Undergraduate Admissions

Sarah Mueller's Blog

Welcome to Cape Town! (And a new UofS semester!)


That’s how you say hello in Xhosa, one of the eleven national languages in South Africa! Currently, I am studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa for the semester, so look forward to exciting tales of my adventures in this beautiful city!

I will try to cram three months of awesomeness into this one first post to catch you all up on my life in South African! Luckily, I’ve been documenting my experiences thus far in a travel journal, so I’ll be sure not to leave out any important parts!

I live in Observatory, a primarily English and Afrikaans-speaking area; however I am involved in a service-learning program where teach in a Xhosa-speaking township. So I’ll start with a quick Xhosa lesson:

So I would say to you:
Molo! (Hi!)
You would say:
Molo Sarah, unjani? (Hi Sarah, how are you?)
To which I would reply:
Ndipilile! Wena unjani (I am alive! And how are you?)
And you would say:
Ndipilile nam! (I am also alive and well!)

Easy enough, right? It has taken me a while to learn different Xhosa terms and expressions, but I think I am finally beginning to catch on! Other than trying to adapt to the Xhosa culture, I’ve been busy taking classes, teaching, hiking, and exploring. I study at the University of Western Cape, and am taking a Victorian and South African literature class, a South African theatre class, Leaders in Grassroots Organizations, and Theology of Apartheid and Reconciliation. These classes have been fascinating and have really broadened my scope into South African culture!

Additionally, as part of the service-learning program, I teach grade 6 reading, writing, history, and geography at Hlengisa junior-secondary school in Nyanga township. I love my kids. They are super eager to learn and are even more keen to become my friend. They love to teach me Xhosa and tell me about their lives. The most difficult part about teaching in a township is not the language barrier, but the culture barrier, particularly in terms of discipline and corruption. Despite that, though, teaching has been an incredible learning experience. I feel so fortunate to work with these kids. They are so happy. They sing beautifully, without hesitation, everywhere they go. They share their food with each other, when I know for a fact that they barely have enough to feed themselves. Their eyes brighten when they understand a new word. They translate for me. They fill me on all the grade 6 gossip. They write me little love notes. They teach me their hand-games. They bring me an apple every morning. They have started calling me “sisi Sarah,” identifying me as their sister, rather than Miss Sarah. They always hug me goodbye. To say that my time at Hlengisa has been rewarding so far is an understatement.

Being here has given me a completely different perspective on what it means to be alive. There is such a stark contrast between the atmosphere of life in the city, in the slums and townships, and up in the mountains. In the city, I feel alive with curiosity. I want to learn about South African history, explore the water front, and try everything. I have been to countless markets, tried the strangest and most outrageous food, taste-tested every coffee shop in Observatory, poked around random shops, and played tourist, visiting museums, Robben Island, the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens – everything. I feel alive in the way an explorer must feel alive. In the townships, slums, and squatter settlements, I feel alive in the way that prickles the back of my neck – in the way that gives me chills, gut-wrenching guilt, and an acute awareness of what poverty actually means. And in the mountains, I feel free. There are three peaks in Cape Town: Table Mountain, Devil’s Peak, and Lion’s Head. I’ve hiked all three, and those hikes create the most genuine feeling of life that I have ever experienced. One night, my friends and I embarked on a full moon hike. Staring up at Lion’s Head, every hiker’s headlamp and flashlight looked like constellations circled around the mountain. When we reached the top, we looked out over the glowing city on one side of the mountain, and the dark ocean on the other. It was incredible. Climbing each mountain makes me feel life’s rawness. It gives me a chance to be human, and reflect on my humanity – on being alive. I guess I’ve really brought over those Jesuit ideals on Ignation reflection with me!

Here are some pictures from my study abroad experience so far!

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That’s all for now! Next week I’ll be talking about the amazing midsemester trip I just went on! Get ready to hear all about the Wild Coast, Durban, Johannesburg, and a safari! Until next week! :)

Sarah :)


Spring Fest!/Last Post of the Semester!

Hi all!

As the year comes to an end, the University of Scranton always goes out with a bang! On Saturday, USPB (The University of Scranton Programming Board) put on its annual Spring Fest!

