Category: Victoria Snare (page 1 of 3)

Which came first: the passion or the job?

You sit in front of your computer screen and scroll through a column of white boxes with an academic discipline listed next to each one, from Accounting to Women’s Studies. Then, quickly and unceremoniously, you make a decision that, in theory, is supposed to define the rest of your life.

To this day, it still boggles my mind that as a rising freshman in college, this is how we are asked to select a major. It is a significant decision, monumental even, and yet it’s condensed into the checking of a box.

When I got to this step of college preparation the situation seemed hardly significant. It was like being asked what your favorite subject in school was, so I responded to the question in the same manner. With minimal thought and virtually no discussion, I scrolled through and decided what to click based on which major sounded most appealing. I saw “English,” decided I liked books and I liked to write, and without any further deliberation, clicked the corresponding square. I didn’t fully grasp I had just charted my academic path at UD.
When I actually set foot on campus I began to wonder if I had gone about that the wrong way. When my fellow students discussed their major they weren’t discussing what they enjoyed, they were talking about what would best set them up for a career. Degree-related conversations praised practicality and glossed over actual interest. A peer asked me -not entirely sarcastically- if I planned on living in a cardboard box after I told him the major I came in with. It seemed in picking my area of study based on what I truly liked, I had made a serious mistake.

But wait- aren’t you supposed to take classes that interest you? Aren’t you, as student, supposed to pursue what inspires you? Isn’t that what college is all about? Shouldn’t your profession be the product of passion instead of the other way around? Suddenly I wasn’t so sure. And because I didn’t have a clearly defined career path laid out before me -the way so many of my colleagues did- my future that had once appeared brimming with possibilities now looked entirely bleak.

However, I stuck with my decision for a while longer. I couldn’t help myself. The homework I was assigned in my major-specific courses I probably would have done on my own free time. I was emotionally invested in the discussions we had in class. I was passionate, truly passionate, about the material, so I continued to pour myself into my studies.
Then, something interesting occurred, and continued to occur. Opportunities started falling into my lap. I was offered a position editing this very blog. I got a research gig that was directly correlated to my interests. I became a tutor in the University Writing Center. My resume was steadily being strengthened and when I interviewed for positions I found I possessed skills employers valued and needed.

As it happened, I wasn’t destined for a life in a cardboard box. On the contrary, it seemed my future was actually fairly promising, (at least, I’d like to think so). But this isn’t about some accomplishment I made; this is me saying you don’t have to fit yourself into some ill-fitting, career-perfect mold to accomplish things at all. You don’t have to squeeze into that tiny square on the computer screen you clicked when you selected your major. What you can do instead is pursue your passions, and it is amazing to see where this can lead you.

What lies ahead of me is not pre-defined and it’s not entirely clear, but I now find this exciting rather than intimidating. Just because it’s not already mapped out based on a decision I made as a rising freshman, it doesn’t mean it’s not full of opportunities and possibilities and prospects. As I continue to pursue my passions, things continue to fall into place. I encourage anyone who will listen to do the same.

Bottom line: do what you love. Everything else will follow.

~Victoria Snare

Embrace the Mistakes

“You’re going to college!”
“How exciting!”
“Make the most of these four years, they go fast!”
“Try new things, get involved!”
“But don’t over-extend yourself!”
“Remember, you’re there to learn, school comes first!”
“Be well-rounded though, don’t lock yourself up in the library!”
“Have fun!”
“But not too much fun!”

As soon as I committed to the University of Delaware, it seemed any conversation I had was centered on, or at least full of advice on how to make the most of my college experience. Aunts, uncles, family friends, friends-of-friends, even my dentist had a word or two of counsel on how to do college “right.” They were valuable pieces of information, wise words based on years of experience, and I knew they would be useful to keep in mind. However, by the time I was pulling up to my residence hall on move-in day, they had accumulated to the point that I felt more paralyzed than empowered.

As I began to try and make decisions, I found myself second-guessing everything. Was that actually the best use of my time? Should I go to bed early or stay up a little later and work ahead? Does hanging out with friends and being social tonight make the most sense, or should I hit the books? With all the guidance I had been provided, I felt I was equipped to have the ideal freshman year, so each day had to go exactly right. I didn’t just want to have the perfect year; I was supposed to have the perfect year. In my book of “how to do college,” there was no margin for error.

