The End of My Year

We asked our eMentors: What was the end of your senior year like? Take a look at some of their stories below.

Paige

I absolutely loved the end of my senior year.  Everything was wrapping up, college acceptance letters had come, I only had one AP test to study for, the weather was beautiful, and finals were going to be a breeze.  There was this permanent aura of excitement around my high school and EVERYONE was in a good mood.  As far as particular events go, state for dance team, prom, and graduation all hold particularly warm memories for me.

Dance team was a huge part of my life senior year.  I was co-captain of my team and was dancing a total of 17 hours a week before and after class (I will probably never be in that good of shape again).  We did extremely well throughout our season and were able to take a hip hop number, a lyrical number, and a production number to state, where we won third and fourth place trophies.  Doing so well at state was incredibly rewarding and the perfect way to top off the end of my time at Kentlake.  There’s nothing quite like tuning out everything around you and dancing until you feel like you want to collapse…it’s a very Zen-like feeling.

Prom couldn’t have been any better for me.  I was on ASB and spent HOURS with my friends planning and scouring Seattle and Bellevue for the perfect place to have it.  We found this gorgeous private club at the top of one of the tallest buildings in Bellevue: it was all windows, had crystal chandeliers, and beautiful mahogany wood everywhere (it’s the details that count).  My dress ended up being the first one I tried on and deep down I’m sad that the only time I’ll get that dressed up again is for my wedding.  Thankfully I have about a million pictures chronicling the event!  I went to the dance with my best friends and the sweetest date in the world, who I am STILL dating.  We danced a lot, laughed even more, and all happily passed out dead asleep on our way home.  Still one of my favorite memories from high school…

Graduation was exhausting, exhilarating, and kind of a blur.  When I think back on it I can catch little snippets of what the ceremony was like, but I think I was too excited to remember much.  My parents, sweet grandparents, and favorite uncle were all there to celebrate with me.  It was heartwarming to see all my friends in their caps and gowns together in the massive Tacoma Dome (which gave the ceremony a lot of dignity, I think).  I had the opportunity to help the teachers select who would be our student speakers, so luckily I heard all the speeches beforehand (otherwise I would have been too excited to remember them).  When we all stood up and threw our caps in the air, I distinctly remember thinking incredulously it was over.  It was bittersweet…

Kyle

For my senior year, in a sure effort to decrease the graduation rate my high school made the start time at 7:25 am. This effectively made me zombie like for the first part of most of the day- I did learn however how to zip my head into the backpack to take naps on my desk during class. But let’s start with academics: I did finish strong my senior year because after getting wait listed by UW, I was trying to prove I was somewhat smart. I did great in all my classes except for statistics, no small feat considering the early start times and my less than stellar attendance record. My last memory of statistics is of shredding up a bunch of paper and putting it in my hands, pretending to sneeze and shooting it all over the class, then getting sent to the office. Needless to say I was having some focus problems. But, I balanced that by passing the Stats AP test (I still think it was an internal error by the AP board however), and also passing the AP Government test with good enough grades for credit at UW! I studied harder for those AP tests than I ever had, but it was great prep for college because I soon learned it takes that amount of studying for every test in college.

Outside of my classes I was also really involved with leadership during my senior year. Our school district was hiring a new superintendent and I was put on the student group interviewing candidates. I also was busy planning assemblies and other events for ASB, our last event was a Lego building contest during lunchtime so that my friend and I could relive our childhoods. My best leadership achievement during my senior year was being chosen my school’s graduation speaker. I was class choice which was an honor, and despite being nervous about speaking in front of 3000 people the speech went well, I spent most of it quoting Kung Fu Panda and telling stories from our high school.

I ended my high school sports career with track in the spring, arguably my worst sport. I was just fast enough to excel and football and basketball, but not fast enough to be a track star. I scrapped out a few third places, but mostly just enjoyed goofing around and playing pranks for 2 hours with my friends every day after school.

I went to Prom with my girlfriend (whom I am still with) but we had to ride in this horrible hummer limo and as other cars passed by us they stared in disgust… it was so embarrassing. On the last day of school my friends convinced me to drive them out my high schools farm where they wanted to catch a chicken or something. Anyways at like 2 am we were trekking across the farm when one of my friends spooks the guard dogs we didn’t know lived there. The dogs bolted for us so we sprinted across a field back to my car and along the way woke up the cows. Nothing in my life has been more terrifying than stampeding cows in the middle of the night; I ended up hiding behind a tree as the cows raced by. My other friends fared little better just hopping the fence before the dogs got to them. We were so scared we stayed up all night and barely made it through our last day of school. Talk about finishing strong!

The end of my senior year was a blast though- I recommend everyone savor it because it’s a unique time that never really comes up in the same way in your life again. Make sure to have fun but not too much fun.

Beza

My last semester at my high school was very exciting and at the same time emotional.  I have already received my acceptance letter from the university so I spent most of my time browsing on the University website.  I had to decide what dorm to live in, I had to sign up for my orientation date, and I was also trying to figure out what classes to take.   This aspect was sometimes scary because it made the end of high school very real.

I had a part time job my last semester, on average I worked eight to twelve hours a week.  It was very manageable considering I didn’t have a lot of course load.  I also happen to be in classrooms with teachers who were lenient in our course work and spend most of the class time having discussions about colleges.  Amongst these classes were my AP Language Arts and my Law and Society class.

Even though I was against going to prom, I ended up deciding to go last minute (a week early).  I did everything in a rush, buying my ticket, finding a dress and so on.  My prom date was my younger sister, and as corny as that sounds I had a blast with her and ended up going to her prom a year later.

My graduation was also a very exciting time; it was the final step that solidified the end of high school.  Although I wasn’t very attached to my high school, it felt a bit uncomfortable to realize that the safety nest of high school had come to an end.  After the graduation ceremony my parents had a small party at the house, and close family friends and my friends came to congratulate me.  The whole experience was a blur of extreme high and low emotions.   I think that’s how everyone feels when leaving something they have done for a long time and starting something new.

