Undergraduate Admissions

Sasha-Lee Vos's Blog


My Destination

Four years ago I received my high school diploma. A few months later I began another magical journey- one that makes moving on more difficult that I would have ever imagined.

Like in any journey, there are always bumps, crossings or stops. Many turns are unexpected, and there is no way to for-see the road ahead. Sometimes starting the journey takes courage and faith. It’s taking that leap of faith that puts us at a the right destination; where we are supposed to be.

Packing away my life into a few suitcases and unloading it at The University of Scranton in 2010 was a risk. I was vulnerable and unsure of how my “new” life would pan out. What would people think of me? Will I enjoy my time here? Who will I become at the end of this four-year long journey?

With uncertainties and excitement, I entered my freshman year with a leap of faith. But little did I know how wonderful and rewarding that leap would be. Within my first year I become involved in various extra curricular activities, such as working with admissions, becoming an anchor for the Royal Television Network, joining an intramural volleyball team, beginning a on-campus internship, and meeting new people.

From that point on, I carried on my journey with force. It seemed that as each year passed, I got more involved in school. Each experience and new opportunity enabled me to gain something new. I met more people who I could relate to and who shared the same interests. More importantly, I learned more about myself.

See, what makes this university so unique is it’s ability to shape the us students into well-rounded men and women. The endless opportunities and professors/staff we meet along the way help build our characters, and ultimately shape us into who we are.

Being involved in all the clubs/organizations, and additional activities helps a person grow, and I can certainly speak to that.

When I look back to who I was when I first entered freshman year, to now, I see the progress I’ve made. I see how all my encounters with faculty/staff and students have contributed to my growth as a woman.

Reflecting back to the last four years I feel prepared to enter the “real world.” I am confident that I will apply what I’ve learned to my future. The U of S has shaped me into a mature, well-rounded individual, and I owe it to this institution and everyone who has been by my side along this incredible journey.

As I part from this long, memorable road, I look forward to my next journey. I look forward to many more experiences, opportunities, encounters with amazing people and to grow more as a person.

I am grateful for all those who took the time to get to know me for who I am, and for accepting me for ME. I am forever indebted to those who believed me in me when I did not always believe in myself.

No matter where my next journey may lead me, I know that there is always a road leading here, to my second home!

 

 

Expect To Become A Better YOU

In high school I read a quote that is now embedded in my memory. The honest one-lined quote embodies everything I have experienced at The University of Scranton, and more. Holding onto every word written by the legendary Ralph Waldo Emerson, I continue to rehearse the following quote over and over and over again…

“To be yourself in the world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” 

How often are we told growing up to be ourselves; to not let anyone change who we are? Or to stand out in the crowd, rather than blend in? Fighting against the currents of society, peer pressure, “worldly events,” etc., enhances our individualism, doesn’t it?

These statements begin swirling around our heads at a young age. There is pressure on us to balance between being accepted by others and to also carry our own identification. Although my dad’s constant reminder of staying true to who I was was always important to me, it took me a while to truly believe it.

I knew from a very young age that I was different. The words my classmates used differed from mine. Teachers found my ability to communicate and write challenging. Eventually, I realized that my accent made me different, and I did not feel comfortable with this realization.

After the realization I became shy. Presentations and public speaking became my worst nightmares, and I tried my best to get out of doing it. The teacher’s comments on my report cards focused on my inability to “speak up in class” or to “ask questions.” I chose to take a seat back in fear that my classmates would either make fun of my accent, or worse, wouldn’t understand me.

Growing up I always loved to write. I kept journals, wrote stories, made lists and shared my feelings on paper. However, it was not until my sophomore year of high school that I fell in love with public speaking, too.

I attended a year-long acting and modeling class that met twice a month. From this experience, I learned how to speak in front of people, models, teachers, judges and a camera. Although this helped, I contribute my new-found love for speaking to my high school English teacher.

