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College Advice from Alumni Badgers

Hello, fellow Badgers, this one’s for you! With all the student organizations we can join, all the classes from which we can choose, and everything else that comes along with college, it can be hard to know what to do first and in what direction to head. With this on my mind, I asked for some advice from recent University of Wisconsin–Madison grads on how to make the most of the college experience.

Lauren Swance, operations manager at the Wisconsin Union, graduated in 2014, with a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies. While she was a student, she also worked as a Union building manager. Fast forward four years, and Lauren is now a full-time Union team member and a part-time graduate student in the masters of human ecology program here at UW. She currently supervises student building managers as well as oversees the daily operations of Memorial Union, Union South and the Red Gym.

Without further ado, here is Lauren’s advice for current Badgers:

  • “Whatever it is that you are doing, make sure to build relationships and network, because you never know where you will go—or in my case, return!”
  • “Step outside of your comfort zone, and make the most out of your years here. College is over in the blink of an eye, and you don’t want to miss it. There are wonderful opportunities to get involved with groups like Hoofers, or develop passions through the Wisconsin Union Directorate. Try them, and see what sticks. Just ‘carpe diem’, because college goes by so quickly.”
  • “Study abroad, and take the time you have now to get the most out of that international experience, because, one day, you will regret it, if you don’t.”

Next, we have Ellie Herman, a graduate from the class of 2018. Ellie worked for two years at the Union as a communications associate, writing stories and sharing all the excitement the Union has to offer with readers like you!

Since graduating in May, Ellie has taken on freelance work, using her Union experiences to kick-start her search for the perfect next step.Ellie Herman

Check out Ellie’s tips on surviving college and experiencing all that college has to offer.

  • “Find your own study space or time to reflect in Memorial Union or Union South that you can call your own – there’s a place for everyone at the Union.”
  • “Don’t be too intimidated to join a student organization or explore the Wisconsin Union Directorate – everyone is welcoming. Don’t miss out on some of the greatest people you’ll ever meet!”
  • “The things you learn from internships and jobs will follow you after college and push you to become more confident in the workplace, so take advantage of all opportunities! My time at the Union taught me when to be assertive, articulate my thoughts and how to work collaboratively. Learning those skills was essential.”

Lastly, as a junior with a couple years of university time behind me, I offer you this simple and arguably the best piece of Union advice there is: When in doubt, always get the extra scoop of Babcock Ice Cream. You can purchase your scoops of local ice cream goodness at the Daily Scoop in Memorial Union and the Daily Scoop in Union South.

Have a great year, Badgers!

If you would like to learn more about the Wisconsin Union Directorate student leadership opportunities that Ellie and Lauren mentioned, you are welcome to visit union.wisc.edu/get-involved. For all other ways the Union can help you make the most of your college experience, please visit union.wisc.edu.

Author: Jade Anthony

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