Manmeet

The end of my senior year was a bit anti-climactic. It was an exciting time in my life but be forewarned, graduating high school is nothing like how it is in the movies. The weeks leading up to May were mostly spent preparing for AP tests. My senior year I took the AP Calculus test as well as the AP Psychology test. After AP testing was done, so was most of my intense studying.

My high school had its prom at Union Station in Seattle. I went with a group of my closest friends so the night was definitely worth all of the effort and planning. Although, looking back at my prom dress, I have no idea what I was thinking. I can’t believe I spent hundreds of dollars on that dress. Needless to say, I will never be wearing my prom dress again.


Graduation and grad night at my high school were both on the same day. Our graduation was at the Tacoma Dome and grad night was at a few different locations around Seattle (like the athletic center and a restaurant in Ballard). I have some pretty good memories from my high school graduation, mostly because I spent the day with my family and friends. My mom is really big on graduations, so my room is full of mementos from the Things Remembered store. I have a picture frame, an album, a snow globe, and a blanket, all of which are personalized with my graduation year and name.

 

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Words from Another

This week, we asked our eMentors: What are some of your favorite quotes, and why? See what they had to say below.

Beza

I have lots and lots of favorite quotes and proverbs; I do not really know where to begin. My favorite kinds are Chinese proverbs because they have very deep and interesting meanings but they are at the same time witty. I have picked some of my favorite quotes that are relevant to mentoring. Some interesting ones that I enjoy are:

“Your own mind is a sacred enclosure into which nothing harmful can enter except by your permission.” – Arnold Bennett

“Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives.” – Robert Collier

“Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen.  Keep in the sunlight.” – Benjamin Franklin

The reason why I like the above three quotes is because they are very encouraging and powerful. They are essentially all saying keep a positive attitude, and what you hold in your mind you can make a reality. I think the message is very motivating to have positive attitudes and to dream big. One quote that is written on the University of Washington’s Psychology Department’s website is “The mind is wider than the sky.” As a psychology major this quote makes me really happy because it is a simple phrase that captures the limitless possibilities and capacities the mind has. I think this makes a person feel powerful and in control of their life. Essentially what the quotes are saying is that individuals are creators of their own faith by what they hold in their minds.

The Chinese proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” is one of my favorites because it makes every individual feel responsible to changing the world. But, it also gives the sense that anyone (any mentor, educator, parent…) has the ability to teach someone something valuable.

Kyle

“Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you… AS we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others”– Nelson Mandela (1994)”

When I construct this quote in my head I imagine myself walked through really tall brush, possibly in the jungle, with a machete hacking out a trail where there previously was not one. This is about breaking down social, cultural or political barriers so that others may follow you to greater freedom. It might seem like this is a really lofty quote but I think it can apply to everyday life as well- anytime you do something because you believe it’s right even though it is outside of what people normally do you are blazing a trail from anything as small as treating a homeless person with dignity to refusing to move to the back of the bus (Rosa Parks).

“I give because others take.” Red Cross man

I was walking through downtown Seattle by Pike Place Market with a friend of mine from Germany; we were stopped by a man with a clipboard and a vest with a giant red cross on it. He was soliciting donations for the Red Cross. We talked for like 15 minutes and he mentioned a tattoo he was getting that said “I give because others take”. It’s a little pretentious, but I liked the message that if everyone would just do a little bit to give back our most vulnerable could be cared for- but instead like that game Hungry Hungry Hippos our society is obsessed with getting as many marbles as possible no matter what the expense to other people. The Red Cross man is trying to restore the balance between those that give to the world and those that take from it, and I try to do some community service when I can to do the same.

“Honesty may be the best policy, but it’s important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy.” – George Carlin

Little catch phrase quotes like “honesty is the best policy” drive me crazy and I love George Carlin because he pokes holes in all of them. If you can’t be honest, second best is pretty good right? I’ll take a silver medal any day!

“In every deliberation we must consider the impact on the seventh generation” Iroquois Native American saying

This quote has become a rallying cry for a lot of environmentalists and closet hippies like myself who are concerned about our conduct with the planet permanently damaging it for future generations. I love learning about how despite our iPads and trips to the moon in an ecological sense we are so far behind indigenous American cultures. And while, looking 7 generations to the future may be too much to ask for society, I like the sentiment, and even if we could look one or two generations ahead we could start to protect things for the next generations like our natural resources.

“Guess what? I have flaws. What are they? Oh I donno, I sing in the shower? Sometimes I spend too much time volunteering. Occasionally I’ll hit somebody with my car. So sue me– no, don’t sue me. That is opposite the point I’m trying to make.”  Michael Scott – The Office

I had to put up an Office quote because it is likely the best television show ever created. I love this because it’s a great example of Michael’s ramblings ending nowhere near where they started and you can tell he doesn’t think before he starts talking.

Manmeet

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
~Winston Churchill

I like this quote because it is simple and it has a really powerful message; no matter how hard life gets, you have to keep going. Sometimes the secret to overcoming challenges and obstacles is just patience and persistence.

‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
~Margaret Mead

This quote might be overused, but I really think it’s one of the best ones out there. I like it because it provides me with the inspiration I need to continue serving. My life has been defined in large part by my involvement with social justice and public service oriented programs so I really do believe that the efforts of a small group of people can change the world.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
~President Obama
I like this quote because it relays a sense of urgency.  If you’re passionate about something, do something about it.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

This quote pretty much sums up my perspective on life. We can’t control our past and we can’t always control our future but we do have the ability to control our outlook on things. If I’m ever feeling overwhelmed I think about this quote and tell myself that I am bigger than anything that could ever happen to me.