Spring Fest is a huge festival held on campus every year right before Dead Week (AKA, the week before finals). It features live music, battle of the bands, games, food and fundraisers! All of campus flocked to the Byron Center to celebrate spring and have fun during our last weekend before finals.

One of my favorite parts of Spring Fest was the DJ who came at night. There was a huge dance party in the Byron Center. Everyone had glow sticks and glow-in-the-dark sunglasses, and we all sang and danced our way into spring!

Here is a picture from the dance party!



So now that we have celebrated spring, it’s time to buckle down and study for finals so that we can jump into summer!

Personally, I find that finals seem less intimidating if you plan ahead. Start prepping early; organize your notes; meet with a study group. Give yourself time to collect your study materials for each class, and map out a schedule to ensure that you devote time to each final. Coffee comes in handy too…good thing we have a Starbucks on campus!

Above all else, though, give yourself time to have fun with your friends. Sure, your GPA is important, but  looking back on your college experience, your memories will be with your friends, not the nights you spend studying in the library. So budget your time. Balance studying with having fun. You might not see some of your friends all summer. For me, I will not see the majority of my friends for five months, as I am leaving to study abroad in Cape Town, South Africa for the fall semester. So, have fun. “Live in the sunshine; swim the sea; drink the wild air,” as Ralph Waldo Emerson puts it. Let go of your anxiety, your stress and your self-doubt. Your grades will be just fine. :)

Well, that’s all for this semester! The next time you guys hear from me, I’ll be in Cape Town…craziness!! Until next year!

Sarah :)


Hi all!

Lots of exciting things are in store as the year winds down and students prepare for finals!

Currently, I am working to find volunteers to work Commencement events. These events include: Senior Night, Baccalaureate Mass, Graduate Commencement and Undergraduate Commencement.  For my as a Co Director of Royal Ambassadors, I get to stay for Senior Week, the week after finals, to help plan and staff all of these events. It is a lot of fun!

Last year was my first time working the Commencement events. I had so much fun during the preparation process, placing volunteers in position for each event and organizing all of the information. Furthermore, I absolutely LOVED staying to say goodbye to my friends who were graduating. There is not a huge divide between grades here at The University of Scranton: Everybody is friends with each other, regardless of age or graduating class. We all get to know each other through classes, retreats, service projects, work study positions and clubs. As a freshman last year, I had met so many amazing seniors whom I quickly had to say goodbye to as they graduated that same year. That being said, I feel so fortunate that I was able to not only stay during Senior Week to spend time with them, but also say a final goodbye at Undergraduate Commencement itself.

On the day of Undergraduate Commencement, my job as a Co Director of Royal Ambassadors is to make sure that all graduate’s caps and gowns are on the right way, and that their honors cords are correctly positioned. Basically, I run around like a crazy person underneath the arena checking all of these things, haha. Then, I help the graduates process out into the arena (which, by the way, is an AWESOME location for their Commencement ceremony!) But my all-time favorite part of my job on Commencement day is when I get to stand at the bottom of the stage as the graduates receive their diplomas. Standing there, I was able to hug all of my senior friends as they walked off stage, diploma in hand, saying goodbye to The University of Scranton and marched on towards “real life.”

I truly feel so blessed to be able to partake in this amazing ceremony, as well as the other Commencement events. The University of Scranton does a FANTASTIC job with its Commencement events, making them memorable and special for all involved. I cannot wait to start prepping for Commencement in two weeks. It will be a blast!

Until then, we are looking for volunteers, so here’s my shameless plug…to any current students reading this blog entry, please sign up to work Commencement! It is truly an amazing experience! :)

Here are some pictures of myself and the other Co Directors from last year’s Commencement ceremony!



That’s all for this week! Happy spring, and remember to keep spreading that Scranton sunshine!

Sarah :)

Take Back The Night & The Holi Festival!

Hi all! I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’m back and ready to talk about all of the AWESOME things Scranton has been up to!