He emphasized the importance of having a voice and using it not only in class, but in public, too. He wanted all of us to participate in my high school’s Speech Competition, where students would write and deliver a speech in class and the teacher would choose the best one. After that, the selected students would speak in front of the entire school at the auditorium during “Morning Meeting.” From that pool, one student would win the Speech Award.

Obviously nervous, but working hard on my confidence and ability to pronounce words properly, I built up the courage to present my speech in class. To my surprise, my teacher selected me as the “winner.” When it was time to speak in front of my school, that was when the nerves and anxiety became (at least to me) rampant.

I must have been OK though, because at the end of the competition, I was presented with the award for the winner of the Speech Competition. It was at this point that I realized two important things:

1. I wanted to continue a career in communication and public speaking, and

2. That speaking the way I do does not and will not impede me from being who I am, nor will it negatively set me apart from others.

I carried this mind set and my realizations with me throughout college, and since then I have proudly remained being me- accent and all! I never gave into the peer pressure of doing what “everyone else is doing.” I never looked at myself wishing I spoke differently.

The University accepted me for who I am- for my beliefs, values, behavior, character and even for my accent. I truly believe that if I tried to be someone I am not, I could not have succeeded that way I have. Anyone can expect to become a better them when attendning the University.

My last four years here have taught me the importance of being myself- for that is the greatest accomplishment.

When Reality Hits

Just when I thought I prepared myself for the next and last month ahead, reality hit. The realization that this Thursday marks one month until I receive my diploma has finally made an impact on me.

While I feel confident that the University of Scranton has helped mold me into a smart, determined and self-motivated young lady, there is still anxiety knowing that soon this will “no longer” be my home.

As students often claim, The U of S is “a home away from home.” It is a place of comfort and familiarity; of security and warmth. The professors, staff and students become family. The city becomes your backyard. The sounds become your background music.

During your time here you build a home, and at some point during the four or more years here you embrace all that the school offers. You get involved in service trips or sports. You secure a study area, where you often go to. You attend events that the University of Scranton Programming Board plans. You jump into the pool of endless opportunities, and this is how the memories begin to build.

Reflecting back you realize just how much you were involved in. Better yet, you understand just how important those moments were. Those opportunities are stitched together, eventually forming a blanket that you take with you post graduation.

That blanket is your comfort. No matter where you may go in life you carry it with you to remind you of your experience9s) here. More importantly than that, it serves as a reminder that no matter where you may find yourself, the University is always a place to come back to; a place that will always keep you safe, secure and warm.

Sometimes facing reality is scary. Leaving behind a familiar place filled with loving people is not easy. However, it’s reassuring finding comfort in that the University will always be our second home no matter what the distance.

The reality is that I will be graduating in one month. This is a real thing happening in my life. However, in order to build onto my blanket I need to go into the real world and begin stitching. It was here that I began my journey, and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

“Not Where I Breath, But Where I Love, I Live”

Opportunities Are Endless

For the past two years I’ve had the amazing opportunity of interning at The Office of Community Relations on campus. I’ve manage to gain first hand experience, plan events in coordination with downtown Scranton, and be a part of various programs (Royal Card Purchasing Program, Show It, Save It).

Working as an intern for the talented Julie Cohen has expanded my knowledge and enriched my communication and organizational skills. During the last two years I’ve also built relationships with downtown business owners.

During November 2013 I was walking downtown handing out fliers for some event we were doing. At one retailer downtown, I conversed with one business owner. He discussed how he wanted to help make students more aware of what Scranton has to offer (the many retailers and restaurants). His plan was to create an event that involved a few retailers who would offer refreshments and a chance for students to shop.

From then on my wheels began to turnm and I came up with a catchy title, Shop Hop. After presenting it to Julie, she offered to support the idea/event, and suggested that students plan this event.

After months and months of planning and re-planning, of constant contact with Scranton retailers and many visits downtown, this Saturday, April 26 will be the first Downtown Scranton Spring Shop Hop!

With the help from The Office of Community Relation and Scranton Tomorrow, the Public Relations Student Society of America Scranton Chapter, was able to plan and execute this wonderful event!

