Letter from the Editor - Beginning a new chapter ...

Sara WesselmanAs I recap my last four years at the University of Northern Iowa, nostalgia sets in and a whirlwind flashback begins, reminiscing on the great experiences and people that I have been fortunate to come across during my time here.

The culmination of four years will come to a close this Saturday for 1,900 Panther students as we begin a new chapter in our lives.

Looking back to events throughout college, like the Dalai Lama's visit, the men's basketball Sweet Sixteen appearance and the upcoming commencement speech of the first lady this Saturday, my time here at UNI will be ending on a climactic yet bittersweet note.

From my involvement in the Public Relations Student Society of America to my internship at University Relations editing the This is UNI e-magazine, my time here has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of my life.

Having gone through seven "finals weeks," it suddenly dawned on me that this semester it wasn't just another "finals week" but is, in fact, my final week. The great and meaningful experiences that I have gained here at UNI will give me the tools to transition into new opportunities.

The realization of the unknown future caused me to take a moment and reflect on all the great things I have experienced because of the opportunities that UNI provides for its students.

While I have experienced great things, there are many things that I wish I had taken more advantage of while I was here. For all the potential and current students, it's never too late to consider the endless possibilities that a UNI education can provide you.

Hindsight is 20/20 as they say, but knowing what I know now, I hope my insight can help our future or current Panthers.

  1. Take advantage of Career Services, Academic Advising and all the experts on campus. We sometimes forget the endless free resources that are available to us.
  2. Immerse yourself in an unfamiliar environment. Expand your horizons and get out of your comfort zone. Expose yourself to people who have different cultures, backgrounds and interests than your own. There are thousands of unique individuals who can make a strong impact on your view of the world.
  3. Join organizations that align with your interests and participate in campus activities. This not only grants you the opportunity to gain better insight into the field of your choice, but it also allows you to make friends and gain a strong bond with your peers.
  4. Partake in internships and have a part-time job. Staying active outside of school has been proven to increase your academic aptitude. Being busy will improve your time management skills, allow you to meet more people and provide you with a well-rounded experience.
  5. Find a balance between hard work and entertainment. Study hard and get to know your professors, but also remember to stay active and spend time with friends and family in your free time. Attend CAB movies, sporting events and Gallagher-Bluedorn performances because all these things are unique to your time at UNI.

If you are graduating, your future is an open book, waiting for its pages to be filled.

If you are still in school, take advantage of this opportunity. As often as you hear this, enjoy your time because it goes fast.

I knew coming to UNI would give me the opportunity to begin a new chapter in my life. What I didn't know was that my experience here would give me the tools to begin writing a whole new book.