The interview exercise

College can be challenging, as students found out when they were assigned to interview a classmate and write a short piece. Here are the results.


College students face many challenges, and resilience is a determining factor in a student’s success: the resilience to get up when you fail and to stay true to yourself is an important factor to success.

Dustin Hassett, 24, is a senior attending the University of St.Thomas because he “didn’t want to become complacent and [wanted to] learn more.” His “thirst for knowledge,” as he described it, drove him to continue his education after not graduating from high school on time.

Many students say their life experiences shape their values and who they become. “Life experiences, people whom I associate with, family, my faith” are factors that Dustin said shaped his personal goals and values. When forced to cope with failure, Dustin said his strategy is simple: “rationalize.”

A friend’s death by overdose affected Dustin’s outlook on life. Dustin decided to “get out of [the] partying scene and focus” on what was truly important to him.

To have goals shaped by values can help a student achieve. But without determination, our goals are harder to attain. Dustin is an example of resilience leading to a successful future.

By Courtney Maas

Students today face many challenges. Juggling a demanding school load, work, all while trying to maintain a personal life can be exhausting. It is important to remain resilient like Lexy Wolf, a 21-year-old senior at the University of St. Thomas. Wolf, from North Dakota, majors in communication studies and is involved in several on-campus activities. She is president of the dance club, co-chair of the Student Alumni Council, vice president of the French club and a member of TommieMedia, the school’s student-operated online news organization. She also works three jobs, including a marketing internship with Northwestern Mutual. These jobs take up 30 hours a week.

“I like to be busy,” Wolf said. “It really makes you good at time management.”

All of her jobs pay well, and her internship is related to her chosen career. She hopes it will tlead to a full-time job as a marketing director.

Being resilient has helped Wolf be a successful student at St. Thomas. She knows that all of her hard work will pay off in the end.

By Candice Guertin

College is tough, with loads of work, boring rituals and schedules that never seem to cease. Nathan Spencer is a young, bright student, but beneath his cheery smile is an overworked and exhausted person.

“Monday I try to go to bed anywhere from 12-2, get up at about 8 a.m,, do last minute homework til my 10:55 Theo class, eat lunch, go to my 2:55 mass media structure and power class, and then my 5:30 magazine writing class,” he said.

Tuesday and Wednesday consist of table-top gaming club, work for Tommie Media, a student news organization, and a Skype session with his girlfriend in Florida. Tuesday and Wednesdays were the more relaxed days of the week for Nathan, but when he came to Thursday, he sat back in his chair a bit before giving a lowdown on his busiest day of all.

“Thursday,” he said with a smirk. “Thursdays are long, a 10-1 shift in the Tommie Media Studio, lunch, Tommie Media office again at 3, I get back to my dorm at about 7, then go to Japanese club, back to dorm to do homework, and then sleep.”

The words “and then” stuck out like thorns. The activities were strung out back to back and place to place. Through the course of a 12 hour day, Nathan was all over the place.


From small town to big city, St. Thomas junior Samantha Dooner lives by working to achieve her goals. Choosing the University of St. Thomas was an easy choice because it had the same personal approach to learning as her high school, yet it was located in the Twin Cities. She yearned for a change in scenery form the usual farm life she previously experienced.

Coming into the University of St. Thomas as a communications and journalism major, and business minor, she thought she had everything figured out. But she quickly faced failure. Samantha realized that business classes were not her strong point and had to withdraw from a class and switch her minor. During this process she discovered a blooming interest in the justice and peace field.

Sam is happy with the life decisions she has made, and she considers herself successful because she has achieved personal goals and happiness. Samantha is driven and opinionated, with a nervous yet positive outlook for her future.


Laura Rothstein, a senior at the University of St. Thomas, is no stranger to the challenges facing today’s students.

“Balancing school and my social life was the most difficult part of my college experience,” Rothstein said. Her strategy was to “work hard during the week and always use your weekend to get a little bit ahead.”

Switching between projects while studying helps.

“I can’t sit and focus on the same thing for seven hours,” she said. “It helps to change it up every once in a while.”

She prefers the quiet of the library for studying.

Rothstein has enjoyed classes at St. Thomas as a communication and journalism major, but she found her Multimedia Reporting class to be the toughest she has taken. The news style of reporting was not for her, and she got through the course by talking with the professor.

After college Laura will pursue a career in magazine writing. This past summer she was an intern at the newspaper in her hometown of Grand Rapids, Minn., where she wrote a food column. She intends to work in the field after she graduates.


Many seminars and classes offer advice to new college students. These classes have various goals, such as preparing students for the increase in coursework, working on time-management skills, or helping them with financial issues. One topic that is not often discussed is the social aspect of college.

The average week of a full-time college student consists of attending classes, doing homework, taking part in extra-curricular activities and going to school related events. Weekends are a break from school, but Saturday and Sunday don't leave much time for hanging out with friends.

Candice Guertin, a senior at University of St. Thomas, understands the challenge of making time for friends within a hectic school schedule. Guertin used to work on weekends and participated in internships and clubs. It's hard to balance,especially because the job market is so competitive.Guertin attributes her current activities to resume building. She keeps school at the top of her priorities, but recently she quit her job. It's worth being in debt if you can enjoy the college experience a bit more, she said.