Five of us from the club, including myself, remained dedicated to this event. Of course planning the event did not pan out the way we would’ve like it to, but we managed to pull through. There were challenges and mishaps, but with endurance and teamwork we were able to successful plan it.

For the last few weeks we have heavily advertised the Downtown Scranton Spring Shop Hop by the creation of posters, reminder sheets (distributed on-campus and in the dining hall), an iTower, my.scranton portal announcements, the creation of a Facebook event, Facebook posts and even Instagram.

Seeing this event come together bit by bit is a privilege. The University, and especially Julie’s office, saw potential in this event. They saw potential in students. They handed us the torch and allowed us to use our creativity to successfully plan the event.

Students are not only allowed to present their ideas, just like I had, but they are encouraged to act on them. This experience has demonstrated the support faculty, staff and professors give the students here, and that is why The University of Scranton has become my second home.

To view the Downtown Scranton Spring Shop Hop Facebook Event click here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1438266023080980/

He’s Alive

When we think “Easter” we think bunnies, straw baskets, an overflow of chocolate-shaped bunnies and eggs, pastel colors and flowers. We grow up participating in Easter Egg Hunts and indulging in fine foods and tasty sweets with family and friends.

Many of us growing up also attended a mandatory mass or Easter Service with family members. Over the years, it has become a tradition.

On Easter Sunday, churches are filled to their capacity, and, like Christmas time, it is the most people a church sees in one day.

I confess that I don’t attend church every Sunday, but growing up I did. I spent two hours each Sunday reading and listening to the Bible. Attending Church on Easter was just another day at Church, except the message was more important (and the congregation was much larger).

I find it sad that people feel it is only necessary to devote a day to Jesus on a holiday, when in fact they should commit themselves to him every day of their lives. I don’t want to preach to you, but if we praise and worship him on the day he was resurrected, surely we can praise him every other day and Sunday too?

My pastor’s message on Sunday circulated around this idea of Jesus being alive. For when he died on the cross he took away our sins and rose again from the tomb. One phrase he stated that stuck out to me most was this: The stone was not rolled away for Jesus to get out. It was rolled away so we could get in.

Jesus accepts us into his heart. He has forgiven us of our sins. Easter Sunday reminds us of this, and how we need to accept him into OUR hearts.

When we look around at the spring flowers, the sunshine and small children we are reminded that he is alive, and that he will forever live.

So although chocolates and Easter bunnies are exciting, Jesus’ resurrection is even more thrilling! It is important to look around and be reminded of his sacrifice and his never ending love for us!

The Right Choice

Campus was lively this past weekend when high-school seniors and their families decided to attend Accepted Students Day. Each Spring, high-schools who have been accepted to The University of Scranton visit us one last time before making a decision.

Seeing all the smiling faces and laughter, brought back some fond memories. As students, we all experience the mix of emotions when first stepping food on a campus. You ask yourself if you can see yourself there. Can I see myself calling this my home? Are these enrolled students like me?

There is a mixture of anxiety and uncertainty, but above all there is a feeling of excitement. A new journey awaits prospectives students. When they get “that feeling” when they step foot on campus, a wave of positive emotions crash into them.

During Accepted Student’s Day, also known as Preview Day, I worked at the Student Government table. One boy and his mother came up to the table to talk to me and the fellow senators. They asked us a variety of questions.

As we said our good-byes I shook the young man’s hand and told him, “make sure you make the right choice!” At that moment I was aware of what I said and what it meant. All I know is that I meant it, and it certainly got me thinking.

Why is attending The U of S the “right” choice? What makes it “right?” It didn’t take me long to find the answers.

The U is my second home. It has become a place of comfort and my security. Those who’ve I’ve built relationships with have become my family. We’ve shared memories.

Students who graduate become better, well-rounded individuals who are prepared to set the world on fire. They are ready to take on any challenge. They are sure to continue fighting for social justice, while being men and women for others.

There is something very special about this university, and I recommend every senior to come visit our campus, and see for themselves why this is the right choice.

