well for me. I ended up needing 2 credits beyond the classes I am taking this semester in order to graduate. I was very lucky and found Project My Story to write for. However, I should have been looking at my transcripts and seeing that I was going to need those two pesky random credits and started asking questions about what my options were. [NOTE: talking to my professors outside of class would possibly have given me some options for things to do for those 2 pesky credits] This is something very important that you should be looking into long before your final semester. It may also, as it was for me, be something that could be difficult for a non-traditional student who does not live on or near campus and is of a non-traditional age by several years. Do yourself a favor TALK TO YOUR PROFESSORS about this type of thing!!! You really, really, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, need meeting-1002800_960_720to have an idea of what your options are , how much time will be involved in addition to your regular class schedule, what you will need to do, etc. DO NOT put this off — it might be something you could do in the summer between semesters which might make it a little easier for you to handle.

On a similar note to talking to your professors, you should also TRY — and I KNOW this can be hard for a non-traditional student (or one who doesn’t live on or near campus) — to make some time to attend meetings and events outside of the hours you are usually on campus. I am a member of the History Honors Society (and to let you know how passive I have been I don’t even know the actual name of it without looking it up) and have never attended a meeting. Likewise I am a member of the Transfer Student Honors Group (another one that I have no idea the name of) and I have never attended a meeting of it—heck, I didn’t even go pick up the little pin they said we get for joining.  It will be helpful to you to get involved a little bit. I understand that it is difficult for a non-traditional to make time for extras like clubs and lectures that you won’t get credit for but you need to TRY to do a few of these things —- it will possibly pay off in the future.

Please take the advice of your dear old Aunt Phoebe and DO NOT be passive!!!  ASK QUESTIONS!!!! TALK TO YOUR PROFESSORS!!! MAKE SOME TIME TO DO A FEW THINGS! (heck, at least learn the names of organizations you join!) On that note I shall close out my final blog for this wonderful group known as Project My Story, it has truly been a pleasure working with this group. Gotta go feed the cats!

phoebe


phoebePhoebe E. 
Class of 2016
Major: History
Minor: English
Blog Theme: Trials and Triumphs 
of a Non-Traditional Student...

Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories and their voices.

 

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