Welcome to the LSA Dean's Young Alumni Council Tumblr. It's a space for students and alumni to share personal stories, news, and anything/everything Michigan related. All members of the LSA community are invited to submit content.

Tom Brady—he’s just like us. #LSA #michiganalumni #recentgrad #goblue
(Photo courtesy of Mr. Thomas E. Brady, Jr. h/t @mlivedetroit)
Tom Brady—he’s just like us. #LSA #michiganalumni #recentgrad #goblue
(Photo courtesy of Mr. Thomas E. Brady, Jr. h/t @mlivedetroit)

Tom Brady—he’s just like us. #LSA #michiganalumni #recentgrad #goblue

(Photo courtesy of Mr. Thomas E. Brady, Jr. h/t @mlivedetroit)

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A Guide to a Happier Life

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By Monica Philipp (BA 2014 Psychology) 

During my junior year I had the honor of taking Chris Peterson’s last iteration of his Positive Psychology course. As a psychology major, I was told countless times that I needed to enroll in the course, so I felt very lucky to get into it.  It was clear from day one why he was the recipient of the Golden Apple award; he cared about all of the individuals sitting in front of him. He had a lecture hall with more than two hundred students, but he lectured as if it was a one-on-one conversation over coffee. He warned us that his class would challenge the way previous classes taught us to think about psychology.

Unlike other classes, we were not trying to diagnose a problem; instead we were discovering how to push individuals and organizations from surviving toward thriving. The discipline recognizes that many horrible things happen in the world, and individuals need to build resilience in those situations and reach for even further greatness. This became all too evident one day in early October when we found out that Dr. Peterson tragically passed away. It was at this moment that our class was charged with the mission to take the research Dr. Peterson spent his life studying and teaching and apply it to a situation that drastically affected us all.

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Ready for Anything

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By: Nicole Wójcik (BA 2008, AAPTIS and Linguistics)

I’ve worn many hats since graduating from the University in April of 2008. I’ve worked for numerous organizations in often surprising parts of the world, doing meaningful work and menial tasks alike. One can paint broad strokes to connect my work experience - among them education and development and public service - but I’ll be the first to admit that I rarely use my degree in its true form. I am not a linguist. I do not work in the Middle East, or with Middle Eastern populations. What I do is, in fact, what my Bachelor of Arts best prepared me for: working in the real world, with real people.

While I currently use my linguistics background as a high school Language Arts teacher in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, my attempts to discuss semantics and syntactic structures with teenagers often fall flat. Miss, when do Romeo and Juliet finally kiss? Was Juliet hot? Little do my students know that memories of those late-night study group meetings are what keeps them motivated. Having studied a variety of topics with a variety of students, I have a veritable grab bag of learning techniques at my disposal.

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The Michigan Experience

By: Jennifer Wei (BA 2013 Social Informatics and Women’s Studies)

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There was something about my Michigan experience that I couldn’t quite squeeze into one word. 

It was engaging, eye opening, intellectually stimulating and also incredibly life changing. I remember…spending Sunday afternoons at Espresso Royale analyzing works by Sophocles with a coffee (or two) in hand. Discussing Russian literature with world-renowned professors in their fields. Seeing Ben Folds perform at Hill Auditorium. Being a part of football Saturdays. Waiting for tickets at four in the morning to hear Obama speak at graduation. Lounging with friends on Charley’s patio in beautiful, majestic Ann Arbor summer weather. And of course, canoeing down the Huron River in July. These are just a snippet of the experiences that have shaped and defined my time here. 

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Fareed Zakaria on the Liberal Arts

In a commencement speech to the graduates of Sarah Lawrence College, Fareed Zakaria talked at length about his firm belief in the great value of a liberal arts education. I loved this quote from his address:

"A degree in art history or anthropology often requires the serious study of several languages and cultures, an ability to work in foreign countries, an eye for aesthetics, and a commitment to hard work—all of which might be useful in any number of professions in today’s globalized age."

Throughout the talk, he excels in talking about the benefits of a liberal arts education without putting down other majors or fields of study. I recommend you check out his complete remarks and watch the video!

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Just try it

By: Kate Burkhart (BA 2006 Economics)

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I would like to say that being an undergrad in LSA “taught” me to try new things, but the truth is that LSA made me try new things. Every college student enters as a freshman and is bombarded with advice to sign up for unusual classes, join offbeat student groups, and meet new and diverse people. LSA students, however, are literally forced to do so.

During my first semester freshman year, I got the lucky draw to be one of the last students to register for classes. We all know the feeling of excitement of having painstakingly picked out all of your classes, finding the perfect schedule (no Friday classes, naturally), and thoroughly researching every professor on ratemyprofessor.com, only to find that every one of those classes is full and has a waitlist in the mid-20s. My dream of a beautifully efficient and balanced course load disappeared as soon as my “backpack” opened. My new schedule had oddball breaks, no discernable lunch time, and of course, that wonderful timing that does NOT allow you enough time to get home to eat between classes or to get any meaningful work done, but does allow you enough time to contemplate how much you could be eating or working, if only you had another 30 minutes.

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