Soaking Up Your Summer Time

by: J.T. Henderson

J.T

One of the benefits to being in college is that you get longer summer breaks, and that means that you have more time for work, research, internships, travel, fun, etc. As I began to think about what I wanted to do with my summer, I initially wanted to do everything – study abroad, get a job, research – and I soon realized that I was being incredibly unrealistic and impractical. I dropped thoughts about summer plans for a little bit, but as summer began to quickly approach with only a few months to go, my thoughts kept drifting back to my summer plans. I decided that I didn’t want to study abroad , so I scrapped that idea. After that I decided that I wanted to live on campus and either work or research in Lexington, so I had to prepare myself for these possibilities by going to Transy’s fantastic Career Development office.

The staff in the Career Development office are so friendly and helpful, and that’s what I needed – a lot of help. I needed to be able to create an impressive résumé and cover letter if I wanted a chance at these summer opportunities. I worked with Michael Cronk, assistant director of the office, to build these essential documents to help me apply for positions that interested me. The first job I applied for was a Patient Care Tech position in UK’s Emergency Department, and thanks to Michael’s help, I was offered an interview for the position!

Before my interview date, I spoke with Susan Rayer, the networking queen and director of the office, about my interview. She assured me that I would do great, but if I didn’t get the job, that Transy had connections with other area hospitals that she would help me get in touch with. Susan also helped me to set up an interview prep session with Michael so that I would be completely prepared.

I also began looking into research programs to give me as many options as possible for my summer. You only get a few summers in your undergraduate career, so it’s important that you do what you want to do in the short time you have. Transy makes it a priority to help you get where you want to go and the Career Development office is just one way that the university does this but it is also one of the best. The staff is committed to setting you up for success during, and after, your time at Transy. I’m very confident that I will be able to choose one of the options I’m interested in and spend my summer doing what I want to do because of the assistance I’ve received from the Career Development office and the rest of the Transylvania community.

The College Circle of Life

J.T Henderson

As my first year is quickly drawing to an end, it has been very exciting to see potential new students on campus interviewing for scholarships. I remember going through that process last year when I was a potential new student, and I am so glad that a year later I now have the opportunity to see this from the other side. I don’t think it would be as significant if I hadn’t chosen Transy. Yeah there are students visiting and interviewing at college campuses around the world, but at Transy I have had the opportunity to be a part of interviewing some of these potential students for scholarships, to hang out with them during their time on campus, and to even host an overnight for his scholarship interview the next day. It has been awesome to play a role in continuing the cycle that started my successful career here at Transy – the College Circle of Life.

On the flip side of this cycle, seeing these new faces is also a little sad, because that means that a fourth of the people that are currently here will not be returning to campus this fall. Within the last few months I’ve heard seniors talking about the outcomes of their graduate school applications and filling out applications for jobs for which their education has greatly prepared them. These people who have been impacting the Transylvania community for the past four years and who I have been role models for other students and myself will be moving on to life after Transy. This isn’t completely saddening though, because not only are there new students who will be arriving to campus this August to begin their educational journeys, but also because these graduating seniors will soon be using their talents and knowledge to start impacting the world if they hadn’t already been doing so before.

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It is so reassuring to know that Transylvania is consistently producing high-achieving graduates whose education and undergraduate degree will actually be beneficial to them; in three years it will be beneficial to me as well. After the four years you spend at Transy, you know that there will always be a path to pioneer and that you’ll be the one who’s leading the way. The College Circle of Life will continue, so congrats to the Class of 2015 (especially our graduating bloggers Emily Martin and Rachel Morgan), and welcome to the Class of 2019!

Sampling What Lexington has to Offer

J.T Henderson

If you’re considering Transy for your college destination, of course you should take a campus tour and have session with one our awesome Admissions Counselors (you can find your counselor here), but you should also get some facts about the city of Lexington! Yes, you will be taking your classes, participating in extracurriculars, and most likely living on Transy’s campus, but it’s impossible to spend all of your four years at Transy in your room, so what’s going on around in the Lexington?Lexington Skyline

Transy is located only three blocks away from downtown Lexington, making it very possible to walk, bike, or use other forms of sustainable transportation to get around this inner part of the city. There are several options for volunteering, entertainment, social outings, and eating. There are opportunities to do all of those things on campus – and you will – but Transy is committed to engaging its students in the world and the first step is in the immediate community and culture.TrianglePark

One of the things that potential students or their families frequently ask about is the food. Transy has four dining options on campus plus the restaurants that Lexington has to offer. On campus we have the main, buffet-style dining hall (the Caf), the fast food Rafskeller (the Raf), the 1780 (the ’80), and Jazzman’s, which is our campus café. The variety of eating-places allows you to eat something different everyday if you want, but sometimes you just want to go off campus to eat with your friends.