Last week, The U put on tons of events: Earth Week, the Sustainability Conference, Take Back the Night, the ISP Ball Roll, the Festival of Nations, 2nd Chance Prom, the Rooftop Carnival, and the Holi Festival to name a few! I attended many of these events, but the two that stuck out to me the most were Take Back the Night and the Holi Festival.

Take Back the Night is a national rally to end sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. Everyone is given an opportunity to share their story and show their support for those affected by violence.

At The University, our theme for the 24th annual Take Back the Night is “Remembering our Roots, Growing our Branches.” In my opinion, this theme allows those affected by violence in any way to reflect on their experiences and grow from what they endured. Rather than focusing on the negative aftermath of their experiences, this theme provides victims a positive means to cope with their traumatic experiences. Additionally, this theme gives supporters a way to help victims find strength in themselves to persevere forward.

Rallies such as Take Back the Night are vital to the healing process for many victims of violence. Public demonstrations which promote advocacy and acceptance help those affected by violence mend significantly.

Veronica Roth writes in her novel, Allegiant, “I have always known this: Life damages us, every one. We can’t escape that damage. But now, I am also learning this: We can be mended. We mend each other.”

I am in awe of how responsive the University community was to Take Back the Night. So many people came out to support those affected by violence and truly, we mended each other. I am so inspired by all of the beautiful and courageous people who participated in this event. I feel so incredibly fortunate to attend a school which promotes sharing our voices and encourages healing and acceptance.

Here are some pictures from this year’s Take Back the Night!




On Saturday, I went to the Holi Festival! The Holi Festival is an Indian tradition, where people celebrate spring by throwing colored powder at one another. So, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, The Asian Club, Residence Life and a bunch of other organizations organized our own Holi Festival celebration! We all gathered outside on the Dionne Green, ate authentic Indian food, learned about the history of the Holi Festival, and had a colored-powder fight on the green! The Holi Festival was an awesome way to release stress and just have fun with my friends!

Here are some pictures from the Holi Festival!


Well, that’s all for this week! I hope you all are having a great last few weeks of school! :) I know I am here at the U! Spring, here we come!

Sarah :)


Preview Day!

Hundreds of perspective students and their families arrived on campus last Saturday, April 5, to take part in The University of Scranton’s Preview Day for Accepted Students. Eager visitors flowed into the Byron Center to take tours of our beautiful campus, meet with admissions counselors and financial aid advisors, and simply get a feel of the welcoming and genuine atmosphere that the Scranton community has to offer.

It truly warmed my heart to see the enthusiasm that poured out of the University, as it cheerfully welcomed the perspective Class of 2017. As a Co-Director of Royal Ambassadors (the tour program that we have here at The U,) I got to work on the tour route during Preview Day, meeting and speaking with quite a few of the perspective students and their families. It amazes me that every time I talk with a student who is considering joining our Scranton community, I leave the conversation loving Scranton even more than I already did. It is evident that students choose to attend this school because they genuinely love the atmosphere that our student body and faculty create. I believe that Robert Southwell, S.J.’s quote above the DeNaples Center really depicts the mindset of Scranton students, reading, “Not where I breathe but where I love, I live.” The love that our students have for this University is inspiring, admirable, and contagious – and it certainly shined through everyone who was involved Preview Day this year.

I remember when I attended Preview Day as a perspective student, Scranton stood out for many reasons: the countless opportunities to get involved, the supportive professors, the rigorous yet fulfilling course load, the religious affiliation, the school spirit, the friendly faces of the students, and of course, the amazing food. But what stood out the most, and continues to stand out – in my mind – above all of those other great aspects that this school has to offer, is the atmosphere created by the people who attend and work here. This school surrounds its students with love from all those whom they encounter, and is generally just a happy place to be. The Scranton community is a family. I could not imagine my life anywhere else, nor would I ever want to.

Seeing so many students fall in love with the UofS the way I did as a perspective student was amazing. I am so inspired by all of the enthusiasm put forth by everyone involved in Preview Day. I think that the way Scranton does Preview Day says something about how much our University community loves our school. Everyone involved is on top of their game, and all workers come ready and excited to share their “Scranton Story” with perspective students. I think that our Preview Day for Accepted Students really demonstrates that students love to love Scranton!

