by Abigail Fellin
Samantha Hirschman graduated from Buena Vista University just last spring (May 2017) with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Corporate Communications and a minor in business. Below is an interview with Samantha almost a year later.
What did you do right after graduation?
Right after graduation, I moved to Ames, Iowa and worked at Sam's Club for the summer. I was accepted into the Masters of Education in Student Affairs program at Iowa State. I wanted to move to Ames to get acclimated to the city before starting my program in August.
What are you doing now?
I am currently at Iowa State University. I am a graduate assistant in the Student Activities Center (SAC). Though next year, my graduate assistantship will be with Ivy College of Business Career Services. In my current SAC assistantship, I help with the recognition process of student organizations. I maintain the SAC facebook page, help with promotional efforts for our bowling alley, CyBowl & Billiards, and provide support to the student programming organization, Student Union Board.
What about BV best prepared you for life after graduation?
Although my courses taught me the skills to do the work, it was in my extracurricular activities that I practiced my skills and developed as an individual. Outside of the classroom was where I experienced challenge. Where there is challenge, there is growth. During the fall semester of my junior year, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Rome, Italy. I received funding from the institution that helped me pay for the travel costs. Studying abroad was easily the most influential experience I had during my four years.
Do you have any advice for people who are about to graduate? Either from high school or undergrad?
My best advice would be to remind yourself that where there is challenge, there is growth. College is not easy, so be proud of yourself if you are about to graduate. And if you are able to graduate from high school, keep your wide eyes open. Your imagination and excitement will be what helps you throughout your experience. If you are a student who feels you do not have the access to college, I see you. There are resources available to make college happen if you want to attend.
I was told you use to work in the CAE as a writing tutor. Do you think these experiences helped you after college? Would recommend that others who are offered this experience try it?
I was a Writing Tutor for three years. It was and still is the foundation for why I want to do Student Affairs work. I believe that this experience encouraged me to open my mind. It helped me build skills that I may otherwise have not been able to. I do believe students can benefit greatly from being tutors. It can be very beneficial for someone to build their interpersonal skills while learning how to teach and facilitate learning. Anyone who is offered an opportunity to be a tutor, I would tell them that it can be an invaluable experience. It is an incredible opportunity. No two tutors are alike - everyone has their own way of teaching and own style of communication. It is not a position to take lightly however, because your ability to facilitate learning can impact a student's academic life.
Do you have a favorite book/author?
My favorite author is Nicholas Sparks. I have always enjoyed reading his love stories. I am a romantic and find excitement in reading a great love story. I am also a nerd though so I enjoy reading theory in textbooks and articles.
by Abigail Fellin
While doing this series on BVU grads, we could not forget one of last year’s editors, Kacee Baker. Below is our interview with Kacee by Abigail Fellin.
Where are you/what are you currently doing?
I’m getting my M.A. in literature at West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV.
Why did you choose to go to grad school?
I had such a great time studying lit at BV that I just wanted to keep doing it.
What about BVU properly prepared you to go to grad school?
Small classes with engaging instructors and thoughtful students prepared me really well for the challenge and atmosphere of graduate school. All the extracurricular opportunities—like helping with Hot Dish and FACES, tutoring at the CAE, and working as an academic assistant in the English department—were also awesome because I was totally immersed in the world of English just like I am now. I could go on forever about how much I love and miss the BV English department.
What is something unexpected about grad school you wish you knew before hand?
How easy it is! I had this perception that I was going to be totally out of my depth and constantly drowning in assignments. The workload and classes are challenging, but I would have felt much more confident and relaxed starting classes if I had fully realized how well prepared I was and how doable grad school is.
What do you miss most about the Midwest?
I think people in the Midwest are the perfect mix of reserved and friendly, and I miss that. Also, the food: Hy-Vee chocolate chip cookies, Godfather’s banana dessert pizza, my mom’s chicken croissant casserole… When I came back home over Christmas I had a long list of Midwest-only places I wanted food from and (hot) dishes I wanted my mom to make.
Is there anything you would like to say to someone considering studying literature as an undergrad?
Do it! It’s engaging, thought-provoking, fun, and challenging. I feel so lucky that I got to go to classes and talk about books every day. If you’re worried about not getting a job or knowing what to do with the major, just put everything off by going to grad school!
Do you have any current book recommendations?
I just finished a great one! If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino is an awesome, accessible postmodernist novel. It moves between a story about two people trying to read the novel itself and the beginnings of several other books that the readers happen across. It’s clever, emotional, engaging, and fun. I read it after coming across its great last line: “And you say, ‘Just a moment, I’ve almost finished If on a winter's night a traveler by Italo Calvino.’”
by Dalton Machholz
As part of a new series of blog posts, we are interviewing Buena Vista University graduates to see how their life has been since BV. Paije (Wee) Wilson graduated in 2016 as an English major, biology minor. Here is an interview with Paije by Dalton Machholz.
What is it that you currently do? And why did you choose to go to grad school?
Currently I attend the University of Iowa's graduate program in Library and Information Science, and I'm employed as a student worker in special collections as an archival processor and at the department of dentistry as a research assistant. I chiefly decided to go to grad school because I loved academia, and have always wanted to remain a part of the fast-paced research environment. Dr. Gwen Hart was the one who ultimately directed me towards library school, and therefore a position where I can help professors, students, and even medical practitioners in conducting research while having the opportunity to pursue my own research interests.
How did BVU help you prepare for what you are doing now?
BVU prepared me for grad school in a number of ways. Specifically, my degree in English has helped me to be a critical thinker (which has fueled my research in critical literacy in academic environments), has given me the skills to write grad-level essays, and has made me a confident and successful researcher. My minor in biology has also sparked my interest in encouraging interdisciplinary research, has contributed to my ability to acquire a mentorship with the medical library, and had helped me to acquire a student position at the department of dentistry. In sum, BVU is an invaluable contributor to my success in grad school.
What activities were your favorite to attend while you were at BVU?
My favorite activities at BVU included being an assistant editor for the FACES literary magazine, and, of course, Humans vs. Zombies!
What is something you really miss from BVU?
The thing that I miss most about BVU is the small-town atmosphere of the campus. I loved being able to study in any building at any time of night, and being able to talk to professors of pretty much any discipline.
Name you favorite Midwest, or Iowa food.
My favorite Iowa food would be sweet corn, of course! =)