Paige

“Now whenever someone happens upon his matching half it’s an amazing thing to witness. The lucky couple is suddenly enclosed by such a degree of affection and intimacy and love that they will refuse to be separated for even a moment.” – Plato

I’m a romantic at heart.  The Symposium is essentially a bunch of old guys philosophizing on what love is, so not much of a plotline.  However, it’s full of gems like the quotation above.  This one is taken from a monologue describing how human beings used to be fused together in twos, but they angered the gods and were split apart, destined to be forever looking for their true other half.  Slightly melodramatic, yes, but the quote’s beautiful and it pops into my head whenever I think about love.

Ok, so I know this isn’t a quotation, but I think it’s close enough, so I’m going to talk about it anyway.  I love these bumper stickers.    I don’t know why I haven’t bought one yet.  Religion is a fascinating, complex topic and I truly enjoy learning about all the different beliefs that pepper the world.  In my mind, they all have something of value to contribute.

“All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow.”

Anna Karenina-Leo Tolstoy

I have to confess that I actually haven’t made it all the way through Anna Karenina.  I’ve started three different times, getting further every attempt, but I haven’t ever been able to make it to the finish line.  However, this quotation was in the first chapter and I love it more and more every time I read it.  It wraps up how I view existence.

“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, oh Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

Psalm 4:8

I used to have the hardest time spending the night away from home when I was in elementary school.  I could never make it through the night at sleepovers; I either wouldn’t sleep a wink or I’d call my mom to come get me at one in the morning.  When it came time for 6th grade camp, I was determined to go.  My mom very sweetly found me this verse, wrote it in a picture frame, and told me to repeat it whenever I felt nervous that week.  It worked; I still have that picture frame on my bookshelf.

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My Go-To Gear

What do our GEAR UP eMentors bring with them to their classes each day? Read on and find out!

Kyle

I am going to explain what I use every day in terms of regions of my backpack. I’ll start with the main pocket: this is where I keep 3 spiral notebooks, one for each class that I use to take notes. I also usually pick up a newspaper each day, either New York Times or Seattle Times that I try to read between classes. Most of the time there is also a heavy contingency of wrinkled up papers smashed into the bottom of my backpack, but that is mostly for aesthetics. The most important thing in this pocket is my planner. It’s a little black book that I write everything I need to do for each day in. I learned in high school that if I don’t use my planner I will forget everything- I highly recommend a planner once you try to balance classes, clubs, work and friends in college. 3 days a week I also cram in a pair of shorts and my running shoes so I can stop by the IMA between classes to play basketball or work out.

In the front pocket I keep my pencils, pens, calculators, and the 7 colored pencils left in my 24 pack. I also keep my bike lock in this pocket- since the UW is so large I usually find myself trying to get to class with less than 10 minutes and biking is my only option. I also like to keep my Zune and headphones in here- in case I go to the library it helps me tune out distracting noise. The most important thing I carry in this pocket is snacks, however. When my day starts with classes at 9 and ends with work or community service meetings at 4 or 5 I need my chocolate and Nature Valley granola bars to get through the day. I usually like to get the 200 pack at Costco!

The last thing that’s key for me each day in my backpack is my metal water bottle. I drink at least 2 things of water throughout each day.

Jocelyn

For school everyday I carry my north face black backpack. This backpack is by far the most used thing that I have in my home, except for my television. Each morning I make sure that in my backpack I have my 3-subject notebook. I keep all of my notes in one place, which is helpful because I don’t have to remember as much, but it can also be a bad thing; last quarter I lost it and I had to recopy all of my notes from my fellow students. In order to take accurate notes I must have three different types of writing implements: mechanical pencils, pens and highlighters. I understand that this is too much, however it makes me feel smarter when I pull out a fully stocked pencil pouch.

One of the most important things that I take to school with me is my cup of black coffee. I really hated the stuff in high school but then I began working the early shifts at the University Newsstand. We only served black coffee, so I was forced to begin drinking it! I also pack granola bars to sustain me throughout the day, until I can get home and make dinner.  Each of these items mentioned I bring to school on a daily basis. Sometimes I mix it up and pack candy, but that doesn’t happen to often (I usually just buy it at school).

Manmeet

My “go-to” gear for a regular day of school is pretty simple. I used to always bring a backpack with me to class but last quarter I started using a tote instead.

I’m really particular about pens so I always make sure I have my special blue ones. Not the classy kind that last forever. The ones I use come in packs of 12 and only cost $2. I ONLY write in blue ink so I’m guaranteed to have at least three or four of these pens in my pencil pouch. I also love highlighters. They’re useful for reading and they help me keep my planner organized. By the way, I never leave home without my planner. Without it I’d never get anything done.

Last quarter I had notebooks (and matching folders) for every class but this quarter I’m using a four-subject notebook instead. I realized that it’s a lot easier to remember to bring one notebook than it is to remember four. The downside of this is that if I forget my one notebook, I don’t have anything to write on.

I’m an International Studies major, which means that I’m generally carrying at least one or two books with me. I have a lot of breaks so I try to make the most of them by catching up on reading. Right now, I’m reading “Buddhism, Diplomacy, and Trade.”

UW is in Seattle, which means that on any given day I need to be prepared for thunder, lightning, a downpour, snow, and sun. I’m not a fan of umbrellas (what real Washingtonian is?) so I usually carry one of my North Face jackets with me.

I love breakfast but I rarely have enough time to eat it in the morning. Instead, I eat granola bars on my way to class. Chewy and Sunbelt are my favorite brands but I’m not too picky. As long as there’s granola and chocolate, I’m good to go.

Another thing I never leave home without is my iPod. Nothing like some good music to get you all amped and ready for class. Also, I’ve noticed that the solicitors, recruiters, etc. on Red Square are a lot less likely to bother you if you have headphones in your ears!

Beza

My “go-to” gear for a regular day of school is different depending on my quarter. For example, this quarter is very heavy on reading assignments. I have five short books for one of my French classes, two short books for my other French class, and three articles a week for my psychology class. Quarters like this are very rare for me, but it means that I have to carry at least two different books and hard copies of my articles. I do most of my reading when I’m off campus, but I bring my books with me to school just in case I get a break in between classes.   This quarter I start my first class at 9:30, and I end each day at 5:00 pm.  I only have an hour break every day between classes and work; therefore I am forced to eat on campus or bring lunch with me.  For the most part I bring money to school for lunch, pack fruits or trail mix for afternoon snacks, and I always bring a bottle of water (there is nothing more frustrating than paying for water).