Good luck to all accepted students! Making your college decision is hard…but to those of you who attended Preview Day, you took a big step in the right direction! (That “right direction,” of course, being The University of Scranton  :))

Have a lovely week!

Sarah  :)

Ps. It’s warm here! Finally!! Happy Spring!!

Born To Be Wild!

Hi everyone!

This past Saturday, I went on an AWESOME retreat through the University of Scranton Campus Ministries called Born To Be Wild! For the entire day on Saturday, we went hiking through PA’s Grand Canyon!

The retreat focused on the four elements: Water, wind, fire and earth. As we hiked to the top of the mountain and back down, we stopped along the way to listen to different talks concerning one of the four elements, and how those elements relate to faith, life and college. The talks really hit home with me, and opened my eyes to nature in new ways. It helped me view nature as a constant part of life – as something which affects us daily. I have never through about nature as something that was a part of who I am, but this retreat made showed me that it is. The entire experience was extremely reflective and inspiring.

I love that the University of Scranton holds such cool retreats! Not only was Born To Be Wild so much fun (I mean, who doesn’t love hiking, right?!), but it was also so faith-based and inspirational. Before attending the retreat, I was not expecting to be so impacted by a simple hike. But that’s Scranton for you. As a student at the University of Scranton, you do not realize how inspirational opportunities are here until you jump right into them. I feel so fortunate to be given so many opportunities to step outside my comfort zone and jump into exciting and inspiring adventures at the University of Scranton.

Here are some pictures from the retreat!



Even though it started raining towards the end of the hike, we still had a blast! (And hey, at least the rain went along with the retreat’s “water” theme!)

For all future and current students, I definitely recommend attending retreats through Campus Ministries! They truly are life-changing, and I feel so fortunate to have so many opportunities to go on them.

Have a lovely week!

Sarah :)

Africa Here I Come!! (All Thanks To The Wonderful UofS!)

Hi all!

IT’S OFFICIAL, I will be studying abroad in CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA next fall!! I could not be more excited. I cannot wait to share my experiences and adventures with all of you :)

While I am studying abroad in South Africa, I will be living in a house with other students from Jesuit universities around the U.S. Together, we will attend classes at the University of Western Cape, participate in service learning and TRAVEL all over the place!

At the University of Western Cape, I will be required to take two specific classes: Theology of Forgiveness: Reconciliation and Justice and Leaders in Grassroots Organizations: Community Development and Social Analysis. I am SO PUMPED to take these courses, as they both allow me to gain a unique perspective on South African values of forgiveness and empowerment, especially considering all of the history these people have endured. I will also be taking three African literature classes (and since I’m the biggest book nerd ever, I am SUPER excited to see what these classes have to offer!

Furthermore, I will be participating in service learning. I love that I will be able to continue performing service learning in Cape Town. Service learning is such a prevalent aspect of student life here at the University of Scranton, which I love so much. Continuing my love for service in South Africa is a dream-come-true. I have not been placed at a service site yet; however, the options look AMAZING! As a Secondary Education and English double-major, I could serve in a ton of different places. I could work anywhere from the Hector Peterson Secondary School, tutoring and working in restorative justice peace-circles, to Dance For All, teaching children how do dance as a means of empowerment and expression.

Last but certainly not least, I cannot wait to travel! I was recently added to the Cape Town study abroad Facebook group, and my housemates and I have already begun brainstorming ideas for adventures! Everything from hiking up Table Mountain, to bungee-jumping, to Safaris, to beach trips, to vising the prison where Nelson Mandela was held – I cannot wait to step out of my comfort zone and do all of these AMAZING things!

My “RA” for the trip has been posting  gorgeous pictures of Cape Town on our Facebook group every day to jump-start our excitement! Here is today’s picture!



I feel so fortunate that The University of Scranton has provided me with this amazing opportunity to study abroad next fall. As a Secondary Education and English double-major, it is generally pretty difficult to go abroad. But the lovely people over at the UofS Study Abroad Office and the PCPS Advising Center worked a miracle for me. I feel so incredibly grateful to attend a school which works so hard to make students’ dreams a reality.

Have a lovely week!

