If I’m honest, I don’t remember my time at Seattle University’s Preview Days very well. My memory comes in flashes: Arianna Aldebot‘s bright pink shoes at Piecora’s Pizza. Hearing Dustin Grabsch‘s Texas tenor drawl for the first time. Jeremy Stringer asking us which movies we had seen. Getting slightly confused by the SU campus tour (how are we still in the Pavilion?). Listening to Jake Diaz speak, and being reminded of one of my mentors. Catie Sturn, her Preview Day roommate and myself walking into the Unicorn, forsaking The Garage for something a little weirder.
I have much more vivid memories of my time at Oregon State University (OSU) and Colorado State University (CSU). With a brief intermission between those two schools, I toured Preview Days pretty much two weeks straight. Because the dates were all so close that year, there were a cadre of us who toured OSU, CSU, and SU. The same six or ten of us showed up at each school, so we got the format down pretty well. We compared and contrasted food, buildings, organization, and friendliness of the current students. I wound up staying with a friend I made during this tour, Ardith Feroglia, who lived three blocks from campus. I slept on her couch in a tiny apartment, and felt that SU was a good second choice school. Nothing wowed me (like Oregon State University), or made me hate the school (like Colorado State University).
I had lived in Seattle for a year prior to Preview Days, and felt quite happy to be back in the city. I was able to make recommendations about places to eat, recite facts about different neighborhoods, and give tips about living in this city to people who weren’t from the Northwest. This helped the down time during my Graduate Assistant interviews. The only interview I remember was when I literally talked myself out of a job with the Office of Integrity Formation (but no matter, I would later land a 200 hour internship with the same office). I know I had other interviews, but I cannot remember who they were with, or what positions they were about. I wound up with no Graduate Assistantship when it came time to commit in April.
Compared with my other Preview Days experiences, Seattle University was the middle. It was neither awful, nor life-changing. I had a pleasant time, and could see myself here, but I preferred OSU. Unfortunately, that was not to be. Seattle University was the only school to accept me into their program. Faced with the option of no grad school at all, or graduate school in Seattle, I chose Seattle. Things get a little weirder after that: lost my job, was unemployed, found job offers in Seattle, moved there, then managed to land myself a Graduate Assistantship in the Library.
When Preview Days rolled around last year, I was working through some personal issues, and some issues with the program. I saw Preview Days as a way to reinvigorate my outlook. The fresh faces! The enthusiasm! The dreams! I sunk a lot of time into a Preview Days video, and some of those personal issues found their way into the video (whoops). I got my first pair of glasses the morning of my first Preview Days lunch, yet was not able to see with a new set of eyes. I did start playing Words With Friends though. I remember meeting many people who did not wind up coming the Seattle University, and meeting many who did come. Laura Lynn Horst comes to mind in particular.
This year, I’m not making a video for Preview Days, but I am volunteering a lot. I’m also interviewing for my replacement, who will probably end up facing very different challenges than I have faced as the inaugural Graduate Assistant for my department (before it was it’s own department). I’m excited for Preview Days, but more to help pass along the legacy of this program that I have a much restored faith in. I am excited to talk to young professionals about their ideas, no matter where they go.
Everybody has a different Preview Days experience, I would recommend you ask anyone you meet when you’re here. It’ll be worth it, there are some good ones.