Ask a Senior: Advice on life and Lawrence

As our time at Lawrence comes to an end, we, the members of the Mortar Board Senior Honors Society, have been reflecting on the past four years with nostalgia and…embarrassment. Every member of the Class of 2019 has made mistakes and learned lessons the hard way. So, before we move on to life after Lawrence, we would like to share some of our hard-earned wisdom with the underclass community. Over the past week, Mortar Board provided spaces in the Center for Academic Success and the Seeley G. Mudd Library for students to ask questions about Lawrence and life, and now we have the answers!

How do I not regret my past four years as I reflect on them? 

“Don’t minimize the hardships that you faced during the last four years that may have caused you to do things you regret or miss out on opportunities. Focus on the positive things that you did accomplish and the relationships you did build without comparing yourself to others. You have your whole life ahead of you to do great things so don’t get stuck in past regrets.” 

—Sarah Woody

“Everyone changes and grows throughout college—it’s pretty much inevitable. I admit it can be very hard to see or acknowledge my own growth, but it certainly is present and others are bound to have noticed. Take some time to sit down with your advisor or consider using our counseling services. I am not sure how close people tend to be with their advisors in the College, but being a performance major in the Conservatory, my advisor is my clarinet professor who has worked with me on a regular basis and can testify for how much I have grown, even when I feel like I am not at my best.”

—Abbey Atwater

“Spend a lot of time with your friends! Talk about what you guys have done together. Focus on how amazing the things you have done are rather than the things you wish you did.  And also remember that graduating isn’t the end of anything, you’re just getting started!”

—Gustav Schwen

What do you wish you knew about sooner to help you succeed in school and life?

“There’s only one person who needs to believe you can be successful with your dreams: yourself. You might not get the encouragement you think you need, but that’s not what will keep you from coming back and working past difficulties. Encourage yourself, know what you’re capable of and convince yourself of what you know you can do.”

—Charlotte Noble

“Take your sleep seriously! If you have a pretty consistent sleep schedule and get at least seven hours you have more energy, focus better and end up remembering more for tests and quizzes.” 

—Emma Saiz

“There are so many micro-grants available to aid student travel! As long as you apply thoroughly and far enough in advance, you could easily take a month-long educational summer trip to another country, on Lawrence’s coin, every year.” 

—Emmi Zheng

How many seniors does it take to plan a fundraiser?

“Three to five on a good day.”

—Katherine Stein

“Planning a fundraiser can be an overwhelming task when you’ve never done it before. If you know each other’s strengths and play into those, I think three to five seniors is a good number—not too many and not too few.” 

—Celine Stichert

“16 if you are accounting for senioritis.”

—Emily Midyette

What should I do if I feel like my advisor is not giving me good advice?

“Find a professor you trust and get a second opinion. Your academic advisor doesn’t have to be the only person giving you advice.”

—Anna Cohen

“I know many friends who have expressed such concerns. They have taken different approaches. First, if you know your advisor is not in the field you want to major in, you could switch to someone in your field. Obviously, your previous advisor would not have hard feelings. After all, you are no longer majoring in their field. If your advisor is in your major, it is likely going to be harder to change advisors. You could think about some faculty you trust and could get good advice from and ask them about courses. Also, be more active, seek advice and pose questions rather than just presenting your schedule and waiting for your advisor to give you advice.”

—Qiushan Liu

“This is probably because your advisor does not understand what your goal or dream is yet; you can either communicate completely with your advisor or consult with other professors, friends or family members, but most importantly, it is your own choice.”

—Linh Nguyen

What are the “hidden gems” of the Lawrence campus? 

“Mind spa! YMCA membership! Somerset room! VR on a low-key night!”

—Charlotte Noble

“The Makerspace in the library. There are so many cool and unexpected machines and materials there: 3D printers, a vinyl cutter that allows you to make any shape of sticker, paints and markers, a sewing machine and a new laser cutter that can create detailed designs in pretty much any medium—paper, wood, leather, cardboard, etc.”

—Emmi Zheng

“There’s quite a few depending on what you are looking for. For studying: the Rodger Dale Kruse Room on the fourth floor of the library.  For career or internship help: Michelle Cheney at the CLC. For relaxing: the massage chair on the fourth floor of Hiett, the walking trails behind Trever to feel like you are in nature or the wood structures by Briggs.”

—Anna Pell

Mortar Board would like to thank Reference and Learning Technologies Librarian Angela Vanden Elzen for providing question-asking space in the Seeley G. Mudd Library and Associate Dean of Academic Success Julie Haurykiewicz for providing space in the Center for Academic Success. Unfortunately, we did not have room in this article to answer every question asked, but we encourage every underclass student to reach out to their friendly neighborhood seniors for advice and guidance!