Undergraduate Admissions

Sarah Mueller's Blog

Senior thoughts

On Tuesday, I picked up my cap and gown, but the realization that I am graduating in a month and a half still did not hit me. On the other hand, having my content supervisor come in today to observe me for the last time during my student teaching experience, really hit home. For me my degree in Secondary Education and English from The University of Scranton has become a significant part of my identity. So much so, in fact, that last week, I was awarded the Mary E. Quinn Award for Excellence in Secondary Education, which I am incredibly honored to have received. With all of the hours I have been putting into planning, instructing, assessing, and reflecting on my student teaching experience, it sometimes feels as though my entire college career has been building up to becoming a teacher, and in many ways, it has. I am so incredibly grateful for the education I have received at The University of Scranton. The excellent academics here have provided me with a solid foundation for building my career as a future English teacher.

That said, however, there have been so many more facets of my education at The University of Scranton that have shaped my identity. The people I have surrounded myself with since Freshman year, the service I have performed in my field of Education both locally and abroad, and the opportunities I have been given have all molded me into an entirely different person that who I was when I first moved into my freshman room in McCourt Hall. The “Scranton” moments I have had through my job as a tour guide and co-director for the tour guide program, through my leadership of The Women’s Retreat, through studying abroad and teaching in Cape Town, South Africa, through the late nights and silly conversations with my best friends, have all impacted me in indescribable ways.

With a month and a half left as a University of Scranton student, looking back, I feel that I have stretched my arms widely across all that The University of Scranton offers. Looking forward, I know that even decades after I graduate, I will be supporting this university, which has offered me so much support and love. I will always be a tour guide, encouraging my future students (and everyone I know) to attend The University of Scranton. I will always hold Campus Ministries near to my heart, and will continue supporting retreats and empowering others. When I one day teach abroad, I will always tell my international students of how The University of Scranton not only taught me to love teaching, but taught me to love people, love culture, love service, and love the person I have become. I will always be a product of this incredible University. I will always be a Royal.

Here’s to the 42 days, 19 hours, and 47 minutes I have left in this incredible place. Stay tuned to read about how I plan to make every moment count 🙂

The student has officially become the teacher. (Literally!)

Good morning, class! I’ve been in full-swing student teaching mode for the past month and a half, and I am LOVING every second of it! Between creating lesson plans, grading, working on my classroom management, and fulfilling my teacher certification requirements, I have certainly had my hands full!

I am student teaching full-time at Scranton High School, which is a nice five-minute commute from the UofS campus! I am teaching Junior American Literature and Senior British Literature. Right now, we are studying The Great Gatsby in my American Literature classes, which has been a blast! Between a CSI investigation of Myrtle’s death (spoiler-alert!) to teaching my classes how to dance the Foxtrot and the Charleston, we have been having a blast together. My British Literature students are working their way through Romantic poetry. Next Friday, we are going to hold a Romantic Poetry Slam competition in our classes, which I know will be awesome!

My students are absolutely incredible. For my student teaching seminar, I have to keep a log of highs and lows from each day, and without a doubt, the majority of my “high” moments come from my students. Their light bulb moments, the connections they make between the literature we are reading and their own lives, and their funny comments make my day. I couldn’t ask for a more genuine group of students.

One issue I have been having, though, has been with cell phone use during class. Now, I am 100% attached to my cell phone, so I am the last person to pass judgement on anyone else who is, too. But, because cell phone use was distracting my students from being fully present in class, I devised a way to make them less distracting during class time. Last Tuesday night, I came home from student teaching and got super crafty. I created a “Cell (P)hotel” (like a cell phone hotel) out of a shoe organizer and some construction paper. The next day, I instated a new policy, which was backed by my cooperating teachers, where students have to “check in” their cell phones at the “Cell (P)hotel” in order to receive credit for the day. My students, although they were shocked at first, responded well, and actually got into the idea of being “off the grid” for 40 minutes per day. (I’m sure the Romantic poets we are studying in my British Literature classes would be thrilled about it, too!)