Learning and networking are two important aspects of attending college, but it is just as important to work hard at maintaining friendships.


When Kelsey Stehlik received her first “D” on a test in a college accounting course, she learned to accept failure and learned what she needed to succeed: hard work. She used this knowledge when she found herself in even more challenging situations. She never imagined she would beat out hundreds of other applicants for an internship in the public relations department at the Mall of America.

“I applied for the internship in January of 2009, and four interviews, six months and frequent follow-ups later, I had assumed someone else had been chosen,” she said. “But then I was offered the position the second week of June; I didn’t think she was serious.”

Stehlik will never forget how hard she worked to land the job, just as she had worked hard to overcome the “D” grade she received on her first accounting test.

By Kelsey Stehlik

High school is routine: Wake up, get ready, go to class, go to practice, come home, eat dinner, sleep and repeat. Insert College.

After graduation, college seems like a dream. Freedom and individualism lurk around the corner anticipating your arrival. Excited and nervous, you discover it’s not going to be as easy as you thought.

College requires devotion, time, organization and intellect. It requires studying, working, volunteering, practicing and still trying to make time for socializing.

Holly Gullickson, a junior at the University of St. Thomas, believes perfecting your schedule is the most difficult part of college.

“I started working spring of my freshman year,” Gullickson said. “It was hard when none of my friends were working and I was battling to stay organized.”

Now as a junior, Gullickson faces different challenges. Her classes are more difficult and the need for an internship hangs over her head.

“The hardest part about getting an internship is the hiring process,” Gullickson said. “I started applying to internships as a sophomore and would often lose due to seniority.”

College is a challenge, but it’s a rewarding one. Staying focused, determined and organized will lead to good things, such as the internship Gullickson received this fall.


Jamie Cleven a junior at the University of St. Thomas, knows from experience what students face.

“College is exciting but can present you with many challenges,” Cleven said, adding that “education, social and financial challenges” top the list. Each presents obstacles, but the task of balancing the three can be “quite taxing,” Cleven said.

Education at the college level is significantly more difficult than high school and requires more time and effort.

“Social life is a change as well,” Cleven said. In any situation, the people you are with make the experience, she said, so walking into a new situation where you don’t know many people is intimidating. It takes time to adjust and build new friendships, but once the friendships are formed, college is one of the most rewarding of life’s experiences.

The financial aspect is different for everyone butcan be especially challenging at a private university.

“An education at the University of St. Thomas is not cheap,” Cleven said, laughing. Finding time for a job on top of a busy schedule is another challenge.

But Cleven said to keep in mind the end result, the educational base you are forming and all the possibilities in years to come.


Being a college student can be more or less of a burden depending on the person. But sophomore Olivia Cronin finds the life of a college student challenging but liberating. This semester has been slightly stressful for her, having to juggle a job an an internship and to deal with sick grandparents, and she has found it hard to decide where she should be.

She is slightly worried about paying bills and meeting her budget, but her parents are helping her smooth into her own groove. Cronin believes the major challenge of being a college student is multitasking, for better or worse. She enjoys the internship, and also enjoys most of her classes.

“Got to go with the flow,” she says.

Cronin lives by the idea of setting time aside for herself every day. She knows that she cannot continually study, so she needs a break of 15 minutes to do something else. She believes people work better with breaks, but she admits that she can be distracted when on a break.


Katrina Pauly, a junior at the University of St. Thomas, is starting to feel the pressures of being a college student. Her communications major presents challenges she must face before graduation in May 2012. The 21-year-old is bombarded with responsibilities and realizes there are more to come.

Pauly’s biggest academic hurdle is internships.

“I am more interested in the public relations aspect of communications, and I’ve been eagerly researching local internships,” she said. “It scares me to hear that some juniors have already had two to three when I haven’t had one.”

On top of attending school and internship shopping, Katrina works in the St. Thomas [?] payroll department. Like any other college student, she loves to shop, hang with friends and just have fun. But forget about free time during the work week.

“None, I don’t allow myself free time,” she said. “I have a job and a full course schedule. Any free time I have is devoted to homework or sleep.”

Weekends are when Pauly allows herself to relax.

“Weekends are completely set aside for me,” Pauly said. “I don’t touch my backpack.”

BY Samantha Dooner

Dana Ashby, a junior at the University of St. Thomas, considers herself successful knowing she has not hit “rock bottom” yet.

“I measure success by happiness and the quality of the work I put forth,” Ashby said.

But just because she considers herself successful does not mean she has not failed at something.

“I had to drop out of a math class in high school and retake it at a lower level because I am not good at math,” she said.

That she has had to work hard to succeed is a mark of Ashby’s determination to reach her goals.

Thus far, she believes she has been successful.

“I just hope my career is fulfilling and I end up somewhere that makes me happy,” Dana said. “I will never give up my social life and family activities.”


INSTRUCTOR: Michael O’Donnell | | 651-962-5281