“Not where I breath, but where I love, I live.”

Everything is Earned

A few weeks ago I mentioned how I stepped outside my comfort zone by going on the Divinely Designed retreat. Eager to do it again, I decided to attend a service trip during Spring Break. Never having participated in one before, I was both anxious and excited to see what the week would bring.

Last Sunday six of us journeyed off to the open lands of Gaston, North Carolina. Once there, we drove to KIPP: Gaston College Preparatory Public School, where we would be spending our week. We were greeted by one of the teachers, Mr. M, who became a great host and friend.

After touring the school and what would become our home for the next week, we set up camp and slept at KIPP for the first night. I was already out of my comfort zone, but I (along with my other group members) embraced it. After all, this was a service trip and all that mattered was that we were giving up our time to help others.

Monday morning we were up before the sun peaked through the windows. By 7:30 a.m. all the teachers and students piled in, and first period began (side-note: the students attended school from 7:30-5 every day!). My group and I were given a list of tasks, and we immediately began dividing them up and completing each.

Tasks ranged from anything from tutoring high school students or reading to kindergarteners, to laminating and grading AP Physic exams. Mr. M doubted that we would complete the list on day one, but we proved him wrong. In fact, our small group worked hard to complete each list every day, and the teachers were amazed at our work ethic!

During our week at KIPP, I learned that the University of Scranton students work hard. We put all our effort and passion into accomplishing goals, especially when it comes to service.

The most rewarding part about this trip was the appreciation we received. Each day teachers, some whom we did not even help, thanked us for being there. Children welcomed us into their classrooms, delighted to have us read to them or proof-read their papers. Students smiles at us and hugged us when we left.

One afternoon, I tutored a junior, Darius, during his lunch period. I was helping him with his research paper, which focused on Modernization. We went through each paragraph, developed transitional sentences and together perfected his paper. At the end of lunch and our time together, he stood up, held out his hand and humbly said,           “Thank you, ma’am.” That was enough for me.

Taking time out of your busy life to make others’ lives better is one of the most rewarding and satisfying gestures. Making a life easier, even if it’s grading papers for a teacher or tutoring a young boy, spreads compassion and love.

Sometimes it takes courage or stepping out of your comfort zone to experience this, but it is worth it. Hearing genuine “thank yous” is all it takes to make you realize how important it is to be men and women for others.

KIPP’s mission statement was painted on a wall in the middle school. It reads:

“The mission of KIPP Gaston College Preparatory is to empower all of our students with the skills, knowledge and character necessary to strengthen their communities, success at the colleges of their choice and fight for social justice.”

May we all remember to serve others, to take time out of our lives to lend a hand and most importantly to continue to fight for social justice.

image-2

 

 

Sunny Scranton

Ah at last- A beautiful, sunny, blue-sky Scranton! Sleeveless shirts, pulled up hair, smiling faces and positive moods. Spring is upon us and campus is celebrating.

I first noticed the weather when I woke up to a glowing window. The sun shone threw the blinds, onto my desk. My room felt like a sparkling, glowing “Spring Globe.”

I immediately hopped out of bed and opened up my window. There is nothing better than the sounds of chirping birds, and the fresh smell of spring.

Stepping outside was when the realization hit- it was spring! A slight breeze kissed my face, the sun was blinding and there was laughter. People appeared happier and livelier. It was evident that this warm, March day was being enjoyed by all of campus.

It’s funny how the weather determines a person’s behavior and attitudes. People smile more, they seem friendlier and  more outgoing. Additionally, campus as a whole becomes a happier bubble.

What is more shocking to me (and exciting to watch) is the effect the weather has on a person’s purchasing habit. In winter a person is more likely to buy coffee, tea, or soup. As soon as the temperature increases and the sun peaks out, everyone is sipping on ice-coffees, passion fruit-lemonades, and crunching on fresh, green salads.

Within fifteen  seconds of being on second floor DeNaples this morning, I literally saw between 4-7 ice-coffees in the hands of students. When people think spring or summer, they unconciously crave and buy ice cold drinks, especially from Starbucks.