Well freshman year came and went, and it was far from perfect. I made plenty of mistakes, slept through my fair share of classes, and mixed up the deadline for more than one assignment. On the other hand, I also joined several organizations that further developed my interests, took classes that inspired me, and made friends that are still some of my closest today. Some exams went better than others, there were good days and bad days, but overall, I look back on that year as a success. I left more than prepared for my sophomore year, and with plenty of fond memories to take with me.

A freshman year memory: Trying desperately to form "B3" with our seating arrangement as a tribute to our freshman floor.

A freshman year memory: Trying desperately to form “B3” with our seating arrangement as a tribute to our freshman floor.

It didn’t matter that each day didn’t achieve a perfect balance of work and play. It wasn’t important that my every action was directly related to my college success story. It wasn’t a big deal that I hadn’t followed every piece of advice I had ever gotten to a tee. I had turned out more than fine, and so had my freshman year. It wasn’t perfect, but it was perfect in its imperfection.

The irony is that in trying to make your college experience perfect, in attempting to successfully implement all that advice you accumulate, you make the biggest mistake of all. You will come to expect perfection. As a result, you’ll be set up to face constant disappointment.
If I could go back to that first move-in day, as I stood in an empty dorm room that was as clean and bare as the freshman year that stretched out before me, I would have added one more piece of advice to the list: embrace the mistakes. It’s okay to strive for the ideal freshman year, to try your best to follow all the words of wisdom bestowed upon on you, but it’s equally okay to recognize that shortcomings are inevitable. In fact, it’s okay to anticipate them. Then, when you do encounter them, you don’t have to view them as failures, but rather something to accept and then put behind you. This is the mindset I try to maintain as I continue my college career.

Because chances are, you are going to have a great college experience, mistakes and all. It won’t be perfect, but it will be wonderful.

~Victoria Snare

Memories of NSO

For the University of Delaware, summer means its time for a new freshmen class to populate campus, a campus they’ll be able to call their own for the first time. It is time for New Student Orientation, popularly known as, “NSO.”

 

 

NSO is a day that is as nerve-wracking as it is exhilarating, a time when your excitement for college is only matched by anxiousness about whatever the year might bring. You probably changed your outfit for three times and still aren’t completely satisfied with the final decision, (or maybe that’s just me). You smile for your ID picture and hope desperately that an image you’ll carry with you these next few years isn’t a complete disaster. You listen to each presentation with painstaking focus but still don’t feel like you totally get it.

 

However, it is also a day when you are in awe of the Orientation Leaders having so much energy so early in the morning. It is also a day when your stress about picking classes is significantly lessened after a one-on-one session with an adviser. It is also a day when you look at the students and setting around you and realize with growing eagerness that this place is beginning to feel like home

 

I remember NSO, and all these aspects, vividly. But something I don’t always appreciate now that I’m on the other side is just how intimidating that day was as a rising freshman. That day symbolized beginning the transition from high school to college, the first step on a bridge to university life. I often forget that that step was little short of terrifying to me.

 

Instead, I look at the Class of 2018 with envy, for they are making a transition that in hindsight, appears perfectly manageable. The reality that awaits them is college, an enriching and invigorating reality I have come to know and love. This reality isn’t frightening anymore- it’s fun. Additionally, they will have mentors and professional assistants helping them along they way as they make the adjustment. The transition that looked like a long and rickety rope bridge to me as a rising freshmen, I regard now as a mere hop from one side of the road to the other.

 

 

I am preoccupied now with another transition that looms ahead of me. It is the change from university life to “real life.” My entry into this real world is what intimidates me now, for this transition is surely more difficult, surely more worthy of nervous anticipation than the one between high school and college.

 

 

But is it, though?

 

 

It is easy to look back at NSO, recognize how well everything turned out and how smoothly everything went, and say that transition wasn’t a big deal. It’s easy to belittle the transitions of the past and tell yourself that the one right ahead of you, that’s the one you need to worry about. Easy to say, easy to believe, but it’s not the truth.

 

 

The fact is, that transition was scary. But I was prepared for it, more prepared then I realized, and just as prepared as I will be when it comes time to graduate college. Watching the Class of 2018 go through NSO each day is a good reminder of that. If they are as half as nervous as I was, they’re awfully nervous. They’re also going to be just as okay I was, just as okay as my Class of 2016 will be as we go off into the world at the end of these 4 years.

 

 

To me, NSO is many things, but most of all, it is a poignant representation of transition. It is a picture of one of many changes we have to undergo as human beings, and it is a reminder of how worthwhile and manageable those changes turn out to be. Class of 2018, (and every class that comes after you), you guys are going to be just fine.

~Victoria Snare

Some members of the Class of 2018 gather for a group shot with their Orientation Leader!

