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Summer plans can contribute to future

Nov. 30, 2004

By KRISTIN KAN, external vice president

The halfway point -- the end of the fall semester -- is a nostalgic experience as I come to grips with the reality that I will graduate in six months. The winter holiday break typically serves as a time for reflection and reevaluation of priorities; for my friends and me, we take a careful look at the paths we are choosing. Unlike past Christmas breaks, this time I'm not only preparing for what I plan to do in the coming summer but for my life beyond being a Baylor student. There is a delicate balance between valuing the time we have now and searching the horizon for how best to prepare for what is to come. But as I brace for graduation, I hope to leave a few suggestions to underclassmen.

Although summer may be the last thing on your mind amidst the finals cramming and project researching, use this holiday to start seriously thinking about summer plans. Those few months can be great opportunities to do something meaningful. Learning doesn't end in the classroom. Studying abroad, interning at the Capitol, or shadowing a physician -- all are wonderful chances to help you discover your passions and interests. My undergraduate summers have been pivotal in shaping my decisions for a career and in enriching my learning experience. For example, the Kaiser Foundation offers a Barbara Jordan Health Policy program for minority students, and if you are studying Spanish, consider going to Argentina for a six-week Spanish intensive program. A major concern is often financial aid to pursue these aspirations. Scholarships are scattered not only throughout this campus but also online. The winter holidays are crucial because if you are committed to pursuing your plans you can start saving.

Numerous resources are at our fingertips at Baylor, and it would be a shame if students did not realize them fully. Our summers can be seen as a time for dream searching. Be challenged and put out of your comfort zone and realize that you will become stronger and perhaps wiser because of it. Again, I offer my help to any one who seeks it, but besides those visions of sugar plum fairies, start dreaming of the wonderful ways you can serve, learn and grow.