All in all, it’s been mostly “high” moments thus far in my student teaching experience. The UofS has certainly prepared me for the job, and I am so grateful to have this incredible opportunity! Student teaching is making the thought of having to leave this incredible school in exactly two months just a little bit more bearable 🙂

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Miss Mueller

Gearing up for student teaching!

It’s finally here: the second semester of my senior year. (*Gasp!*) It’s the semester full of laughs and lasts, all while slowly allowing yourself come to terms with the fact that you will soon have to be a “real person” and leave the beautiful bubble we call The University of Scranton.

I am so fortunate to get a taste of what it’s like to be a “real person” during my student teaching this semester. After three and a half years of learning strategies, methods, and essentially every literary movement ever, I can finally apply all that I have been taught, making the exciting transition from student to teacher.

In just two weeks, I will be teaching Junior American Literature and Senior British Literature at Scranton High School (and I’ll be singing “We’re All in this Together” with my second-semester senior students as we all get through our final semesters of school!) While I definitely bought way too many clothes over winter break in the name of student teaching, and definitely didn’t get enough sleep over break to make up for the serious lack of sleep to come with student teaching, I am beyond excited to get started!!!

Tomorrow, I will meet with my cooperating teacher to get the books, plays, and poetry I will be teaching! I can’t wait to start preparing lesson plans, forming assessments, and getting to know my students. I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I know it will be an amazing experience!!!!!

Miss Mueller

 

Open House

I can’t believe it’s November already! With only five weeks left in the fall semester, I have begun to approach some of my first “lasts” of my college experience.

One of those “lasts” was Open House. I have been working for Admissions since freshman year. My job as a Co-Director for Royal Ambassadors and a tour guide has been a defining part of my college experience. Part of my job in Admissions involves helping to manage and direct the tours during Open House. From leading the tours freshman year to managing the tour route sophomore, junior, and now senior year, Open House has always been one one of my favorite events to work on campus. This past Sunday was my last Open House.

My job in Admissions has given me a guaranteed hour-and-a-half slot, twice a week, to talk up The University of Scranton. I always joke that I get paid to do what I do all the time anyway – telling anyone who will listen why I love this university. After giving tours and working events like Open House, I feel elated. Truly, interacting with prospective students makes my day. Deciding to go to The University of Scranton was one of the best decisions I have ever made, and encouraging prospective students to make that same decision if one of my favorite ways to give back to the place that has shaped not only my college experience but the person who I have become.

Below is a picture of myself and the other Co-Directors, prepping for my last Open House:

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And here’s a picture of myself and two of my closest friends who worked as Podium Speakers in the Library with me for our last Open House:

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Did ya miss me?

Hi everyone! Sorry I’ve been MIA for the past month – Senior year has been super busy! Here’s a recap of what I’ve been up to:

  1. Student teaching application! Next semester I have the incredible opportunity to complete my student teaching (hopefully) at Scranton High School, administration approval permitting! My cooperating teacher who I observed last spring requested that I student teach with her, and I could not be more excited! She teaches junior American Literature and senior British Literature – two of my favorite topics! I submitted my student teaching application earlier this month, and once I take the Praxis test in two weeks and my clearances go through, I should have my placement finalized. The Education department has been phenomenal in preparing us for our student teaching. I can’t want to get started next semester!
  2. ISP! Last week, I submitted my application to take part in this summer’s International Service Program (ISP). Through ISP, teams of student volunteers travel to countries in Central and South America to engage in service together for 7-10 days over the summer. Today, I received an email saying I made it through to the interview process of the application, and it made my day! I should know by the end of November whether I am chosen to go on the service trip. This trip really hones in on what it means to be “Men and women for and with others.” This Jesuit ideal is strung through all aspects of campus life here at the UofS, with ISP being one of many awesome examples of how we serve one another here.
  3. Camping! The UofS is in such an awesome location. It’s only two hours from New York City and Philadelphia, fifteen minutes from mountains at Montage to ski and snowboard at, and close to dozens of awesome places to hike and camp. Two weekends ago, I went camping at a site about an hour and a half from campus at Round Valley in New Jersey. We hiked about four miles into our campsite, which was right on the reservoir. The trails, which winded through woods, the giant, clear reservoir, and site were all beautiful, and camping was so much fun!
  4. Fall break! Last weekend, my roommate and I road-tripped to Chicago to visit our friend who graduated from the UofS last spring. It was a blast! We caught up with each other while exploring downtown Chicago, trying deep-dish pizza, and of course, hitting all the touristy must-do’s! I love that the University community stays so close with each other after graduation. It makes me dread my own graduation this year much less!

