Wrapping Up Senior Seminar

There’s officially 11 school days left in this academic year and I have quite a few mixed emotions about that. On the one hand, I’m so excited to be graduating and moving on to other schooling and adventures. However, I’m going to miss the comfort that Hope has provided me, as well as seeing all of the familiar faces I’ve grown accustomed to each day.

Senior Seminar is one class in particular that has allowed me to reflect on my time at Hope and made me analyze the past few years as well as my years prior to college. I had mentioned in a previous blog that I had to write a paper called “What Moves Me” for this class and the ideas and realizations I had from writing that paper allowed me to write my “Life View” paper. This past week I had to present this paper and discuss my life view with the rest of the class. I’m not much of a public speaker but this presentation was a lot easier than I had thought going into it. Everybody in my class is so comfortable with each other so anything I said or revealed was going to be supported and respected. Although I was able to find meaning in the experiences in my life thus far, I really enjoyed listening to my peers and their stories.

The remaining time we have left in the class is solely dedicated to presenting our own life views and I’m actually looking forward to it. So far I’ve listened to only a few and they are such a joy listening to because people really open up about what makes them who they are. Some people take a humorous angle while others discuss the losses and personal tragedies they have faced, presenting a wide range of life events that my peers have faced. I feel so fortunate that my classmates are willing to share such personal things and I have a greater understanding and respect for each person because I’ve been able to get to know them better. Some presentations have actually inspired me and have challenged me to see from different perspectives. It’s crazy how much you learn simply from your peers and see what different obstacles everybody has had to deal with and how they cope.

I found it so beneficial to take this specific course and take a step back to analyze my life. It seems like something that everybody should do occasionally and learn from oneself and one’s experiences. Without this class, I wouldn’t have been able to decipher why things really happened or didn’t happen to me and having this understanding really helped me grow and appreciate people, situations and events in my life. I’m sure I’ll stumble across this paper a decade from now and really enjoy reading my perspective as a young adult and see how much I have changed since writing it and if I can find even more meaning that I didn’t see this first go-around. I strongly encourage you to simply sit down and take the time to see what you value in people, relationships, friendships and yourself. For me, I gained a new perspective of myself and I’m very grateful that I have found meaning through my actions. Even if it’s just writing in a journal, keeping track of your thoughts will be interesting and beneficial in the future looking back. See if you can learn something new about yourself!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @hopeleslie15.

What Moves You?

Being a senior has a lot of perks, such as knowing the ins and outs of campus, having strong relationships with people in your classes, and generally feeling like you know what’s going on. Another perk I never really thought about was being able to look back on the previous four years and see how you’ve grown as a person.

In my Senior Seminar class, we had to write a paper called “What Moves Me.” The purpose of this assignment was to look introspectively on your life and identify what values you have and what motivates you in your life. I had never really thought about myself in so much depth, so I can already tell that this class will really allow for a lot of internal reflection, which is great!

Today in class we shared a summary of our papers with each other in small groups and it was really interesting to see how people look at themselves. There were certain people who pinpointed their values as a characteristic, such as loyalty, while others were moved through specific events in their lives that really shaped their character and personality. For me, I was able to use a combination of these two methods by realizing that what moves me are the values instilled in me at a young age.

Various events in my life have taken place that highlight what things are most important to me. These values I cherish the most include trust, being kind to others, and looking out for my well-being and others in everything I do. I find it extremely effective gathering in groups and talking about our lives and what makes us “us.” I have never been in another class where the topic is based solely on ourselves and assignments are for our personal growth instead of being driven by class standards and trying to simply get a good grade. I actually care about this class because the more effort you put in, the more you get back and learn about yourself!

If you are unfamiliar with the structure of this Senior Seminar class, let me give a brief description. Freshman year, every student is in a class called FYS (First Year Seminar) where they are being introduced to the liberal arts education. Fast forward to senior year and you take another class reflecting on FYS as well as the past four years. This class is designed to analyze your progress and growth as an individual and a student. The main assignment the Senior Seminar class is structured around the Life View paper, where you write about your life and it’s specific events in a 25-paged or so paper. Pretty intimidating, but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how I analyze my life and what has impacted me the most. Something else that makes the class really great is that you know a good amount of people in your class, so opening up to people is easier and more effective class discussions take place, which is much better than when people are scared to speak up.

I hope this blog has inspired you to look at yourself objectively and see what makes you the way you are. Personally, I find it interesting and amazing to see what has caused me to become the person I am today and in what ways I have remained the same since childhood. The values I had as a kid simply adjusted to my current lifestyle and I continue to carry out these beliefs and way of living. I believe it is highly beneficial to take moments every once in a while to sit down and analyze your life just for the heck of it because you may be surprised to discover something new about yourself.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @hopeleslie15.