The rest of the stuff that I bring to school is very basic: my notebook, pens, pencils, stapler, my phone, band aids (I always get paper cuts), calculator, iPod, my Husky Card ID and last but not least MY PLANNER. I have a very packed schedule, so without my planner I would have a hard time organizing and staying on track.  I bring my mug with green tea in it, and usually fill it up with hot water on campus throughout the day.  I try my best to eat breakfast at home, but if that doesn’t work out I also bring bagel and cream cheese that I eat in the bus on my way to campus. If I had to pick three items that are very essential to having a smooth day, it would be my phone, my planner and my Husky Card.

Paige

Number ONE: Coffee coffee coffee!!  If you haven’t caught on to this already, I’m a bit of a coffee addict/snob/lover.  I refuse to start my day until I’ve had my cup.  Unfortunately, living in Seattle has given me quite an expensive taste.  However much I would love to get multiple lattes a day from Vivace, Café Vita, or Victrola, my poor college student budget can’t handle it.  Luckily I have access to free pounds of Starbucks Decaf Café Verona through my nice barista boyfriend.  Decaf you ask?  Ironically, I can’t drink regular coffee too frequently or I get headaches.  So I only drink regular on those days I’m realllllllly tired.

Number TWO: Sometimes I think I live out of my North Face backpack.  I would like to carry a cute purse around all the time, but it’s just not realistic.  With all my massive textbooks, random folders, and various writing utensils, a backpack is easier on my shoulders.

Number THREE: I’m a big fan of highlighting.  I think the more a book is written in, banged around, and marked up, the better; it shows it has been used and loved!  Highlighting in my textbooks is a more efficient studying method for me then writing notes while I read.  I lose my momentum if I’m stopping to write down a fact every few minutes.  Needless to say, I use up a lot of highlighters.  I always buy a set of five at the beginning of each quarter.

Number FOUR: I tend to use a simple notebook and black pen for taking notes.  I’m a pretty quick writer and carrying my laptop around can be tiresome.  Plus, a lot of professors post slides before lecture, so it’s easiest to print those and take notes directly on them.  The only thing I’m specific about is that I always buy a three subject notebook rather than three separate notebooks; it saves space and that way I have all my notes in one, organized place.

Number FIVE: An umbrella is necessary for me in Seattle.  There is absolutely nothing worse than trying to focus in class soaked to the bone.  So I always have a little tiny one in my backpack!

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Summer Productivity

This week, we asked the eMentors: How did you spend your summer after high school? How have you spent your summers since beginning college? Read on to see how our eMentors made the most of their breaks between school years!

Manmeet

The summer after high school I took a calculus class and worked as an intern at the City of Kent Law Department. I knew I wanted to save up money before heading off to UW, which is why I decided to continue my job from the school year. I’m sure you guys are wondering why I would choose to take a calculus class during the summer and to be honest, I can’t really remember why I decided to take it. Sounds like a terrible idea, looking back. At the time though, I think I was just trying to avoid taking any math classes at the UW.

My summers in college have been a lot less academic, but still productive. Being in college opens you up to a lot more summer opportunities, specifically study abroad trips and internships. The summer after freshman year I continued working as an intern at the law office and also worked as a deputy field organizer for Governor Gregoire’s re-election campaign. I’m really interested in politics and civic engagement so this internship was a great learning experience. In August of that same summer I went on a three-week trip to Italy to learn about education and immigration. I’ve always loved to travel and this Exploration Seminar reaffirmed my interest in learning about other cultures.


The summer following sophomore year I went on another Exploration Seminar to Ireland and The Netherlands. This one was focused on human rights and international justice (two things that I’ve been interested in since high school). The great thing about studying abroad is that you can get academic credit while exploring places and interests that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to experience.

This past summer was one of my best summers ever…because I was a team leader for GEAR UP! I had great co-workers and I loved spending my days working with high school students. The second half of the summer I studied for the LSAT (not so fun). I think the great thing about summers in college (compared with summers in high school) is that you have access to a lot more opportunities. Summers are the best time to travel, explore your interests, and travel to places you’ve always wanted to visit!

Beza

The summer before my freshman year, I participated in an eight week research program called GeNom.  The program started on June 18 and lasted until August 24. I mainly did research, and as part of the program I participated in a two hour math class daily as well as an ethics class.  Having the opportunity to do this program has had a great impact on me, and I am sure everyone else that participated feels the same way.  It helped me to connect with amazing people who continue to support me in my education as an undergrad.  I also made lifelong friends, who share similar interests in education as me.  Application process for most summer programs such as this one, start early in March.   If you have another year still in high school I highly recommend applying to summer programs.  After the program ended in August, I continued to volunteer at my lab until school started in September.

The summer after my freshman year, I found a job on campus and I worked forty hours a week for the whole summer.  I went to the beach a lot to relax and to reconnect with friends that I have made over the school year.  Two weeks before school started in September I went on a vacation to Hawaii with my friends, and spent a week there.  We went snorkeling, surfing, cliff jumping, sky diving and of course we went to a luau. It was amazing!

The summer after my sophomore year, I took summer quarter, and was busy helping my sister run errands for her wedding which took place in August.  I spent a lot of time with my family, and friends, I also had a part time job.  Once summer school was over, I worked full time and at the end of August, I went to France for a study abroad program which lasted until end of December.

Summer quarter after my junior year is my favorite because my beautiful niece was born.  I have been anticipating being an aunt for years, and once my niece was born I spent all my free time in the summer visiting her and just watching her sleep because unfortunately for me, that’s all she did.  After summer quarter was over, I had a whole month where I just relaxed, hung out with friends and tired to plan ahead for my senior year.

