Karen Medina is participating in our #sjutakeover on March 26th, 2017. She and other students will be taking over the SJU Admissions office to answer prospective students’ questions about their major and involvements at SJU!
Spring is right around the corner, and as the flowers start to bloom and the weather starts to get warmer, graduation gets closer. With that in mind, it is hard to believe that my four years at Saint Joe’s are almost over, but at the same time, I am really excited to see what the world has prepared for me. Trekking through my last months of senior year, I can’t help but think of all the things I have done and learned since my freshman year.
Being from another country, and never seeing Saint Joe’s or Philly before move-in day, I had no idea what to expect. There were only two things that I knew for sure:
1) I was going to be an Environmental Science major, and 2) I was planning on being a French minor; but little did I know of all the other wonderful opportunities, adventures, and memories that would come with being part of this community. In a nutshell, freshman year was amazing. McShain was the best dorm for me, and I made amazing friends who took me to their houses for long breaks and showed me around their hometowns. My favorite memory of freshman year is, hands down, Thanksgiving break. In El Salvador, where I grew up, we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, so this was the first time I experienced it. Never in my life have I seen so much food on one table (or gained so much weight in one weekend from eating so much pie – totally worth it, though).
My transition from one country and culture to another was smooth, and I must say this was due to the great support system that Saint Joe’s has and the welcoming community, professors, and faculty who cared about my and my classmates’ well-being. Sophomore year was just as great. My roommate and I lived in a (huge!) apartment and had our own kitchen where we were able to explore our “culinary talents.” She taught me Italian cuisine, I taught her some Latin American recipes, and we both learned that while cleaning a kitchen is not easy, it sure can be fun when listening to the right songs! I became a connoisseur of coffee and fair-trade with my fair-trade class that took us to Nicaragua, where we had the chance to learn more about coffee plantations, the production of coffee, and everything that happens before it gets to our table.
And then junior year came along, the year I got to explore my major more, and the year I discovered how much I enjoyed studying philosophy. It was also the year when I got to study abroad in Denmark, and ride my bike along the canals of Copenhagen! It was an enriching experience that taught me some Danish words and allowed me to meet some wonderful people from all over the world. One of my favorite experiences was climbing up a windmill with my Renewable Energy class – the view from the top was mind-blowing, and not just because it was windy! While at Saint Joe’s and Denmark, I got to learn more about environmental sustainability and what it means to be sustainable, which became the main topic for my Senior Capstone. My classes from Saint Joseph’s tied so well with my classes from Denmark that it felt as if I never left campus!
And last but not least, senior year. It may be the fact that I don’t want to leave Saint Joe’s but this year has been beyond fantastic so far. I’ve had opportunities I would have never even imagined. I’ve been able to further my studies in French, Philosophy, and of course, Environmental Science. So far this year, I’ve been able to attend different environmental conferences throughout the US about sustainability, renewable energy, and in April of this year, I will be able to attend my first international conference, on biodiversity and conservation, in Dubai. I would say this is a great way to end my student career here, but I must admit that I would not have been able to do all of this if it were not for everyone who supports me and keeps pushing me to accomplish more. So to all my professors, the McNulty Program, my mentor, Dr. Smolen, my Admissions co-workers, friends, and family, I thank you all for these four unforgettable years here at Saint Joseph’s.
Don’t forget to watch out for Karen and many other Hawks on our social media, website, and your home phone on March 26th! #sjutakeover