Although every day may not be as sunny and warm as today (at least for the time being), hopefully we all remember how wonderful and more enjoyable it is when we are blessed with this weather!

Peace, Love, Sunshine.

Divinely Designed

What makes me, ME? Why was I designed to look this way? Is there a reason for my imperfections or my flaws? For the reflection I see in the mirror is someone I don’t truly love, or do I?

Women are created in various shapes, colors, and size. We do not share the same paths, or have the same interests. But one similarity we do share is our ability to overlook how truly beautiful we are; to appreciate each and every part that simply makes us, US.

Two years ago a graduate from the University of Scranton noticed that our student body was actively involved in retreats at the Chapman Lake house. Retreats range from Search, to FIRST,to  a Silent Retreat and even a Harry Potter one!

She noticed, however, that there had never been a women’s retreat. After a year of planning, a women’s retreat, Divinely Designed, was introduced in 2013.

This past weekend I stepped outside my comfort zone, let go of all my stress and worries and joined a team of 40-50 girls to discover- or rediscover- myself. As soon as I stepped into the lake house, captured by it’s grand windows that overlooked the lake, I felt at ease. I felt comforted and free to break down any walls I built around me.

Tranquility surrounded me over the weekend. I was given the chance to clear my head of negative thoughts, and to focus on ME; To really sit with myself and evaluate all parts of ME.

I surrounded myself with beautiful women of all ages and learned about each of their unique, straight and bumpy journeys. It was a moment where we all felt safe to let go.

Without giving away too many secrets about the retreat, I will share a quote that best summarizes Divinely Designed:

Be silent. Be still. Alone. Empty. Before your God. Say nothing. Ask nothing. Be silent. Be still. Let your God look upon you. That is all. God knows. God understands. God loves you with an enormous love. And only wants to look upon you with that Love. Quiet. Still. Be. Let your God- Love you.

Campus Ministry and the University of Scranton (along with all the student leaders!) do a superb job in organizing retreats. It is a unique aspect, and it encompasses what this institution is all about.

So let go and know your worth. You are beautiful- ALL women are beautiful.

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

I intern at The Office of Community Relations here at the University. My role is to help organize, promote and execute off-campus events, and to engage students more with downtown Scranton. While talking to my supervisor’s secretary, she informed me that she recently stepped outside her comfort zone.

Instead of eating the usual, comfort food, she chose to eat a different cuisine. For her birthday she chose to step outside her comfort zone by trying food she’s never eaten. The result? Not only did she thoroughly enjoy her meal, she continues to push herself to try things that would once make her feel uncomfortable, too.

Placing ourselves outside the familiar walls that surrounds us allows us to experience moments we never thought we would. For many, it is a fear to let go of securities and submerge into unfamiliar circumstances. For others, it is a thrill to step into mystery, waiting for a new wave to immerse them.

Others argue that if a person is already comfortable, then there is no need to interrupt that and creates discomfort. I argue that comfort leads to laziness, followed by demotivation.

My supervisor’s secretary’s story of placing herself into an uncomfortable situation made me realize that we unknowingly do the same during our time here at The University.

From the very first day we step foot on campus, to the day we join a club, we are stepping outside our comfort zones. We’ve never experienced college life, nor been exposed to so many people. We learn to adjust to our new zone.

Doing so exposes us to more and helps us grow as an individual. We open ourselves up to new possibilities; we expand our knowledge. We learn more about our self-interests, our likes and dislikes.

The U of S stresses the importance of being actively involved, and rightfully so. Being involved in clubs or athletics, or taking classes we wouldn’t usually take only pushes us to step outside our comfort zones, ultimately shaping us into better, well-rounded individuals.

This weekend I plan to step outside my own comfort zone by participating in a retreat. During my four years here, this will be my first time going on a retreat. I do not know what to expect, nor what the retreat entails.

This week do something you wouldn’t usually do. Don’t be afraid of it! EMBRACE IT!