Senior Seminars Inform the Class of 2017 about College Life


Liz Keller

By Liz Keller, ’17, Arts and Entertainment Editor

On Wednesday January 4th, the seniors attended their first Senior Seminar. This wasn’t just a chance to eat bacon and miss our first two bells of class (though that was great as well.) We had the opportunity to talk to Country Day alumni, many of whom we knew, and learn what college is actually like. Apparently, it’s not just like Legally Blonde. Bummer. Each senior attended four seminars chosen from a list of thirteen options. There were different options: athletics, internships, science fields, study abroad, and extracurriculars. I attended Jennifer Gonzalez, ’15,’s Semester Abroad in London, Margaret Hodson,’16,’s Extracurriculars: College Outside the Classroom, Holly Dayton,’13,’s Singing and Dancing in Silicon Valley: Extracurricular Theater and Leadership, and Lauren Wiley,’14,’s Semester at Sea, and here’s what I learned.

Jennifer Gonzalez is currently a sophomore at Boston University, though she was a freshman when she spent a semester abroad in London. She started at BU in February of 2016, one semester later than most college freshmen. During her free semester, she attended some extra classes at Miami. She attended spring semester at BU, preparing for her trip, then went with the same professors she had in the spring for a six-week summer semester in London. While she was there she took three classes from Tuesday to Friday and was given the opportunity to travel all over the country on the weekends. She was surrounded by other BU students and lived in BU owned dorms that were a short walk away from her classes. She thought that the trip made her independent and responsible faster than she would have if she had a normal freshman year. She knew about this program while she was applying to BU and it is a great reminder that gap semester programs are a great opportunity, and you can still graduate on time.

Margaret Hodson is a freshman at Georgetown, and had some interesting advice to share about clubs in college. She felt that the best way to learn about the different clubs on campus is to attend the club/activities fair on campus that usually occurs in the first couple weeks of the year. However, there are a ridiculous number of clubs on any college campus, and, if possible, you should try to narrow them down first on the school’s website, though it may not always be updated. At the club fair, you can sign up for email lists to receive information about the clubs and their meetings, and see if they are right for you. Clubs provide opportunities to make friends and find mentors that you connect with on a personal level. However, there are a couple things to be wary of. The first is signing up for too many clubs, you will get swamped with emails and have absolutely no time. The second is applications. Apparently, some clubs have applications and interviews that you need to complete before being accepted. If that’s not for you, join clubs with general membership. In order to be happy with your clubs, the first thing you need to do is dip your toe in. Go to a few meetings and see if it’s a good social fit for you. Also, don’t be afraid to drop out of clubs. You aren’t supposed to find your perfect club right away.

Holly Dayton is a senior at Stanford who originally thought that she didn’t want to participate in theater after high school. However, she found herself in the Ram’s Head Theatrical Society. There are usually multiple theater groups on campus, and you should try to find the best fit for you. Some groups may require you to perform in every show in a year, which may not be for you. There are also a lot of places for people that don’t sing on stage. Her advice was that if you’re nervous about auditioning or joining, start in a technical theater position. They are always in need of good techies and it provides the opportunity to build rapport with the leaders of the groups, which makes auditioning much less stressful. Thankfully, in smaller schools that aren’t performing arts schools, you don’t have to be a theater major to participate, and people of almost every major do. The important things to remember is that you can do theater in a big or little way, whichever best fits your schedule and interest level.

Last spring, Lauren Wiley had the opportunity to do something she has always wanted: take a semester of classes at sea. At that point a sophomore at Butler University, she attended the program through the University of Virginia. She visited many different countries and had the opportunity to travel each of them freely when she left the boat. She didn’t know anyone on the trip but made friends among the 500 students who were on the trip as well. The decision to study abroad is an important one, but you have to make sure it doesn’t prevent you from graduating on time. However, there are many ways to fulfill general education requirements while abroad. On the ship, Lauren took four classes and described it as “Suite Life on Deck for college students.” Her advisers and teachers were skeptical of her taking the trip, but she says that you have to make the decision for yourself.