Leah’s Junior Year Reflection

I love the practice of reflection: not only do I get to be proud of the coursework I’ve accomplished, but I also get to see where I have grown as an individual. I had a lot of amazing things happen my junior year, along with an ending that has increased my maturity and anxiety management skills.

My junior year was the beginning of my full time level 400 course load and added a minor. Besides the occasional GEP, all of my classes were super hard, upperclassmen courses that were really intimidating. I couldn’t hide behind a crowd of 100 faces, now I was one of 20. However, this meant that I got to create long-lasting friendships with my classmates, since we were all math majors after all! I also got much more one-on-one time with my professors, and projects and homework were much more collaborative with my peers as well. I also found that my professors were a lot more receptive to new ideas and more lenient on things like deadlines for homework.This brought a little bit of relief and breathing room to me, especially because I wasn’t learning easy things! Overall, I felt much more connected to my academic department and forged closer relationships with faculty members.

I began research this spring semester. I had wanted to get involved in research for a very long time, and luckily I have that chance now! Being part of the University Honors Program means I have a capstone requirement that can be fulfilled by 2 semesters of research, so this was the perfect way to get my foot in the door. Currently I’m working with Dr. Alun Lloyd, Director of the Biomathematics Graduate Program and his team to learn more about mosquitos and vector-borne diseases. While I still don’t like mosquitos, getting to learn about epidemiology and mathematical biology is so much fun! Not only will this look good for when I apply for graduate school (after a few years of industry work), I also am getting to see real-world applications of math. Now, when people ask “what can you do with an applied math degree” I can talk all about this!

I participated in an Alternative Spring Break. For my Spring Break I went to Hoonah, Alaska and learned about Hoonah Tlingit culture! Not only did I get to go to the West Coast for the first time, I got to meet some of the most welcoming and kind people I have ever known. My experience in the public schools, senior center, and community events were nothing short of transformative in terms of my opinions on education and Native American culture. I feel like I have taken so much from my ASB, and I cannot recommend this experience enough to everybody. If going to Alaska doesn’t sound interesting, they also have trips during Fall and Winter Break, and ASB travels lots of places from the mountains of North Carolina, to Rwanda! My roommates went on trips to Peru and Guatemala and all of us had such amazing times, there are projects out there for every student!

Some other things I did was attend my first professional development conference and I also got my class ring!

I wish nothing but the best to all graduating seniors and all Pack Families! NC State really does Think and Do the Extraordinary and I know that we will prosper and succeed.

I am so excited to see where my senior year takes me, but I am most definitely sad to know that I am finishing up my career at NC State shortly. While I know that NC State has helped me become the young woman I am today, I have so many fond memories here that it will be tough to say goodbye. And while I am saying goodbye to the PFS team, I have so greatly enjoyed my time working at Parents and Families Services and am grateful for everything that my team has taught me. 

Signing off, Go Pack!

Leah

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