This summer there are several things I might do depending on how spring quarter goes.  I will either be taking summer quarter, working, or doing research.  And hopefully I will have some fun and some sort of a vacation.

Paige

My summers as a whole have been largely devoted to working.  I’m always extremely busy during the Fall/Winter/Spring quarters so I tend to try and make as much as I can over the summer and live off it while I’m taking classes.

Summer after high school I worked at Cutters Point Coffeehouse.  Working in coffee was a lot of fun for me, but after doing it for a few years already I was pretty well burnt out by that summer.  Luckily I had my nice coworkers and sweet regulars to keep me going!  I remember I spent a lot of time reveling in the fact that I was done with high school.  I’d loved going to Kentlake, but I was excited to have more control over what I was learning, doing, and just my life in general.  I was very much ready to go to college.

Summer after my first year of college I moved home, took a calculus class at my local community college (I had dropped it my first quarter at UW; math isn’t my strong suit), and commuted into Seattle to work as a research assistant for a psychology study I had volunteered for Spring quarter.  I thought it would be absolutely awful to “not get a summer break” but it wasn’t that bad at all!  Only taking one class is wonderfully easy and summer quarters usually end a solid month before fall quarter starts, so I DID technically get a little summer vacation.  The only thing that wasn’t enjoyable was commuting into the city for my job.  It was completely worth it because the pay was great and the experience phenomenal, but my goodness, sitting in traffic for two and a half hours a day can really do a number on your mood!  I think I frequented the little pastry/coffee shop across from where I worked a liiiiiiitle too frequently to “reward” myself for surviving another commute.

Summer after my second year of college was chaotic in an enjoyable way because I worked three different jobs.  That was my first summer as a GEAR UP Team Leader for the Summer Institutes, which is still one of my favorite jobs I’ve had so far.  I loved talking with you guys about college and getting to soak up your energy every day.  It was awesome to get paid to hang out with such interesting and passionate people!  I also worked an internship in the inpatient psychiatric ward at Seattle Children’s Hospital.  For a psychology student hoping to get her child clinical PhD, this internship was a goldmine.  I was exposed to every psychological disorder under the sun and discovered I really enjoyed working with kids who were that acute.  That internship was one of those experiences where you look back and think “That was definitely a crossroads for me career-wise and I like the road I’ve taken”!  My third job was another research assistant job.  We won’t talk about that one.  Let’s just say out of three different jobs, one of them had to suck.  And when you sit at a desk scanning papers for five hours, the job definitely sucks.  However, I was able to listen to all of The Half-Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows on my IPod while doing it!

I’m not quite sure what this summer has in store for me.  It’s the first time I haven’t had a job set up months ahead of time (what can I say, I’m a planner).  I’ll just keep putting my feelers out until I find something!

Kyle

At the end of high school I still had not decided which college I had planned on attending- after being accepted to Western Washington University and waitlisted by University of Washington I had comfortably settled on WWU. I liked Western and Bellingham and had close friends going there as well so it seemed like a good choice for me. Of course as soon as I had gotten settled with my decision, I received acceptance into UW as well. This set of a month of procrastination, internal debates, pros/cons lists, and many other mostly ineffective strategies for making my decision. This is when I decided to take the summer off and do some soul searching.

Now that I had justified taking a whole summer off, I was ready to waterski, lounge in the sun, go scuba diving, and hang out with my friends before we all parted ways. I picked up some odd jobs painting or doing small construction but mostly I just did waterskied. I had restored this really old lime green Schwinn and went on daily bike rides to think about where I wanted to go to college and what I wanted to do with my life. I eventually decided on UW because it is so large and has so much to offer I could study and become anything I chose, there was a diversity of opportunity that just was not available at WWU.

This last summer I spent working for my dad’s rental business. I spent about 4 days a week working on old houses from the 1950s in Tacoma and Seattle. This wasn’t too bad- I got to spend all my time outside, but it still was work. The best part of my summer was once again waterskiing. I also went camping on an island in South Puget Sound with some friends and road tripped to Lake Chelan and Lake Wenatchee with my girlfriend. At the very end of the summer I camped for 3 nights in Vantage Washington and went mountain biking, swimming in the Columbia, rock climbing and was nearly bitten by a rattlesnake.

I am hoping this summer to bike the San Juan Islands and road trip to San Francisco along with some more camping trips. Summer is a great time to make money and get internships, but it is also a time to be young and explore, take trips and just relax after 9 months of intense studying.


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Getting to my Major

This week, we asked our eMentors: What is your major, and how did you get into it? Also, if you had the freedom to create your own major, what would it be? What is it that you want to study? Hit us up at uwgearupementors@gmail.com!

Paige

I study psychology here at the University of Washington and I LOVE it!!  I initially came into UW thinking I would study Microbiology.  I’ve always had a morbid fascination with infectious diseases like Ebola.  So, my first quarter I started out taking chemistry and math classes.  I hated them.  With a passion.  I had a epiphany about half way through the quarter that went along the lines of “I don’t want to study this sort of stuff for four years”, “I don’t like working in a lab”, “I really like working with people”, and “Psychology has always sounded kinda interesting”.  I took two psych classes the following quarter and, poof!, haven’t left the department since.  It’s a wonderful program at UW.  Here’s a link to learn more about it if you’re curious!

http://web.psych.washington.edu/

If I could create my own major…wow this is actually a hard question for me.  I actually have to be boring and just say a modified psychology major.  It would be solely focused on the clinical side of things.  So in other words, I would spend my time studying abnormal disorders.  The major would have an eating disorders class, a schizophrenia class, an ethics in clinical practice class, internship time in an inpatient psychiatric ward (I did an internship like this at Children’s hospital and learned a lot from it; I think any person interested in clinical psychology should experience this sort of environment)…so essentially my major is a lot like getting a clinical psychology PhD hahaha What can I say, I have found the subject that fascinates me more than anything else in the world.

