You’ve probably seen the publicity; maybe you’ve even glanced through the schedule. Beloit College is holding the first ever “Advising Practicum” on Wednesday, November 2. I’m writing to tell you why you should care. My main answer to that question is that whether or not you care now, you will care. Promise.
The Advising Practicum is a day of workshops and discussions designed to provide you with the resources you need to create the educational experience you want, and to communicate the value of that experience to others—employers, funding sources, graduate or professional programs, your parents. We say at Beloit that we want you to own your education, to thoughtfully and actively invest yourself in the choices you make while you’re here, in light of the life you aspire to live. The Practicum is your toolbox for educational ownership, for forging a connection between the person you are on November 2, 2011 and your future self.
Maybe this semester it just feels like a day without classes. But don’t deceive yourself: when you look back at your education a few years hence, this might be the day that you realized how important finding the right summer internship would be to achieving your entrepreneurial aspirations, or the day you changed your mind (and your life) by deciding to study abroad after all, or the day you first articulated how the major that other people told you was impractical has actually helped you to develop an amazing set of skills and perspectives that serve a broad range of career paths.
I’m not just making this up. I’ve talked with your future self—or, well, sort of. I’ve talked to numerous young alumni about the Advising Practicum, about what we’re offering to current students and why we think it’s so important. And to a person, they have responded, with great enthusiasm and wistfulness, “Oh! I wish we could have done that.” They know what your future self knows. They know there will come a day when you realize how important it was to have figured out how to network when you were still a sophomore (or junior, or senior). They know how glad you will be that you chose your major (and the life you aspire to live) based on what you are passionately interested in. They know that you’ll look back with gratitude on the words of a deeply inspiring senior you heard speak when you were just a first-year, exploring everything and feeling overwhelmed. So take some advice from your future self: Be prepared. Be inspired. Be advised. Be there. November 2.
— Natalie Gummer, Associate Professor of Religious Studies