There are several chain restaurants around the city, but to really appreciate the uniqueness, you should try the local restaurants. Recently, I’ve eaten at a few local restaurants just a few blocks away called Stella’s Kentucky Deli and Grey Goose, which were both great. Plus, Transy often buys food from local farmers and restaurants to serve at events like Mad Mushroom Pizza and North Limestone Coffee and Donuts, making it easy to become addicted but also more aware of what the surrounding community has to offer. Lexington has so many opportunities, not only for food and fun, but also for jobs, internships, etc. So make sure to check out all that Lexington has to offer here and how going to Transy can allow you to take advantage of all of them!

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Learning from The Best

J.T Henderson

I’m sure everyone has had a high school teacher tell them how much more difficult college professors would be than they were used to in high school. I know I had a teacher that was adamant about being stern toward us during our senior year because she wanted to simulate how professors are in college. Although there are college professors who fit this stereotype, the professors at Transy have a reputation of being extremely helpful and personal, so I want to share some examples of how a handful of the professors I have interacted with have broken down this stereotype.

Most recently, one of my Spanish professors was shopping for groceries and found some “English-Spanish educational cookies,” which she thought would be a nice gift to bring us for our Friday class. The cookies said things like “coffee” on one side and “el café” on the other with a picture of a coffee cup. The gesture was very kind and light-hearted. However, the cookies were completely tasteless and the professor felt bad about giving them to us, so the next time class met, she brought us chocolate covered espresso beans to make up for the bland cookies. She had no reason to bring us these snacks other than her immense kindness.

Educational Cookies

Educational cookies from professors! 

Transy professors also care about each of their students. Often professors will ask how you’re doing and take the time to connect what the students’ plans or involvement to what they’re discussing in class. They also really encourage students to come speak to them outside of class during their office hours, because they want to get to know you and they want to help you do what you want to do by whatever means possible; it doesn’t matter if it’s career related or campus related. In turn, the professors also want to make sure that students get to know their personal lives as well. One day after class was over, one of my professors began telling us how she adopted a kitten and how it’s the first pet she has had in a long time. She told us everything about her kitten and even how it got sick recently. By telling students about themselves, Transy professors eliminate the intimidation factor that students – especially first-year students – may feel.

Transy professors are focused on their students and love working with them everyday. Whether it’s being willing to participate in a pie-throwing event where they’re having pies thrown at them, or emailing you when you miss class or are sick to check up on you, the professors truly care about your success. They’re very willing to write recommendation letters and almost all of our professors have opportunities like research that they will ask students to help them with.

All professors will treat you like an adult and expect you to meet their expectations, but Transy professors will also treat you like a person and not just a number, which is just another reason why I chose to dedicate four years, prepare for my future, and make unforgettable memories here at Transy.

Sifting Through Your College Mail

I went home to have dinner with my family for my birthday one Friday night and after dinner I was going to meet some friends and celebrate with them. I had a little bit of downtime between dinner and seeing my friends, so I decided to do what most people to do in their free time: clean my room. What better way could I spend my birthday? Not the most enjoyable but definitely needed.

As I started cleaning my room I made my bed, picked up some dirty clothes, straightened up my desk, and it was when I got to my desk that I found all of the college mail – the acceptance letters, the scholarship offers, the financial aid packages – that I had kept from my senior year of high school (the majority of it from Transy). I even came across my other three college acceptance letters. It was very rewarding to remember the feelings of satisfaction that I had when I opened those letters, but it was also really interesting to think about how different my life would have been if I had enrolled at one of those universities instead of Transy. Thinking about this made me really appreciate the time I’ve had at Transy and the decision I made to attend – a decision that I realize has been one of my best. While my life would have probably been good at the other universities, my life at Transy has already been so great. So I decided that there wasn’t any need in keeping most of the things from the other schools, including those acceptance letters.