On the sillier end of things I would also create a Queen Elizabeth I major.  She’s just so cool!  Classes would be on Elizabeth’s wardrobe and makeup, her politics, her banquet table, rumors and scandals, a day in the life of a lady in waiting, jousting for beginners, a class on current British royalty (just for fun, Kate and William ARE getting married you know)…you get the picture 🙂

Beza

My undergraduate majors are Psychology and French.  When I was thirteen years old my older sister took her first psychology class in high school and she wanted to become a psychologist. This was my first introduction to psychology.  Wanting to do everything my sister did, I also blindly decided to study psychology.  However, I didn’t really understand what psychology was all about.  My freshman year in high school I started reading books about people who were influential in the development and growth of psychology. That same year I became an alcohol and drug helpline operator.  Talking to people about their different problems sparked a deeper interest in psychology.  I didn’t take any psychology classes until my spring quarter in college, but right after taking my introductory to psychology class, I knew that I have found something that I would like to invest my life in.  My decision to major in French is very random. I have taken French class for three years in high school and I wanted to continue to take it in college. I didn’t decide to major in French until I studied abroad in France. Studying another language, especially French opens the world to me and gives me an advantage in terms of working in francophone countries and so on.

If I could create my own major it would be survivorship major.  This major will include classes on how to survive in any environment and any setting.  For example: surviving tough times, such as natural disasters, economical hardships, surviving in wilderness, and overcoming simple day to day life situations; such as parenting, midlife crises and so on.  Students who major in survivorship will have the chance to learn in real life settings.  Gradates of the survivorship major can become certified trainers who educate others these survival skills; they can get jobs as fire fighters, policemen, or join organizations such as Red Cross and so on.  Because most of the fields listed do not really require a college degree, survivorship can be used as a minor, a double major or it will be a degree that requires less class room work and more field training.

Kyle

My major is political science, but I am planning to add an environmental studies minor this spring. Going into college I was not one of kids that had my whole life planned, in fact I had no plan. Everyone always put me down for not having a plan, but I was just not ready to decide what I wanted to study until I got into college and tested all the fields that interested me. I spent my first year taking as many classes that interested me as possible, while making sure that they would fill my pre-requisites at the same time.

I took classes in architecture, geography, urban planning, art history, political science, environmental studies, and law. I ultimately decided on political science because when I read through the political science course list I realized I had said “I want to take that” after every single course I read so I took two poli sci courses I enjoyed. I also started reading the Seattle Times for the sports page, but realized more and more that I was drawn to the national and opinion pages. It was then I decided political science was what I wanted to spend the next 3 years studying.

I always knew I was interested in the environment, but I didn’t know I wanted to minor in it until I was taking Enviro 100 and was studying animal migrations and was completely drawn in.

My advice to every student would be to spend their first year trying out different majors before you decide. Most 100 level courses are designed to give students an overview of the topic and the major so take as many as possible. Once you have done your due diligence exploring your options, follow your passions in school regardless of whether that major will help you make lots of money, because you will only achieve your potential if you are passionate about what you are studying.

If I could create my own major it would be called environmental justice. I took a class on environmental justice which concerned the relationship between people and their environment and in what ways our endless consumption is degrading that relationship, particularly for low income people. I hope to leave the world a place with less poverty, healthier people, and a still pristine environment for the next generations and by empowering marginal people and leading a more sustainable lifestyle we can do so.

Jocelyn

I am currently on course to receive two majors from the University of Washington, two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Sociology and Vocal Performance.  I always get questioned as to why I have chosen majors that seemingly oppose each other. Questions like, “What are you going to do, sing your closing arguments?” are thrown around each time I am questioned about my fields of study.  I assure you, this would never happen, I am sure the judge would throw me out of court and the jury would label me as insane!  I am simply doing vocal performance because I love to sing.  Throughout junior high and high school I performed in choirs as well as solo competitions.  I love the performing aspect and I have always been comfortable singing in front of large groups. For this reason, I auditioned and was accepted into the program as a freshman.  Later on in my college career I decided that I wanted to add on an additional major to round out my college experience.

My general interest in law and the impacts upon our society led me to the Sociology field. Sociology is a discipline focused on the study of people and societies.  In classes we generally center on individual choices and how they impact culture.  With this degree I am giving myself a strong base for law school.  Focusing on particular groups and their association with criminality will suit me well upon entrance into graduate level work.

If I could make up my own major I would strictly focus on crimes against women and children.  Although there are classes that encompass these issues, I would be interested in solely focusing on these topics.  My major would be called Crimes Against Women and Children with a focus on domestic studies.  This last part simply means I would prefer to focus on crimes impact within the United States rather then abroad.

Manmeet

How I Chose My Major:

I wasn’t completely sure what I wanted to major in when I first got to the UW so I took a number of different classes during fall and winter quarter to narrow down my choices. My “Making of the 21st Century” class is what led me to apply to my major, international studies. I’ve always been really interested in current events, politics, and international relations, so once I learned about the international studies major at the UW, I knew it was the perfect fit for me. My major is really interdisciplinary, which is what I like most about it. I have taken classes relating to political science, law, societies, and justice, and Asian studies as part of my coursework. I also chose my major because it is one of the most intensive reading/writing majors at UW. I eventually want to go to law school and I figured that the best way to prepare for law classes would be to take a lot of reading and writing intensive classes as an undergraduate.

I’m also minoring in human rights, education, and diversity…I have a lot of interests. I really enjoy my major but I truly found my passions while taking classes for my minors. These minors might not seem that related, but they’re all centered around the common theme of social justice. Over the course of these past four years I’ve really come to realize how much I value living a life of purpose, and the classes I’ve taken for my minor are what have led me to this realization.

If I Could Create My Own Major….

