Senior Profile: Sam Yates

Image courtesy Sam Yates.Image courtesy Sam Yates.

What is your preferred name and major(s) and minor(s)?

My preferred name is Sam and I am an English major with Economics and Writing minors.

What are some of the jobs you held at McDaniel?

I worked as a CEO ambassador for two years, where I was a resource for students on questions about choosing a major, finding an internship, and writing resumes, among other experiential learning-related activities. I have worked for the Office of Student Engagement for the last three years in several different capacities. I am a three time Parent Preview Guide and I was the Parent Preview Intern the summer of 2015. I worked in the resource center for a year before I was hired as an Engagement Peer. I have worked in that position for the last two years, serving as the New Student Organization Engagement Peer my first year and as the Leadership Engagement Peer this past year.

What organizations were you part of at McDaniel?

My involvement has mostly been in Green Terror Programs where I have served as the Treasurer, Vice President, and President. I am also a member of Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity and several honor societies including Alpha Lambda Delta, Sigma Tau Delta, Phi Beta Kappa, and the Trumpeters. I am a three year student member of the honor and conduct board. Additionally, I am a member of the team that began the composting initiative, which is just recently registered as a student organization as well.

How much did you enjoy your time at McDaniel?

I think that any experience that is such a prolonged period of growth is going to have ups and downs. I think that my time at McDaniel has helped to shape me into a better person with more focused priorities and I am grateful for the experience that I have had here. I certainly enjoyed much of my time at McDaniel, but growth is also at times painful, and so the overall college adventure has been a balance of many different emotions. It is bittersweet to be leaving and I will treasure the well-rounded experience that I have had here.

Who do you think is/was your best mentor(s)?

That is such a difficult question! I have had many wonderful mentors during my time at McDaniel and I am grateful for them all. In the English Department, Dr. Mary and Dr. Dobson have both been my rocks. They are both so welcoming and willing to talk about everything from an upcoming paper assignment and concepts from class that I am struggling with to careers and life and current events. I have grown both professionally and personally through their mentorship.

I found my other mentors at work, where I became close with the CEO and OSE professional staff. Each of them has profoundly affected my life in different ways and I am grateful that they were able to take a very shy young sophomore and help her to the confidence she lacked.

What were some of the challenges you encountered and how did you overcome them?

My biggest challenge is that I tend to take on a few too many tasks at one time. I am not sure I can say that I have overcome this, because it is still very much of a part of who I am. I think that I have learned that the number of activities that I am involved in does not define whether or not I am a good person. I do make it work with my handy dandy planner and google calendar, because I like to be busy and I legitimately enjoy all of the things I am involved in. But in the end, I have learned to prioritize spending time with friends and taking care of myself as just as, if not more important, than the tasks I have committed to.

What are your plans for after graduation?

Immediately after graduation, I am embarking on a 2 month trip to Peru where I will be working with the Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development. I am super excited for this, as I was unable to take advantage of study abroad programs while I was at McDaniel. After that, I am looking at a couple of temporary positions focused on environmental community organizing before I think about graduate school.

What is your best memory at McDaniel? What is your worst memory at McDaniel?

I have so many wonderful memories that it is difficult to pick one. One of my favorite memories is when the Griswold-Zepp grant was awarded to the ladies of the composting initiative team, because that took a lot of hard work but it paid off tenfold. I have less specific favorite memories of going and visiting my mentors during office hours and talking about everything from elections to musicals. I also treasure so many smaller moments of friendship, like baking cookies, walking on the golf course, watching movies, playing Just Dance, eating at the Cup, orchestrating and receiving April Fool’s Day Pranks, and the list goes on and on. My best memories involve the people that I have met here, and I would not trade their friendships for the world.

My worst memory of McDaniel is probably the once a year time crunch of classes. It tends to come about 2 weeks before finals week and everything class has a large assignment due and I inevitably become ill. Fall semester of senior year I had a week with a conference presentation, my capstone presentation, and a 90-page script due all in the same week right at the same time that several of my friends became seriously ill. I have no idea how I got through that week and I would prefer to never relive that again.

What advice can you give to those not graduating?

I would advise those not graduating to take breaks and take care of themselves. Remember that you can’t possibly do everything all at one time and that really is ok. College is a time to continue the lifelong process of figuring out who you are and isn’t meant to be only sunshine and rainbows, so take the less fun experiences as valuable as well. And believe in yourself!

Anything else you want to share with the world?

One of my favorite stories is the star fish story, which involves a man who is walking along the beach at low tide, tossing starfish back into the sea to save their lives. There are thousands of starfish and there is no way to save them all, yet he persists, because he knows he is making a difference to the individual starfish that he is able to save. When I am down, this story reminds me that small positive changes matter and if I all I have done is make one person’s day a little brighter, it is worthwhile. I share that to remind everyone that they matter and mean a lot to those around them, because that is something that is easy to forget and so important to remember.