One of the things I didn’t throw away, however, was my acceptance letter to Transy, because that opportunity has greatly affected my life and will greatly impact my future.

When I finally finished cleaning my room, I was very happy, not because of my clean room or the fact that it was my birthday, but because I remembered the difficulty, the pressure, the anxiety, and the indecisiveness that can occur in the college selection process and that I had been able to navigate the process and arrive at my correct decision. So if your selection process is coming to an end, or even just beginning, remember to look over the mail that you have gotten and evaluate the how that mail might reflect a college’s commitment to your undergraduate education and experience (also don’t forget to take a deep breath!). I trust that you’ll eventually come to a decision that’s right for you, and hopefully that decision will lead you to Transy like it did me, but if you need any assistance from Transy, please feel free to contact the Admissions Office. Good luck!

Pioneering Your Future

J.T Henderson

 

 

Thinking about how you can get involved on campus as a student at Transylvania? Whatever your interests are, there are so many different opportunities!

We have 70+ student organizations including Greek life, intramural sports, and many other student organizations. There is something for everyone, but if you think there is something missing from the Transy community that students would like to be a part of, then you can start a new club or organization. Starting a new club may seem like a daunting task to take on, but it’s not too difficult with all of the support Transy has to offer.

As a freshman at Transy, I collaborated with a few of my friends, August Fox and Sarah Ashley, to found the Transy Habitat for Humanity Club. Our hope was to get students more involved in our Lexington community by working directly with Habitat for Humanity to help them accomplish their goals. We asked Dr. Kathleen Jagger, a Habitat for Humanity member of the board of Directors and Professor of Biology, to be our faculty sponsor, and after a little bit of paperwork, we were approved! Getting involved in an organization or forming your own can be a great way to improve your leadership skills too.

This year Transy started the Pioneer Leadership Certificate Program for students to learn about and make positive change through leadership during their time here. Dr. Shane McKee, Director of Student Involvement and Leadership, is leading the program to help students become better leaders as they progress through the various levels of certification. I’m a part of the pilot group and it has been a very rewarding experience to gain a deeper sense of my personal leadership skills and learn how I can more effectively apply those skills.

Last but not the least, when talking about pioneering your future, I simply have to include our up-and-coming program created by our new president, Dr. Seamus Carey; the 100 Doors to Success Program. This mentoring program hopes to provide current students with a network of mentors on and off campus to help students be successful after graduation, in whatever career they want to pursue. Although this program is still in its early stages of implementation, we can proudly say that we have a stronger than planned start to the program.

I have highlighted only a couple of reasons I think makes Transy a great choice for anyone, but there are so many other reasons why you should choose to be a Pioneer. One thing I can say for sure is that Transy will prepare you for your future and mold you into a future leader of our society.

A Presidential “First-Year” Experience

J.T Henderson

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with our first-year President, Dr. Seamus Carey, to talk about his “first-year” experience and get to know him a little better. Here’s how part of our conversation went:

Me: What has been your most memorable experience at Transy so far?

President Carey: I don’t know that there’s one specific experience, but I would say that what’s been most satisfying to me is the quality of our students. They’re incredibly bright, engaging, creative, and I genuinely enjoy being with them, so that’s been a really nice experience for me so far.

Me: Could you talk about your first big initiative The 100 Doors to Success Mentor Program?

President Carey: Well the idea came from talking with alumni that I had met early on, and I realized how committed and engaged they were to the school. This told me that the education they got at Transylvania was a good one, and also many of them live right here in Lexington, so I thought what an opportunity it would be to get them together with our students to help students navigate towards an understanding of professional life. It frees students up to focus on their studies and focus on subjects that might be of interest to them but might not necessarily lead directly to a career.

Me: You have held numerous leadership positions throughout your academic career. What prompted you to take your first leadership experience and what was it like?

President Carey: I wasn’t really thinking about it quite honestly. I was at Manhattan College and the Dean came and asked me if I would consider chairing the philosophy department, so I did that for a while. Then after a few years colleagues asked me to apply for the dean’s job. I had no idea that that was something I wanted to do at the time, but people I respected asked me and so I started to think about it. I decided not to take the dean’s job when it was offered because I wanted to achieve the rank of full professor before I would think about it again. I did that and the opening at Sacred Heart came along, so I said I’d give it a shot. I don’t think there’s a big divide between being a college professor and being college administrator. The basic mission is the same. I see myself as a teacher and as a philosopher first. Those roles inform the way I approach administration.

