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September 21, 2005

Coming of Age

If you know me from my previous job or if you have talked to me here at Case you have, no doubt, heard me speak about the coming of age experience.

This, in many ways, is my answer to the question of “why we work in admissions.” Through my collegiate days, my fraternity experience and my first job out of college I became passionate about the role college plays in the coming of age experience. Actually, while in college, while an undergraduate fraternity member and in my first year or two out of college I wasn’t aware of what I had experienced. I didn’t realize the value these experience had on me or how they would continue to impact me personally and lead me to my current career.

My first job out of college was working for the Sigma Chi International Fraternity. This was to be a one year appointment traveling the continent to visit thirty chapters (colleges) of the organization as a Leadership Consultant. I ended up being on the Headquarters staff, in various roles, for four years. As I learned more about Greek life and higher education I began to reflect upon my experiences.

What I came to realize was that my college years shaped my life in more ways than any other period in my life.

The how:

I grew up a lot. Of the 145ish students from my class that went to college 130 plus went to the local University of Rhode Island. I left the comfort of Rhode Island and moved to Ohio—an out-of- state freshman at a 20,000 student public university. I was alone, but outgoing (this has saved me many times). I quickly engaged some kids in my residence hall, but quickly became bored of the constant video game sessions. I went out to fraternity recruitment. I met some guys like me and some not so much. The good thing was that they were all in the same fraternity. I was asked to join and did. This began my exposure to new people, new experiences and new ideas (some of which I agreed with and some I did not—which is good).

Without getting too long winded I submit this: college is about exploration. Not just exploring the history of the United States, not just exploring the far reaches of our solar system, not just exploring the complexities of quantum physics. It is just as important and critical to explore beyond the walls of the classroom. Explore yourself—what you value, your beliefs, your fears, your strengths. Become the person you want to be. Allow those around to help shape and expand, not necessarily change, your values and beliefs. Allow yourself to comfortably challenge and overcome your fears. Hone your skills.

To me this is the true value of higher education. You will work hard in the classroom, get a diploma and get a job. These other experiences, in and out of the classroom, will help you become the person that you desire to become. These elements, when combined, assist in the development of a complete personality and a successful collegiate journey.


Posted by jbg15 at September 21, 2005 11:29 AM

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