Sarah :)

Accepted Students Reception!

Hi all!

There is a lot of excitement on campus this week as students gear up for midterms and look forward to next week’s Spring Break! In the midst of all of the craziness between studying for three midterms, writing a 10-page paper (yikes!) and fulfilling all of my obligations to clubs, teacher candidacy, education observations, etc., I miraculously found time to participate in an amazing Admissions event for accepted students.

On Monday night, I was given the exciting opportunity to head over to my home-state to serve on the panel for the Northern New Jersey Yield Reception! At the panel, accepted students from Northern New Jersey could come get a taste of what Scranton is really like. Essentially, we brought Scranton to New Jersey!

At 3PM on Monday afternoon, I went on a road trip with two other current students and Kelly Connor (who actually is the Admissions Counselor that runs this awesome blog!!) Driving to and from New Jersey with them was a ton of fun! (We blasted 80’s music the whole way home and I was jamming out!)

As families came into the reception, we greeted and mingled with them, answering any questions and talking up Scranton to the max! Before the reception began, we played a slide-show which showed off just how beautiful our campus is! (I swear, I could look at pictures of Scranton’s gorgeous campus all day!)

The night began with an awesome presentation given by Joe Roback, the Associate Vice President for Admissions and Enrollment. He definitely got the crowd excited as he spoke all about Scranton’s Freshman Move-In Day, Freshman Orientation, and a ton of other great programs that the UofS puts on.

After the presentation, Joe provided the audience with the opportunity to ask any questions they might have about the UofS to the panel. The panel consisted of myself and two other current UofS students, two alumni and two parents of current students.

It was so much fun to answer questions and share with the accepted students and their families why I love the University of Scranton so darn much! I honestly could talk about the U for hours on end without getting sick of it. I truly have so much love for the University of Scranton, and I feel so incredibly blessed that I was able to share my experiences with so many perspective students!!

I am constantly inspired by how enthusiastic perspective students are about attending the University of Scranton. Their passion for the U helps fuel mine, as they constantly remind me of all the reasons I love this amazing school. Participating in events like the Northern New Jersey Yield Reception panel continue to solidify that Scranton is the best school ever! (maybe I’m a little biased…but really, what’s not to love?! :) )

Well, that’s all for this week! I hope everyone has a lovely Spring Break! Good luck to all of the accepted students I met on Monday night, and to everyone else who was accepted to the University of Scranton! Choosing a college is scary and difficult…the best thing you can do is follow your heart – And I can honestly say that my heart belongs to the University of Scranton.

Have a lovely week!

Sarah :)

Divinely Designed – The Impact of a Retreat at the UofS

Hi everyone!

I hope you had a nice weekend! I certainly did! This past weekend, I led Divinely Designed – a women’s retreat run by the University of Scranton’s Campus Ministries program. Honestly, leading this retreat was the best experience I’ve ever had.

Nine other girls, myself, and Amy (our Campus Minister) had been planning this retreat since the beginning of last fall semester. When I was asked to be on team for the retreat, after attending Divinely Designed as a candidate last February, I had no idea what to expect. I was filled with a range of emotions: nervousness, excitement, uncertainty. But I knew that being part of the team was an experience I could not pass up.

To plan for the retreat, starting at the beginning of this past fall semester, we met once a week for two-three hours. Each meeting revolved around a different retreat topic pertaining to women such as voice, body-image, relationships, etc. The team would discuss our own experiences with these topics at every meeting.

At the end of last semester, five of the ten team members were asked to write a talk pertaining to one of the various topics we discussed at the meetings. I was asked to write a talk, and again, I was filled with nervousness, excitement, uncertainty, and quite honestly – more nervousness. My talk was on a super personal topic, and I was scared to confront it and speak about it out loud in front of the entire retreat. But my team was so incredibly supportive, and after thinking about it, I agreed to write the talk.

So after months and months of planning, the retreat finally arrived! About 40 candidates arrived at Chapman Lake at 4:30PM last Friday, ready to kick-start the weekend. And it was amazing. The entire weekend was amazing. So many people opened up and shared their stories, and by the end of the weekend we all felt so connected to each other. After I gave my talk, everyone rushed to hug me. Never have I ever felt so much love, support and acceptance in my entire life. Seeing so many Scranton students come together on this retreat was absolutely beautiful, and I feel so incredibly fortunate to have led and been part of the experience.

