In the Beginning - Questions to Ponder …
As you embark on your academic journey, you will want to reflect on interests you have developed up to this point in your life but also to look ahead and contemplate personal life-long learning goals. St. Olaf College’s mission states “In the conviction that life is more than a livelihood; [education at St. Olaf] focuses on what is ultimately worthwhile and fosters the development of the whole person in mind, body, and spirit.” With that in mind it is important to stop, step out of your active routines and take time to think about, and discuss with others, questions that will be important to your St. Olaf education. Pull out this set of questions regularly during your four years, give them your attention, and then discuss them with your friends, family, faculty advisor, and other resource people on campus.
1. What are your long-term plans and direction?
That’s right, where are you headed? Your first two years can allow that direction to be suddenly discovered, or it may unfold slowly. You need not rush to answers, but asking the questions will assist your academic planning. In your meetings with your faculty advisor,
- Discuss your specific skills, talents, and passions. Look for ways to connect them to your academic program.
- Consider which world language offered at St. Olaf would be the best choice for you.
- Explore St. Olaf’s many opportunities in majors, concentrations, programs, and courses. Experiment; pursue a new interest.
- Consider unique experiential learning: Off-Campus Study programs, internships, work-study, or career explorations.
2. What will be the relationship, or connection, between the various areas of your St. Olaf experience?
Although the center of your St. Olaf education will be your academic experience, you may devote considerable time and energy to other activities: volunteering in the community, athletics or recreational sports, music or theater, a club or organization. How well do these activities complement your academic plan, and do they permit a healthy balance in your St. Olaf life?
3. How practical is your academic planning?
Take care not to neglect those practical, real world issues such as managing your finances, finding break employment, and developing your career and vocational skills. Visit the Academic Advising Center, the Career Development Center, and the Center for Internships and Service Learning often throughout your four years, so that you leave St. Olaf both well-educated and employable.