Words of the Wise

Develop a healthy skepticism for “experts” and “expertise.”

I was frequently advised by people outside Denison not to pursue a particular major or an interest because neither charted a clear path to a lucrative career. It is the Denison student who finds opportunity in what may seem the least likely place, having learned across disciplines and engaged many, many ideas. And in time, you will prove the defeatists wrong.

— Mark Heckmann ’11, sociology/anthropology and communication double major from Pittsburgh, Pa.

Develop your leadership skills.

Having the ability to bring about positive change for the betterment of our schools, neighborhoods, and our peers will ensure that we are working toward the betterment of society. Charge yourself to participate in at least one leadership program a semester. When you graduate from Denison, you will have the ability and dedication to work collaboratively with others to influence and encourage positive change in any path you choose.

— Shavely Peralta ’11, communication and Spanish double major from Methuen, Mass.

Remember that your professors are people, too, and interesting and giving ones at that.

Go to their office hours. Find out what they are interested in and let them get to know you—office hours aren’t reserved for “bad” students or students who are struggling. When I visited Denison as a prospective student, I couldn’t quite believe my tour guide when he told me that Denison professors sometimes invite students over for dinner or spend time with students outside class, but it’s true.

— Allison Kranek ’11, English major from Akron, Ohio

Do what you love and do it well.

Too many college students spend too much time worrying about what they think they should be doing instead of following their hearts. The best thing a college student can do is to explore different opportunities.

— Katie Navarre ’11, English major from Upper Arlington, Ohio

Be intentional.

That does not mean have everything planned out, but have a purpose and a reason for everything you do. Take time to think about what you want from your experience and then make decisions that fit with your goals.

— Sibylle Freiermuth ’11, biology and international studies double major from Zurich, Switzerland

Fill in gaps in your understanding that you didn’t even know were there.

Develop thought-provoking answers to questions you hadn’t even thought to ask. In college, if you are only encountering answers to questions that you already know how to ask, start taking different classes, start involving yourself in different things, start hanging out with new people, or start paying better attention.

— Zack Goldman ’11, mathematics major from Blue Ash, Ohio

Published July 2011