I think something that really exemplifies how much the retreat impacted our Scranton community were the affirmation letters we all wrote each other on the retreat. At the beginning of the retreat, we all made affirmation mail boxes, where anyone on the retreat could write you a little love note, affirming you as a woman. Reading all of my affirmations after the retreat was such a humbling yet empowering experience. So many people shared that they had been through similar things as me, and reading their stories made me feel so much more connected to them. Now, seeing the girls from the retreat on campus, we greet each other with lots of hugs and love. Where I once regarded these girls as strangers, I now feel so close to them emotionally, and I feel so lucky to have expanded my Scranton family.

Retreats are honestly my favorite way to meet other Scranton students. Scranton students are so inspirational. It is really such a beautiful thing to get to know people so deeply and intentionally on retreats. I love that at the University of Scranton, when we return from the retreats, we still make the effort to keep close to those we went on the retreat with. There are no “Breakfast Club” worries – I am never left asking “Will we still be friends after this weekend?” No. The Scranton community takes care of each other, and I truly love and admire that about our campus. It is so comforting.

Here are some pictures from this amazing weekend:


The retreat team


Everyone who attended the retreat

Have a lovely week!

Sarah :)

Royal Nights!

Hi everyone!

Business has been booming in admissions this week! Because Monday was President’s Day and Royal Nights was this weekend, the visitor’s center flooded with perspective students, eager to check out the U!

For those who do not know, Royal Nights is an overnight program from Sunday to Monday, where an accepted high school senior can be paired up with a UofS student for the night. The accepted high school senior, called a “Royal Nighter” gets to meet over a hundred other accepted students through the program, attend a dinner, movie, and even attend two classes within their major on the Monday of their visit.

Personally as a perspective student, I did not attend Royal Nights. I have, however, hosted for every Royal Nights weekend since freshman year! For my job as a co-director of Royal Ambassadors, I am required to work check-in for each Royal Nights weekend. So not only was I able to host, but I was also fortunate enough to greet every accepted high school senior as they arrived to campus! So much fun!

One of the most memorable experiences I had as a Royal Nights host happened last year. Laura was my first Royal Nighter ever, and I was super pumped to meet her, give her a tour of campus, introduce her to my friends, and most importantly…convince her that The University of Scranton is the BEST school in the world! :)

So Laura came and we clicked right away! The majority of my friends who lived in my dorm last year were hosting Royal Nighters as well, so they all were able to meet each other. All of us – hosts and Royal Nighters – hung out in our lounge until 3AM playing hilarious games and getting to know each other.

While getting to know Laura, I explained what Cura Personalis was. As I have mentioned in other blog posts, Cura Personalis is the living-learning community that I reside in. It centers around faith, service and justice – so we put on various programs which correlate to those pillars. As I have also mentioned in former posts, this year I am one of the co-leaders for the Mentor-Mentee program, which pairs up sophomore Cura Personalis residents with freshmen Cura Personalis residents.

So when Laura called me about a month after her Royal Nights weekend last year, telling me that not only had she decided to enroll at The University of Scranton, but also wanted to partake in the freshman Cura Personalis living-learning community, I was ecstatic. Then, when Laura approached me at the Mentor pairing meeting that occurred this year, asking me to be her mentor, I could not contain my enthusiasm.

Today, Laura is one of my close friends. We hang out and grab coffee all the time. Before the first Royal Nights weekend this year, Laura and I were joking that she has to find a Royal Nighter who she clicks with and wants to do Cura Personalis – so that she can continue our “legacy.” This past Monday morning at breakfast, Laura came running up to me saying, “I’ve found the one!” Haha so I guess she found her legacy!

It has been so cool to see Royal Nights come full-circle, and to experience the immense impact that it has on perspective students. If you are a perspective student, I DEFINITELY recommend checking out Royal Nights. Who knows? It could decide everything…:)

Have a lovely week everyone!

Sarah :)