By Justine Oppelt
It’s hard to think that I only have three more years left in this school. I only have three more years left until I’m officially out in the “real world.” Although, I think I’m already out in the “real world” because I pay bills. Who knew that bills would determine everything you do in life as a college student! Anyway, back to the main point: It’s been a year.
I started this year at a new place, in a new city, and I knew no one. I didn’t know much. The only thing I knew for certain was that I was going to be a student in the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and was oh so excited.
Orientation day rolled around and I was pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t the only philanthropic studies major there. During those two days, I saw just how hospitable the school really was. From the great philanthropy friends I made, to our caring advisor Pamela Clark, I could really start to see a home within the school.
Fast forward to the first day of college. I had two philanthropy classes that day and I immediately fell in love with the program. I never really had a class in high school that I was interested in or passionate about so talking about philanthropy for six hours was the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Throughout my first year as an undergraduate in the B.A. program I learned a lot, about myself and the program. The first thing I learned is that college is way more expensive than it seems. Those hidden fees really start to add up. Yes, it is expensive but I know that this degree will speak volumes when I graduate. I still can’t believe that I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to learn from experts and to obtain a degree from the world’s first school of philanthropy.
Secondly, I learned that everyone here in the school truly cares about me, from the students to the professors to the faculty and staff. I’ve never met a more open, friendly, and astonishing group of individuals that are always eager to ask me, “how’s Justine doing?”
I’ve met my closest friends through the program. Every student that I’ve met and have the pleasure to call my friend is amazing in his or her own way. Each and every one of my friends will achieve great things in their life and I’m happy to be a small part of their journey. They’re each so different in every way possible; not one person shares the same exact passion. One’s passionate about healthcare, another about children.
However, there’s one universal thing that ties us together: philanthropy. Yes, we’re all obtaining the same degree but we all have different passions and interests and so we’ll use the degree in different ways. That’s the greatest thing about philanthropic studies in my opinion. One of my friends wants to work oversees in an NGO, another in a local foundation. There’s an endless amount of possibility. I’m proud to call myself a part of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
Lastly, I learned that the philanthropy classes I’m taking truly translate into the workforce. Most of the time in college, a degree is just a piece of paper that allows you to work in a certain field. However, here you can tailor your degree to your interests and still graduate on time. If a student knows he or she is interested in fundraising, then he or she can take specific classes that count towards the major. It will teach students the skills that they’d need to be successful in fundraising.
Likewise, if a student is interested in working for a religious organization, they can take classes geared towards their interests. This really goes for any interest you might have. You can truly make your passion your profession here.
This has been a year of firsts for me. My first time in college. My first time living away from my parents for an extended period of time. It’s been great. The first time I’ve worked not only one but two jobs (I like to stay busy). The first time I’ve lived with roommates and annoying neighbors (in a dorm) that blast music at midnight on Sundays (not cool). The first time I had the choice of eating ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner without any parental judgment. The first time walking everywhere, and I mean everywhere because I don’t have a car on campus. The first time getting a credit card; it’s scary.
I never know when to pay the bill, so I pay it every time I make a purchase. However, despite all the changes and chaos, the constant support of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy has helped me through it. I have found my home here and wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in the world.
It’s been a year of happiness and joy, a year of hardships and lessons, and a year of fulfillment.
It’s been a year.