Meet Anna Benjamin, a 2022 graduate of Bloomington Jefferson High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Anna is currently attending Oberlin College, a private liberal arts college in Oberlin, Ohio. Anna was drawn to Oberlin for many reasons, including its academically rigorous curriculum and its history of being politically active. Anna is majoring in Politics and Hispanic Studies with a concentration in International Affairs. Her best tip? Reach out if you are struggling!
What have you enjoyed most about your college experience?
There are a lot of things I have enjoyed! One thing I am really grateful for is the opportunity to learn about subjects and specific topics that I hadn’t known about earlier. I get these opportunities both inside and outside the classroom. I can take specialized classes and really hone my interests by working with professors. I also have learned a great deal from my peers. Hearing about what my friends are passionate about is always fun, and it has helped me discover my own passions.
What has been surprising to you about your college?
People want to help me succeed! I’ve known this, but it never ceases to surprise me how supportive people can be. Of course, I can only speak to my college experience, but it’s been so helpful to have professors and friends who will take the time to help me overcome the obstacles I’ve encountered.
What specific major are you studying? What experiences/classes have confirmed this is a good choice for you?
I am studying Politics and Hispanic Studies. Both of these majors were pretty obvious to me after my first year. I enjoyed my classes in these subjects and have made strong connections with professors in these fields. There are SO many fields that interest me, and I am lucky to take courses from outside my majors, but ultimately these are the two that I see a career and passion in. This summer, I am working as an intern for a campaign and will be doing research on electoral politics. This is my first real concrete political experience, and I am looking forward to it. As of now, I am interested in policy analysis, but I want to explore all the different areas of politics before I declare what I want to do after graduation.
What is your best tip for making the most of the first year of college?
Everyone struggles in the first year. I am so glad to have found my people (both academically and socially), but it takes time! My best advice is to reach out. Professors understand and want to help you, and your peers are likely dealing with the same issues. Also, join a club for something that interests you! It’s a great way to make friends and also a way to get a good school/life balance. Don’t expect to have it all figured out in your first year, I’m halfway through my second and still find myself struggling sometimes. Don’t be scared to ask for help because that’s how you’ll get through it.
What advice would you give high school students searching for the right fit?
In my opinion, there is more than one right place for everyone. I felt a lot of pressure when making my decision to find the perfect college, it would have been a lot less stressful if I had known that there were many perfect places for me. A lot of the college experience is what you make it, and I could have had a good experience in many places. When it does come down to making a choice, go with your gut!! Where you go to college is not a determinant of the rest of your life, so choose somewhere that’ll make you happy and give you a chance to grow.