Header Logo

Dec. 13, 2022

Transformative experiences

Congratulations! You made it!

The weeks have flown by since our journey began 16 short weeks ago. When you started, the leaves were still green, the days were still mild, and we had more than 12 hours of daylight here in Fairbanks. Now, the winter wonderland is upon us. The snow is piling up and we are just a few days from the darkest hour of the year. Each week you have attended lectures and labs, gone to practice, read chapters, and written papers, completed projects, worked in groups, competed, handed in homework, taken exams, practiced skills, and rehearsed presentations. You have done all of these things or some combination and more. Each week you have kept on with this goal in mind. Each morning, each evening, and each weekend, you persevered. Finally, you are here. Well done!

Now, the end of your journey is at hand. You are completing your final assessments and all the things you have learned are being measured. It is like unpacking your bags and showing off all the experiences you collected on your voyage. Each assessment, each paper, project, or exam, measures various understandings you have achieved. Some are easier to measure than others. Perhaps you memorized the Krebs Cycle, learned to define uniformitarianism, explained Marxism, or mastered a difficult yoga position. These types of achievements are amazing and relatively easy to assess.

However, some of your new understandings are even more amazing and are similarly more challenging to measure. You are learning about your own resiliency. You are learning how to learn. You are learning about others and learning about yourself. You are learning about your values and you are developing empathy for others. These are very difficult to assess, but we all know that this learning is very important to your experience. We hope you achieve these understandings, and you are. These are part of what makes your journey so valuable. The foundational elements of content are essential to learn, but the deeper levels of your learning are even more transformative. This is the unwritten and sometimes unspoken value of what it means to complete your course, degree, or program. You are challenging your brain, growing in your perspectives and expanding your perceptions of yourself and others. It is an exciting (and sometimes exhausting!) endeavor.

So, deeply and profoundly, congratulations to you on making it here. You made it to finals and the end of the term. You have learned so much. It may not feel that way, but you have. Each step forward has taken you toward your future potential self. Your work has been transformative. Way to go. You are amazing!

As we dive into finals week, focus on your strong finish. If you are completely done, lend a helping hand to others who may not be quite there yet. If you have a few finals to go, take care of yourself. Do your best work. Make each hour count. Then, you are free (of school, anyway). Have a wonderful break. Take time to spend with friends and family. Even if you are stretched thin by work and life obligations, find joy where you can, and create joy as you are able. 

I am so proud of you. More importantly, you should be very proud of yourself.

Classes start Jan. 17! I’m excited about your next adventure!

Send your comments and suggestions to me at obguthrie@alaska.edu

— Owen Guthrie, vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management



UAF is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer, educational institution and provider and prohibits illegal discrimination against any individual: www.alaska.edu/nondiscrimination/.