Here’s a picture of my roommate and I at the Bean in Chicago!

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Last but not least, Open House is this weekend!!! Open House is one of my favorite events at the UofS. Hundreds of prospective students flood campus to determine whether the UofS is the right match for them. As a Co-Director for Royal Ambassadors, the tour guide program here, I have the awesome opportunity to both plan and manage the tour route, and also interact with these prospective students and their families. I can’t wait!!

 

Much to do at Montage

One of the many reasons I love being a student at The University of Scranton is its close proximity to Montage Mountain. Last Thursday, I went to see Jason Aldean, Cole Swindell and Tyler Farr perform at the Montage Mountain pavilion – and it was AMAZING. The pavilion was packed, as thousands of people from the greater Scranton community came out for the show.

Just twenty minutes outside of campus, Montage mountain offers awesome concerts (like Jason Aldean), as well as other opportunities such as participating in 5K’s, skiing, shopping, and an catching a movie at the IMAX movie theater. Freshman year, I participated in the Color Run 5K on Montage Mountain. I frequent the Shoppes at Montage, particularly the J Crew Factory store and Panera. I have gone skiing at Montage through university trips, as well as midnight movie showings at the IMAX theater. Two years ago, The University of Scranton even offered a deal where you could go see Maroon 5 at Montage. Transportation was included, and everyone I know who went had a great time.

Being able to see Jason Aldean, one of my favorite country artists, perform so close to campus was incredible. Montage Mountain offers University students with tons of opportunities for adventure, entertainment, and recreation. Definitely take full advantage of it!

Below is a picture taken at the concert, courtesy of The Pavilion at Montage Mountain:

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Last chance for college firsts

Wednesdays are like a holiday to me and my friends here at The U. Every Wednesday morning is what my friends and I affectionately call “Biscuit Wednesday,” because the third floor DeNaples Dining Hall offers biscuit breakfast sandwiches loaded with eggs, cheese and bacon. Since freshman year, my friends and I have made “Biscuit Wednesday” a tradition.

So as I was sitting at breakfast in DeNaples this morning, I looked down at my biscuit breakfast sandwich and realized that this is the last first biscuit I will eat during my college experience. Silly, I know, to get all worked up over a sandwich – but that’s what senior year is. It’s a year full of lasts.

Except that’s not all I want it to be. In this year full of lasts, I want to make my senior year full of firsts, too. Some firsts are built in, like student teaching to fulfill my Secondary Education and English double major. I’ll have my own classroom, full responsibility, and a serious taste of what my career as a high school English teacher will be like. In addition to built-in firsts like this, I want to make the most of my senior year by making it full of other firsts, too.

Because that’s what college is all about: trying new things. I definitely have embraced that mantra throughout the past three years – becoming a tour guide and then a co-director for the program my freshman year; leading the Divinely Designed women’s retreat sophomore year and now serving as a head leader for this year’s retreat; becoming the forum editor sophomore year and then the managing editor junior year for the Aquinas student newspaper; studying abroad and teaching in Cape Town, South Africa junior year; the list goes on. This year, perhaps I’ll apply for a domestic service trip or for the International Service Program. Maybe I’ll volunteer to teach English to parents of English language learners in the Scranton area through the Education Department. All I know is that no matter what new experience I set off to try, I’m going to go all-in. It’s my last year here, and I’m determined to make it full of incredible firsts.

Three incredible years down, one to go!

The “S” word. My friends and I refuse to say it. “Seniors.” I can’t believe that on Friday, I will officially be a senior. It feels like my college experience has whirled by; it feels like just yesterday, I was graduating high school, full of anticipation for what college would be like. It seems unreal that this time next year, I will be graduating college.