Me: Did you have a professor, teacher, or other role model who encouraged you to get where you are today?

President Carey: I took my first philosophy class with Michael McCarthy at Vassar College as either a sophomore or junior. Then I took another one because he was such outstanding teacher and he was an incredible person. I got into teaching and philosophy was because I wanted to live like him. He was an incredibly inspiring person and so full of life. Transylvania University will meet him in the fall when he speaks at the inauguration.

Me: In a previous interview with the Rambler, you mentioned that you believe the liberal arts are more relevant now than ever. Could you elaborate on that?

President Carey: I think we need to be really cognizant of the needs of families and students to have an affordable education that prepares them in ways that they can go on and have success in their careers. That’s essential. But if you look around at society and the world at large, you don’t have to pay too close attention to see that we really do need educated people. We need people who understand that there are higher goods that come with deeper understanding of the human condition. If we don’t have an educated population, we’re always going to be stuck with people who are concerned only with the lower dimensions of the self. We all have them, we all need help in rising above them and education is the key to breaking cycles of destructive behavior.

Me: If you were a high school student applying to Transy, what would be the biggest influence on your decision?

President Carey: I would want to know quality of the education: “Are the faculty accessible to me?”, “What are the outcomes for graduates?” or in other words “Does this education actually work?”, and also “What would my life be like at Transylvania?” I would also want to consider the cost.

Me: You were a first-generation college graduate. Could you describe your experience? Did you have any struggles, and if so, how did you face them?

President Carey: I went to college with a very pragmatic point of view. Both of my parents were Irish immigrants so they didn’t have very much formal education at all, and so my goal in going to college was to get a better job. I was lucky that I got to go to a very good school, but I was completely out of place. The only thing that saved me was that I played basketball, so I had a built-in group of friends. Other than that I often felt insecure. I felt like everyone on the campus was smarter than me. It was often quite lonely and not always enjoyable except for the educational part. That part changed my life. I was in love with learning for the first time. Philosophy became something that I wanted to pursue, but the social aspect was tough. Being a basketball player, loving the education, having some faculty members that I became close with, and having a core group of friends made it possible to persevere.

Me: As an undergraduate, how did you choose your major? You graduated with a B.A. in Economics, so how did you become interested in Philosophy?

President Carey: To be honest, I didn’t know any better. I thought I would go to Wall Street, so economics was the best way to do that. It turns out I really enjoyed studying economics and loved working on my Senior Thesis, but along the way I became deeply interested in philosophy and that changed me. Even when I was graduating college, I still had a lot of self-doubt and never for a second imagined that I could be a professor of philosophy, but there was something inside me that pushed me to study this. I went to Ireland for a year to make up the undergraduate credits I didn’t have, so that I could think about going to graduate school. But when I came back, I still wasn’t convinced that I had the ability to be a professor, so I thought about going to Law school. I taught high school for a couple years, but philosophy kept calling me back. To this day when I read philosophy texts, it puts me in a different state of being; it just resonates with me.

Me: Do you have a favorite book and/or author?

President Carey: My favorite work of philosophy is “The Ethics” by Baruch Spinoza, but I also have a favorite contemporary philosopher, who has written a trilogy of books, and his name is David Michael Kleinberg-Levin.

Me: Do you have a favorite quote?

President Carey: I don’t carry a lot of quotes around in my head, but Socrates says in The Apology that, “[The person who is worth anything] has only one thing to consider in performing any action–that is, whether he is acting rightly or wrongly, like a good man or a bad one.” Socrates challenges the reader to consider that and that’s pretty important to answer for ourselves.

Me: If you could describe Transy in three words, how would you describe it?

President Carey: Community-driven inquiry. I think the faculty really does an outstanding job at maintaining a high level of inquiry and challenging students to achieve. The idea that communal inquiry drives us further and further towards achievement and a deeper understanding of things, I think, describes Transy well.

In conclusion, it was very enlightening to discuss the future of Transy with the person leading these positive initiatives to ensure that students are truly benefiting from the best Transylvania experience the university can offer. I look forward to President Carey’s inauguration this fall.