The Next Chapter

I am officially done with my formal education.  It’s hard to believe I’ve spent the past 16 years behind a desk opening up my mind to be like a super absorbent sponge.  But that’s all over, for now…  (My advisor really wants me to go to graduate school, but I think I’d like to see the world from a different perspective first, maybe a different kind of desk to sit behind).

I have absolutely loved the time I spent at Skidmore College.  Almost all my professors are incredible teachers and have become good friends.  The benefits of a small liberal arts college are that it enabled me to have extremely close relationships with my professors and afforded me hours of extra discussions after class.

I was also fortunate enough to obtain interesting campus jobs.  I started my freshman year as an assistant to the ‘mac’ User Consultant, even though I had extremely limited knowledge of anything Apple at the time.  I learned a great deal in that year and purchased my faithful macBook as I grew to enjoy OSX.  After freshman year I moved over to the Academic Technologies division of Information Technology and built custom websites for select faculty and students, led workshops on Dreamweaver, and researched how blogs and wikis might play a role in the college classroom.

I kept working at this job until graduation, and I picked up a few others along the way.  It wasn’t enough to take a full 18 credit course-load, I couldn’t say no to job opportunities I was offered.  So I became an assistant in the Math & Computer Science Linux Lab, helping to create the first 3D rendering cluster to be used with Maya.  I also put the Linux Lab on the web with a custom Movable Type setup and created a poster campaign to increase awareness of the resources offered by the lab.

I enjoyed and excelled at the 3D Imaging and Digital Photography classes offered at Skidmore and eventually became a Teaching Assistant in the introductory classes.  I was paid for the extra hours I spent in the labs on weekends, and I was able to learn more about the quirks of 3D modeling and Photoshop while helping other students.  I have no idea why they paid me, but I’m grateful they did.

After all the great work experiences I had and the opportunities I was provided to learn new software programs, it turned out my bosses had some secret plot going.  They entered me into consideration for Student Employee of the Year for 2008-2009.  I didn’t hear a word about it until I had been selected to the final pool of 14 students from which one would be chosen.  We all attended a lunch together and as they went around talking about all the accomplishments of these other student employees, I began to think in my college-student mentality “well at least there was free food.”  But at the end I heard my name called, and there I was, Student Employee of the Year!  It was really exciting and rewarding to think that all these wonderful people around me appreciated my work so much.  It is a moment I will always treasure.

It’s a lot easier to write about my college experience now, looking back on it with no papers due or algorithms needing justification and logarithmic run-times expressed.  Honestly there were so many times when it felt overwhelming and as if I would never make it through.  Yet the faculty, staff, friends, and family around me were always available and always willing to help.  For that I will be forever grateful, and will always hold a special place in my heart for Skidmore College.

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