My ideal major would be social justice. My volunteer work as a college student has made me understand the importance of acting as an advocate for others. I think it’s really important to not only recognize what sorts of issues are facing our communities, but also understand what we can do to change things. A social justice major would probably involve taking many of the classes I’ve already taken through my minors. The overarching theme of this major would be to engage students with current issues such as education, discrimination, etc. and learn how we can utilize policy and civic engagement to create change.


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Learning Through Challenges

This week, we asked our eMentors: What is a disappointment or failure that you have experienced, and how did you overcome it?

Paige

I didn’t get a fall quarter my freshman year.  I started winter quarter, after everybody in my dorm had made friends, taken advantage of fall quarter freshman events, and begun feeling comfortable at UW.  I felt behind and upset that I had missed what I saw as “the crucial quarter” to establishing myself in this new place.

My journey to this point is convoluted.  I was accepted into UW when I applied as a senior in high school, but I also was accepted into the honors program at WSU.  I visited both schools and to be honest, I really liked the vibe at WSU.  Everyone was friendly, the perks I received as an honors student were awesome, and it was A LOT cheaper for me to go there as opposed to UW because I received substantial amounts of scholarship money.  So I chose WSU, despite a gut feeling that I didn’t want to be that far from home and Seattle.  I went to my orientation, signed up for classes, made some friends, but the whole time I felt like something wasn’t quite right.  The feeling grew until I panicked one week before I was supposed to move into my WSU dorm.  I lost it.  I think I spent 3 straight days agonizing and crying and desperately trying to decide if I was brave enough to ditch out on WSU and apply to UW a second time.  Needless to say, I was.  I’m a planner.  I like knowing where I’m going and I like certainties.  I’d been excited about college forever and I’d always had this image in my head of what it would be like.  My decision to apply again to UW and start late did not mesh with that image.

I spent my freshman year fall quarter working in a coffee shop and kicking myself for not figuring out what I’d wanted sooner.  I hated hearing about all my friends going to football games and parties, meeting all these new people and taking exciting classes.  I was literally GREEN with envy.  I was not too happy with the wrong decision I had made.  When I finally got to UW winter quarter, nothing was how I expected it to be.  I had a hard time making friends because everyone was already established and my roommate and I had nothing in common.  The redeeming point of that quarter was my classes.  I loved them.

It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I really faced my disappointment with how my college career had begun.  Once I came to terms with the fact that college was going to be different than I expected, not worse, but different, I was able to fully embrace life here at UW.  I began meeting people in my classes and had some great new roommates.  I fell even more in love with my major and started getting to know the faculty in my department.  All these little steps led me where I am now: a college junior who is VERY happy with how her college experience has turned out.  I’d like to think the experience bettered me.  I made a very scary decision, worked through the consequences, and came out the other end satisfied with where I am.  I couldn’t ask for more!

Beza

One disappointment that I have at the moment is the feeling of not having taken advantage of every opportunity that college provided for me.  Some things that I specifically regret are: not taking classes outside of my major, not joining more organizations and also not taking opportunity of summer internships.  In freshman year it seemed like I had all the time in the world to get involved, and to explore. I kept telling myself that my first year I had to focus on academics and that I will add more extracurricular activities in my sophomore and junior year.  I was always worried that if I try to do a lot of things at once, then I won’t have time to actually enjoy any of the things that I am doing.   In an attempt to space my schedule out, I have missed out on being involved in more things than I was involved in.  One thing that I also regret is, not having traveled to other countries when I was doing my study abroad in France. I had the chance to visit Spain but I didn’t spend additional time in other European countries.

Although I still have this regret of not utilizing my resources and my time wisely, I find comfort knowing that I am a lot mature than I was my first year of college. I am more skilled at managing my time, and I know that I need to compare different opportunities presented to me and to take a chance in the ones that come once in a life time. I am also certain that I will return to Europe and get the experience that I missed to get the first time around. One thing I learned from all of this is to immerse fully in any experience and not to wait to do something a semester later, or a year later, especially when the opportunity is presented at the moment.

Kyle

In high school I was a three sport athlete: baseball, basketball and football. In the summer before my junior year I was training and preparing to enter on the varsity team for each sport. Looking back it seems kind of trivial, but when you are in high school preparing for to play on varsity it is a big deal. That summer I was playing basketball when my I dislocated my shoulder. Fortunately, I was able to put it back in, and I even finished the game. However the problem was re-occurring. It got to the point once football season started that I was dislocating my shoulder every practice. I went to Group Health, my doctor’s office, and was told there was nothing they could do and I would just have to live with it. I tried to continue with football and I was slated for a starting position but could not finish the practices, and I finally saw my schools sports trainer. My trainer immediately referred me to a surgeon where I was able to schedule a surgery to repair my rotator cuff.

I finished the junior football season as best I could with one arm and multiple dislocations per game. I got a brace for my shoulder which was so awkward and tight it used to turn my hand purple; I had to catch passes with one hand.  I was forced to give up basketball and baseball however. The real challenge was in my rehab, when insurance didn’t cover the recommended physical therapy, and Group Health only offered a once a week program. It put into question whether I would ever be able to play sports again. I took the only option I had and rehabbed myself in my high schools weight room every day from January to June. I did come back to play my senior football season to be awarded player of the year and got my life back to play basketball, ski, swim, play football, etc. My biggest lesson was that when things get difficult or there is an unexpected problem, there is no way out of it but hard work and discipline. I have looked back on that whole year from the tough season to long hours alone in the weight room as a reminder that when faced with a tough challenge I just have to put in the long hours and persevere.

Manmeet

One of my greatest disappointments was not getting the LSAT score that I was hoping for. The LSAT (Law School Admission Test) is the test that all students have to take in order to apply to law school. The score you receive on this test plays a significant role in the admissions process, which is why I spent so much time preparing for it. I took an LSAT prep course (that cost over $1000) and studied on my own as well. I was scoring really well on the practice tests but my score on the actual test day ended up being quite a few points lower, which was really frustrating. When I first found out my score I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. The first few weeks after I found out my score I kept thinking “if only I had taken a few more practice tests” or “if only I had started studying earlier.” Eventually, however, I realized that there was no point in playing out “if only” situations in my head. I did the best I could and it wasn’t worth my time to keep worrying about something that I no longer had control over. Now, I just remind myself that I should be proud of the score that I did get, even if it was lower than what I wanted. The main thing I learned from this entire experience is that it is good to set high goals and have high expectations, but we shouldn’t let any potential disappointments get the best of us. Not getting the perfect LSAT score isn’t going to keep from going to law school and becoming a lawyer.



