Before he arrived on campus, Jackson Mischler ’24 had big expectations for HWS. His mom Linda ’83, brother Lucas ’20, grandfather Ronald Fitts ’52, aunt Margaret Fitts ’86 and cousin Rebecca Coons ’06 are all graduates of the Colleges. Promises kept, Mischler found a supportive community, a cool mentor, and a new interest in environmental studies. He has also excelled in writing, landing a spot in the Writing Colleagues Program.
What’s the biggest difference between being a high school student and a college student?
The biggest difference is the tremendous amount of independence, control and responsibility college students suddenly have in every aspect of their lives—from course selections, clubs, sports, and social activities to friend groups, meal options and even how best to keep up with laundry. The extensive course catalog was another difference between high school and college. There are so many interesting options, taught by great professors, that students can not only follow their current interests, but expand their knowledge in new directions. I entered college on a pre-law track, which I am still pursuing, but I have also been drawn to Environmental Studies, the topic of my First-Year Seminar, and am now considering a minor in that area.
Best part about living in a residence hall?
My favorite part of living in a residence hall–Jackson 2 in JPR–was meeting so many awesome people. It was great to have not only a super-inclusive floor that quickly became close friends, but also to meet a lot of people in adjoining dorms–Potter and Rees–whom I could visit without ever leaving the building!
The class I enjoyed most was my First-Year Seminar, “Sustainable Living and Learning” taught by Professor of Environmental Studies Darrin Magee. The small class helped me adjust to the dynamics of a college classroom and, most importantly, to think critically about environmental issues and human consumption. The semester-long project was an opportunity for students to conduct in-depth research on the lifecycle of an everyday item. I chose chocolate milk and was astounded at the impact this seemingly mundane item has on the environment. The class was always engaging and included field trips to locations like the local egg co-op “Geneva Peeps” and the forest surrounding HWS, where we took soil samples.
Have you connected with a faculty/ staff member?
I got to know all of my professors very well by attending their office hours. I also developed a close working relationship with my FSEM Professor Darrin Magee who is, without a doubt, the coolest teacher I have ever had. His life includes studying hydropower in China, taking his sidecar motorcycle out for a drive, learning to play the banjo, and making pear cider with our class using pears he grew himself on his farm. I am extremely excited that I will get to relive my days in Professor Magee’s SLLC FSEM while serving as a writing colleague in his class next year.
Favorite spot on campus?
My favorite spot on campus is the Admissions Office, where I have been spending a lot of time since becoming an O’Laughlin Ambassador (campus tour guide). The office is located in a beautiful, historic building on Seneca Lake and has spectacular views that never get old. Adding to this spot’s allure is the fact that it is often loaded with snacks and HWS swag!
Where have you found a community on campus?
I have found community all over campus. The HWS community is full of friendly, considerate people, from professors and students, to RAs, staff and administrators. My first-year residence hall, of course, was the first place I felt a sense of community. Since then, I have gotten to know so many awesome people through activities including the Writing Colleagues Program, my work at the Admissions Office, and my participation on the HWS Debate team. Free flowing, small-class discussions are also a good way to get to know classmates, and those discussions often spill over into other areas on campus, or are continued during group projects. Some of my fondest “community” memories involve hanging out with friends in my residence hall or a downtown restaurant, swimming in the lake, and meeting with professors one-on-one in their offices.
What’s something you’re proud of yourself for accomplishing?
I am proud of all that I have accomplished during my first year on campus. Some highlights include being nominated for the first-year writing prize, becoming an O’Laughlin Ambassador, becoming an RA, and joining the Writing Colleagues Program.
What have you learned about yourself this year?
The biggest thing I learned about myself this year is that with the right amount of ambition, planning, and perseverance I can accomplish almost anything I set my mind to.