Some members of the Class of 2018 gather for a group shot with their Orientation Leader!

 

The Madness of March

March is one of my favorite times of the year. Granted, I dislike the bipolar weather, but the excitement of this month more than makes up for it.

First, there is St. Patrick’s Day. As a person of Irish heritage, there is nothing I love more than being able to rock some green clothing and eat some delicious corn beef and cabbage.  

Shortly following this lovely holiday is another holiday of sorts: the March Madness college basketball tournament. This tournament will, for the next three weeks, be at the forefront of my mind. I even downloaded multiple apps onto my phone to stay up to date with the games. And, it is all the more exciting now that our very own Blue Hens will be playing!

One of my favorite things about the tournament is choosing a bracket. I have learned over the years not to put too much thought into my decisions. For instance, a few years ago, I made selections solely on the name and mascot of the school. The school with the “cooler” name and mascot always made it into the next round. Using this highly technical strategy, I somehow won my family’s bracket pool. However, last year, I tried to study the teams and use my fledgling knowledge to make my picks. I ended up coming in last place in my floor bracket group. So, this year, I will simply be making my picks on a whim in the hopes that a strategy of randomness will be successful and I will not come in last place.

But, my favorite part of the tournament is the upsets. Every year, there are teams that win against all odds. I love these upsets because they truly demonstrate that anything is possible. Nobody expects anything of these teams; few pick them to win in their bracket; they are truly underdogs. But somehow, they manage to play their hearts out and persevere. For me, there is nothing like watching the pure joy on the faces of the players as they win a game that nobody thought they could win. For me, it is so inspiring to see these players chase after their dreams even in the face of tough competition. It restores my faith in the fact you can do anything you set your mind to.  

So, for the next few weeks, I will be eagerly following the progress of March Madness and rooting relentlessly for the underdogs. Those underdogs include our own Blue Hens who will be facing off against Michigan State in the first round. Can you guess what I will be doing on Thursday afternoon? Cheering them to victory, of course!

It's almost that time of year!

It’s almost that time of year!

~Rebecca Jaeger

Life Lessons at the Laundromat

Out of all the things that excited me about college life- doing my own laundry was not on the list. (Full disclosure: I am ashamed to admit it, but my mom did my laundry up until senior of high school.) The first time I trudged down the stairs of my residence hall, lugging a cumbersome bag of un-washed clothes over my shoulder and carrying a bottle of Tide detergent in hand, I felt only resentment. I had better things to do than separate my lights and darks. (Please keep in mind this was freshman year- I’d like to think I’ve matured since then.)

When I finally entered the laundry room resentment was replaced by intimidation. The machines stared at me menacingly. It was like they knew how inexperienced I was. They were looking down at my lack of domestic skills with condescension. if I wasn’t careful, they would turn all my crisp white shirts a washed out shade of pink. I nearly trembled.

A pretty intimidating sight for a first-timer

No. I would not let myself be daunted by some inanimate objects. Gritting my teeth in determination I approached the washing machine and began transferring my laundry from the bag to the machine. I would conquer this.

Well friends, if you must know, I did not get through my first load of laundry without not one, but two calls to my dear mother. (“What do you mean the temperature of the water matters?!”) Also, if I’m being perfectly honest, I did put the detergent in the wrong compartment. There is likewise a very good chance I simply dumped the detergent in there without measuring it out first.  Who really pays attention the fill lines on the cap anyway?

Yet, despite all my blunderings, I felt something else as I watched the water pour over my clothes through the window of the washing machine, staring transfixed as my load began to spin and tumble around. I felt a strange sense of accomplishment. Later, when I tossed the wet bundles into the dryer, now cleansed of stains and unappealing smells, I felt a sense of pleasure. Then, when I pulled them from the dryer, (warm, clean, and smelling faintly of Tide detergent), I was overwhelmed with immense satisfaction.

As I folded my garments and placed them in their respective drawers, I was beaming. I was the reason they were now fresh and ready for their second wear. I had created a new beginning. Silly as it might sound, I felt like I was growing up.

People will give you a lot of advice before you go off to college, about how you’re going to need to really step it up because your parents aren’t there to take care of you anymore, and how you’re going to learn to take care of yourself. It always sounded pretty daunting, at least to me. Here’s what they don’t tell you: it’s fun! Tackling these tasks of adulthood is exhilarating, and each time you conquer a new responsibility it prepares you for the next one.

Then again, maybe I’m just overly excited about the fact that I haven’t turned a shirt pink yet.

~Victoria Snare

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