Junior year has been incredible. I had the incredible opportunity to study abroad in Cape Town, South Africa in the fall, where I taught sixth grade, took classes at The University of Western Cape, explored the city, hiked mountains, tried surfing, and fell in love with the country, its people, and its diverse cultures. I came back and was able to live with my best friends in an on-campus apartment, resume my work-study jobs, take on the role of Managing Editor of The Aquinas Student Newspaper, and reconnect with my Scranton family. I made new friends both in Cape Town and back on campus and stayed close with the friends I have had since freshman year. Although Junior year was a whirlwind, it was perfect.

Next year, as a senior, I will serve as a co-leader for Divinely Designed, the woman’s retreat on campus. I will continue to work for The Aquinas, will continue my work-study jobs as a co-director for Royal Ambassadors, the tour guide program, and of course, posting to this Admissions Blog. Additionally, next spring I will be student teaching! I cannot wait to have my own classroom and get some real world experience before I go out into the teaching world.

Senior year is so promising. I look forward to it, but I definitely don’t want it to come, because that means I have to leave this beautiful campus, these incredible people, and my fantastic life here. Three amazing years down, and one to go. I look forward to making my senior year the best one yet!!

Below is a photo my friends and I took at the end of my freshman year. It’s crazy to see how far we’ve come in the past three years! Have a great summer everyone!

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Study Abroad Reunion

This weekend, I had the extraordinary opportunity to fly out to Chicago to see all of my housemates from when I studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa last semester.

The South Africa Study Abroad program pulled from all 28 Jesuit universities across the United States. That said, my housemates were from Santa Clara and Loyola Marymount in California, Marquette in Wisconsin, Xavier in Ohio, St. Joes in Philly, and Loyola Chicago! Having some of my closest friends spread out across the entire country is rough, but getting to travel to meet up with them is so much fun!!

For my housemates and I, Cape Town was characterized by our spontaneity. So when we all decided at the last minute to drop everything and fly out to Chicago for the weekend, we solidified that spontaneity, as well as our love for each other.

All day on Friday, waves of friends filed in from across the U.S. – two of my housemates who originally couldn’t come ended up surprising us all and showing up! In total, 15 out of my 20 housemates made the trek to Chicago.  Crazy!

We explored the city, ate some delicious food, and bonded with each other, picking up right where we left off five months ago in Cape Town. It honestly felt like we never left each other – the mark of life-long friends.

I am so grateful that The University of Scranton gave me the incredible opportunity to study abroad. Honestly, it was some of the best five months of my life. I made incredible friends with whom I performed service work, took classes, explored the city, went on spontaneous adventures, and had the time of our lives. I definitely recommend that every UofS student takes full advantage of our incredible study abroad program here. It completely changed my life.

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Learning How To Teach

I love being a Secondary Education and English double major here at The U. Not only do we take some really cool classes, but we get to engage in incredible hands-on experiences which have definitely prepared me to become a teacher. 

Currently, I am observing and teaching lessons at Scranton High School as part of my field work for this semester. There, I observe junior American Literature classes. I have been fortunate enough to observe awesome classroom management styles from my cooperating teacher, as well as cool lesson plan ideas. I even got to teach a lesson on The Great Gatsby where we made poetry out of thematic quotes! I have had an absolute blast with my cooperating teacher and my students. Observing at Scranton High School has really reinforced my decision to become an educator.

Additionally, I just began working at an afterschool program at Riverside Junior-Senior High School! Today was our first day working at the program. Myself and two other university students created a poetry workshop (seeing as April is national poetry month!) We split students into groups and taught them the process of writing a poem by having them draw it, adding on to each other’s pictures. Then, they each wrote statements about the drawings, combined their favorite lines, and made a poem as a class! It was a lot of fun and the middle school students were super engaged!

On the drive back from the after school program to campus today, another university student and I talked about how volunteering at the after school program and working with these kids gave us so much joy. We talked about how we completely forgot about all of our stressors that we would face when we returned to campus – the homework, test, projects, and other commitments. Instead, we were completely consumed by our students’ enthusiasm and excitement. Their passion to learn fueled our passions to teach. And that was beautiful to see.

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