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eMentors’ Big Give: Manmeet, Beza, Jocelyn

This week, we asked the eMentors: Suppose a genie appeared and gave you a million dollars, but only under the condition that you had to spend half of it on yourself and half of it philanthropically (for the benefit of others.) How would you spend that money? See their answers here…

Manmeet

On others:

$200,000 would have to go to the UW Dream Project. The Dream Project is a completely student-initiated outreach program that assists mostly first-generation and low-income high school students through the college admissions process. I know how hard everyone in this program works and half a million dollars would allow us to work with so many more high school students. I’d specifically set aside $100,000 for scholarships for incoming freshman.

$200,000 would go to my family.  My parents have sacrificed so much for me and they deserve to buy themselves something nice. Also, both my sister and my brother want to be doctors so I’m sure they could use a little extra money for medical school. Check out these two soon-to-be doctors below:

$100,000 would be spent on random acts of kindness. I think I’d start small, by paying for the groceries of the people behind me in line or paying for everyone’s meal at a restaurant. It would also be really awesome to buy something nice for all of the role models in my life.

On myself:

To be honest, I would probably save most of my half million. Law school costs at least $120,000 and it would be great if I could graduate debt free. But saving is boring, right? Let’s assume that I don’t have any other expenses…

$80,000 would go toward a brand new Audi A8. I absolutely love Audis and I have wanted one since I first got my license when I was 16.

$20,000 would be spent on the most epic shopping spree ever. I’m not that big on shopping but with this much money, I would go crazy at JCrew, H&M, Urban Outfitters, and Nordstrom. I also REALLY need a new laptop…like maybe a MacBook Pro?

$10,000 would be spent on concert tickets. There are so many artists that I want to see in concert, like Coldplay, Blue Scholars, Adele, Tracy Chapman, Iron and Wine, Mumford and Sons,  John Legend, and of course, Lil Wayne. I knew I’d find another way to incorporate Lil Wayne into my blog. Yessss.

$70,000 would go toward buying my own Chipotle restaurant. I’m sure it would cost a whole lot more than that to buy an entire restaurant but at the very least, $70,000 would buy me a lifetime supply of the most delicious burritos ever.

$100,000 would go toward my travel adventures. If I could, I would spend the rest of my life just traveling the world and experiencing different cultures. Lately, I’ve really wanted to visit South America. I would love to be there for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil!

My last $100,000 would be invested in either real estate or the stock market… because you know what’s better than $1,000,000? $2,000,000.

Beza

If a genie gave me $1,000,000 and if I was required to spend half of it on myself, the one thing I would do is TRAVEL!!!  $500,000 should be enough to go around the world and visit amazing cities while learning everything there is to learn about the places I visit. I would take cooking classes, dancing classes and languages just for fun.

 

The half of the money that I have to spend philanthropically is the hard part. I would love to donate a significant amount of money to an existing organization or maybe several organizations. But if I donate money I would want to see where the money has been spent and the progress the organization has made.  It is also very challenging to choose a specific organization amongst the millions that exist. So to avoid this dilemma I will start and fund my own organization that will be geared towards helping children from all around the world get quality education and reach their full potential.

Jocelyn

On Others…

200,000 dollars would go to the organization that I currently intern with King County Sexual Assault Resource Center.  The organization’s goals are to bring light to issues pertaining to sexual violence, work as advocates throughout the legal process for victims and to offer free services to everyone who needs their help.  KCSARC is well established; however, in these tough economic times nonprofits are being hit especially hard. This money would go a long way in helping them to maintain all of their services.

100,000 dollars would go to the University of Washington Green Dot program.  The University of Washington is attempting to utilize the Green Dot program to raise awareness that violence does occur on campus and there are proactive steps students can take to end it.  This money would help the program to increase the number of workshops they have, and it would allow for them to gain more visibility on campus.

“No one has to do everything, but everyone has to do something.”

200,000 dollars would be donated to the Innocence Lost Task Force of Washington State.  This program is federally run, and is aimed at ending sexual exploitation of children.  The money would go towards not only getting children off the streets but it would also go towards aftercare.  Aftercare consists of rehab programs, housing and education for all of the young children involved in domestic slavery.

On myself…

The first think I would do is put away 100,000 dollars to pay of college loans.  I am hoping to go to Law school following undergraduate and with an advanced degree come some hefty loans!

If I was spending blindly on anything that I wanted I would purchase this vehicle.

I love Audi’s and although the 2011 Audi R8 is impractical, it’s beautiful and like I said, I love it.  This car costs 114,000 dollars, so yes, the price of some small houses… but this is my splurge item!

To go in my passenger seat I would buy two dogs. They’d need to squeeze, but it could work.

500 X 2 = $1,000

20,000 dollars would be used to go on two trips, one to Rekyavik, Iceland and one to England.  The first trip is a gift for my boyfriend; he really wants to go there.  I believe he read in a book that Iceland was a beautiful country and offered a lot to travelers, ever since then it has become his dream destination.  The second trip is for my parents and brother.  My family on my mother’s side comes from England, and Detroit… but we will stick with England for our trip. It would be nice to see where my mother grew up. Plus she has always wanted to take us there.

Iceland                                  England

The remaining 265,000 dollars would go towards helping my parents build their lake cabin that they are hoping to retire to. My parents have already purchased the land and this money would go a long way in helping them payoff the actual cost of the cabin, in fact it may pay for the whole thing.  Their cabin is located on Priest Lake in Idaho.

 



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