Advice from outside the Luther bubble

Fran Stevenson

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I left the lovely Luther bubble six months ago to enter the cold real world. This past weekend I visited campus and had some time to reflect on where I am now.

As a Chips alum as well as a Luther alum, I have been following Chips issues regularly to keep up both on news from Luther and to keep an eye on my favorite newspaper. I really enjoyed Jackie Cychosz’s opinion piece on not caring so much about grades. Having been a part of the job market for a bit before committing to my current job through Lutheran Volunteer Corps, I can tell you that I absolutely agree.

In my professional life after Luther, the fact that I have a bachelor’s degree has been far more important than both what I studied and what my grades were. A good portion of my position is networking with other nonprofits and people who volunteer for my organization. The connections I have made with people who I hope will bring me into new professional positions in the future are more curious about where I went to school or if I know that one person they knew who went to Luther.

I know for a fact that the “C” I got in biology, the only “C” I have ever gotten and something I genuinely cried about at the time, factored zero percent into the hiring process for my job; my boss and I have talked about it.

Grades are far less important in the professional world than I felt they were when I was a student. Now if you are considering furthering your education past a bachelor’s degree, grades are pretty important but your first “C,” that panic attack inducing “C,” will not follow you around. No one will know about it or care until you bring it up at a happy hour. Happy hours are also an exciting part of the professional world that I feel the career center does not stress enough but I am not going to get into it right now.

My point is: if my status as an alum and a person with a job in the field I studied in can help you avoid a panic attack about a “C,” this is me telling you: do not have a panic attack about a “C.”

Now that I have casually segwayed into mental health, my next advice is to see a counselor at Luther and talk about mental health with your friends, professors, and even casual acquaintances. I did not talk about my own issues with mental health with my Luther family and I wish I did. All of the semesters I spent on campus at Luther I saw a counselor for a lot of different reasons: depression, anxiety, panic attacks, eating disorders, and even drama with friends and relationships.

There is no shame in counseling, and Luther is doing a lot right in this department by pushing its students towards talking about mental health and counseling. Anxiety and stress do not go away when your senior paper is sitting at the register’s office. I saw a therapist when I was a student and I am seeing one now, the only difference is now I have to pay for it. Your mental health is important, it is okay to act like it.

Treasure your friends and social connections at Luther but also do not stress if you have not found your home here yet. It took me a lot of time and heartbreak to find a group of people on campus that I really felt at home with. I did not get there until my senior year and for a while I felt really alone in the Luther bubble.

I made friends and connections but I did not have the social life that I felt other people did. I spent a lot of my time comparing my life to the people around me and I always came up empty. I know that this is not the case for a lot of people at Luther and I am glad for the tight-knit community that exists at the school that I love.

Maybe you have not found your Luther family yet and maybe you are not someone who will. That is completely and utterly okay even if right now it does not feel like that. There is a life outside of the Luther bubble: I cannot tell you where you will end up but if your experience is anything like mine you will be okay.

Fran Stevenson (‘17

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