Senior Profile: Sami Wilson

Photo courtesy of Sami Wilson.

What is your preferred name?

Most people call me Sami, but I don’t care if they call me Samantha.

What is your major and minor?

I am a French and Political Science double major with an international studies focus.

What are some of the jobs you held while at McDaniel?

Oh, buddy. I worked as a Shift Lead at the Phone Center for three semesters. I’ve been a Writing Tutor for the Writing Center since my freshman year. I worked as a Student Ambassador for the International Programs office for the semester before I went to France. I worked for Admissions for two semesters.

What organizations were you a part of at McDaniel? What positions did you hold?

I have been part of Global Fellows for the past three years, holding a variety of colloquium discussion leader and committee positions; I have been a student juror on the Honor and Conduct Board for the past four years; a Peer Mentor and Project Team Leader for the 2015-2016 First Year Program. Probably something else, but I don’t remember. I am the chair of the Marketing and Branding Committee for the Writing Center.

Did you enjoy your time at McDaniel? How?

My time at McDaniel has been very well spent, in my opinion. When McDaniel was suggested to me as a place to apply by an alumna, she specifically told me that McDaniel is a college that gives back what you put into it–if I had really wanted to slide through the cracks, I could have. However, I knew that when I made the decision to come here, I was going to put my heart into growing myself as not only a student, but as a person. I believe that if I hadn’t invested my time in McDaniel and forming the relationships with my peers and professors, I would be less ‘full’ as an individual.

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

In my opinion, a combination of Dr. Baage, Dr. Motard-Noar, and Dr. Scullion are my best mentors at McDaniel. An important quality of a mentor is not only to provide unwavering support, but the willingness to be a source of intellectual challenges. The French department has been with me since my first day at McDaniel, and both of these women have pushed me to become a deeper analytical thinker. Dr. Scullion, while he hasn’t been my academic advisor officially, has contributed tremendously to my professional career development and has been a strong guiding force in developing my passions and character.

What is your best memory at McDaniel?

My best memory would definitely be every single time school was conveniently cancelled.

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

I struggled with homesickness my freshman year, because my family was all the way across the country; I also struggled with finding my solid group of friends. I joined a sorority because I thought it would help–it has been more of a social stress for the past four years, and while I have made some lifelong friends in the group, I never found myself convinced by the ‘sisterhood.’ To overcome these challenges, I redirected my energy to focus on my studies and to improve myself as not only an academic but as a citizen. Finding solidarity in solitude is a sad statement to make, but by becoming a stronger person, I attracted people who shared the same values that I did, therefore making my community.

What are your plans for after graduation?

I am a Fulbright scholar, so I will be spending the next year in Côte d’Ivoire, working with the American embassy and a local university to enhance intercultural learning and teaching English. After I come back, I have the goal of applying to either graduate or law school; I want to do something with the environment, women’s rights, and non-profit development.

What advice can you give to those not graduating?

Honestly, you will reach a point where you will feel the pressure of all your obligations pressing down upon you, and you will feel like all that you’re doing is not going to be enough in the end; this is wrong. No one cares about GPA after college, no one cares if you were the president of whatever sorority, no one cares if you made it into that honors society. What people care about is whether or not you are a competent adult with useful skills and initiative.

Is there anything else you want to share with the McDaniel community?

Just remember that this is a temporary bubble in every regard–you have four years to foster your defining qualities and experiences, so don’t let the trivial shit get you down. Bigger and better, my dudes.