Student Profile

Julia Wagner '18

What sparked your interest in Saint Michael’s and made you want to attend?

My mom works here, so I basically grew up on campus.  Ever since I was little I’d be playing around on campus, students baby sat me, so it was something that was always there. I always loved the community and I knew the professors, and it felt like it was a good fit for me from the start.

What kinds of activities and experiences have you been able to have here that you feel have been particularly influential to your personal growth?

I joined Fire and Rescue and just recently got certified as an EMT, so that’s totally impacted my life. It’s an awesome group, a great community to fall back on, and the experiences I’ve had are unique and very interesting. During the school year we have a minimum of 24 hours a week that we have to be on and we get scheduled automatically. We usually have one overnight, which is a 12 hour shift, and we work around classes, so you might have a 6 hour shift or a three hour shift. During the summer it’s a 30 hour a week requirement.

How have you been challenged?

Academically, it’s really a transition in how you need to study and how you need to work. I don’t necessarily think that the work is super difficult; it’s just the way of going about it, because you’re definitely your own manager. You have to manage your time as best you can, and organize yourself and make sure things get done.

What are you passionate about? How have you been able to explore that passion at Saint Michael’s?

I’ve always been very passionate about being a leader and being involved in a lot of things. I like to have a variety of experiences. I did a lot of clubs in high school, and by joining Fire and Rescue and doing summer research it’s been possible to try every facet of college, whether it be community service or more academic things. I like taking more of a leadership role. I’m the clerk at Fire and Rescue also, so I’ve started to develop more leadership roles.

Who has been the most influential to your college experience, and how?

I’m interested in languages, so I’m hoping to minor in French. My professor for the spring semester, Laurence Clerfeuille, was really nice. I felt overwhelmed during the fall semester with French, and she was great; I could talk to her about what I wanted to do with French, and she helped push me to pursue that and feel like I could actually go somewhere with it.

Why did you want to do summer research at Saint Michael’s, and what are you researching?

I wanted a new challenge. I’m considering graduate school, and I know doing research is a big part of that. Being able to have that leg up, to say that by my sophomore year I already had research done and a publication is really good. It was also more of a personal pursuit. My focus is on Peggy Citarella, whose husband worked at the college and I worked for her, doing certain tasks around her house. She started telling me all these interesting stories about her life, and I thought it was so amazing. When her husband passed away this January, Professor George Dameron came to me and said it’d be great if we could capture her story, because we missed our chance with her husband. It was in passing, but I thought it was a good idea. I went to him to see what options were available for me to make this into a project and have her story here at the college. I applied for the VPAA Grant, even though I was a freshman and it’s a grant for sophomores and juniors, but I got it. It’s a great experience to figure out how to do research in that way. I’m more on my own, and it’s more of a challenge to figure out how to do things by myself, but it’s also a lot of fun to capture her story.

I really enjoy doing the research. It’s intimidating, because I’m on my own and there’s an expectation to produce something that’s good and can be published. But I think that it’s important to keep in mind all the options that are available here. College is a wonderful chance to go study abroad in France, take a class you would never have dreamed of before, or do research and find out all these different things; to develop yourself as a person. I think that’s what college can do, when you put your mind to it and try to look for all the options that are out there.

What advice would you give to future students?

Plan ahead. You may not know exactly what your major is or exactly which classes you want to take, but come in with a sense of how you want to manage your time and have a list of classes you need to take. Get the Liberal Studies requirements and your major requirements out of the way, so when you get to the end you don’t run out of credits. Also be prepared for the work that’s ahead; there isn’t quite as much support as there is in high school. You’re definitely on your own a bit more, so just be prepared for time management and the type of work that needs to be done.

What do you feel is the value of a Saint Michael’s education?

The first thing that jumps into my mind is the fact that it’s a liberal arts education. It’s great that you can have a variety of subjects to pursue. It’s great if you’re a biology major and you love that, and that’s what you want to do, but at the same time you might discover something in history or in art. Our lives don’t have to be defined by just one thing, we can have other interests and learn new things, and by doing so we become more well-rounded people. When we go into the world and become leaders and workers, we can have a better sense of how things work and how we can interact with others, just by knowing as much as we can.

What is the mark that you want to make on the world?

Definitely a positive one. I want to do everything I can to help others and become a knowledgeable person so that when I travel, or if I’m put into a leadership position, I’ll be able to do that well and understand the world as best I can. Hopefully I can make a positive impact. It’d be nice to do some kind of change for good or make some kind of innovation, but also knowing that I’m able to help others is important.

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