The third installment in our alumni feature series is an interview with Hayley Johnson who graduated this spring with her BA in English with honors and women and gender studies minors.
What are you doing now?
I am a graduate student in the Higher Education Student Affairs Administration program at the Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester. I work as the graduate assistant in the Warner admissions office, and am interning at the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education. In my spare time, I’m working on obtaining my personal training certification, and I love hanging out in the College Town area.
In what ways did your experiences at Naz prepare you for what you’re doing now?
Naz offers versatility in both its academic programs and student activities. I was able to branch out and explore within and outside of my major. Those experiences increased my desire to learn from others and understand new perspectives. If I am in a position of leadership, I always look for opportunities to let others share their points of view and eventually take on leadership roles as well. Nazareth has allowed me to truly become a global citizen.
What is your fondest memory of your time at Naz?
Ooh, this is a tough one! I have two: co-leading the on-campus improv comedy group and attending the Clinton Global Initiative University conference with fellow Naz students. Improv rehearsals and shows made me laugh like nothing else, and being surrounded by young activists focused on changing the world was incredibly motivating. Both experiences afforded me lifelong friendships and memories.
How do you think your life has changed the most since leaving college?
I miss living on campus more than anything! Graduate school is amazing, but there was something about coming back to Portka after a long day of classes and seeing my Naz roommates (who are my best friends) that I want again! We still text every day and try to see each other as often as we can- Naz has a way of bringing people together and helping them stay close. I do think Naz instilled in me the desire to build positive relationships. In my classes and work environments now, I have made some great friends, too!
What’s one thing about life after college that turned out differently than you expected?
It’s interesting because although I’m still technically in school, I’m getting a taste of what full-time employment is really like. I don’t think I realized how important a sense of balance would be. It was easier during undergrad to make time to see friends, go see a show, take a nap or two (or several), etc., because those things were all on campus. Now, I’ve had to get the hang of “penciling” those things in, so to speak. My senior year at Nazareth definitely helped me develop a more solid routine; I was writing my thesis, going to classes, and heading up a couple of clubs, so I learned all about the basics of time management. But more recently, I’ve come to know that prioritizing “me” time is important as well!
As someone who’s been through the entire college experience, what’s some advice you have for incoming freshmen?
Take advantage of the opportunities that come your way! If you get an email about a new organization that has formed on campus, check out the first meeting- you may end up finding your niche that way. If a professor suggests that you look into studying abroad, do some research on that. If someone recommends you for a leadership position (I found out about becoming a Student Ambassador from my RA freshman year), apply. “Why not?” became my mantra as my college experience progressed, so I recommend saying that to yourself sooner rather than later!
Read more of our alumni profiles here: Mary Bonomo ’15, Visual and Communication Design, Nicole Andoline ’15, Political Science and Legal Studies, Jenn Lachell ’15, Marketing, Audrey Lawrence ’14, Social Work, Matt Maloney ’14, History and Spanish and Kelsey Sweet ’15, Communications and Media