Senior Spotlight: Jessica Levy: American Sign Language/English Interpreting major


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My experience at Bloomsburg over the last four years has definitely been an up-and-down and all-over-the-place kind of journey. When I first came in as a freshman I was really ready and eager to get started, and I think because of my interest in the program, it led me to working really hard without feeling as though I was.

I joined all three of the clubs related to sign language (interpreter club, signify, and IMAGE), made Dean’s List that first semester (which if you knew me in high school this was a massive achievement for me). That year I felt well-balanced between my classes, extracurriculars, and social life. However, like most students, as I advanced through my program and the work became more extensive and time-consuming, it started becoming more difficult for me. My grades slipped, I spent less time with friends, I sacrificed extracurriculars to devote more of myself to projects and papers.

At times, I struggled with questioning why I wanted to be in this field, and if I was going to make it even, but the more practice with realistic interpreting experiences, the more calm and confident I feel with my initial decision to pursue interpreting. So now that it’s senior year, and I’m almost done, but I have to say I still struggle at times. Despite that, I feel like I’m ready to graduate and get shoved out into the real world anyway.

Something I want to share with others is that it’s okay to struggle — to be unsure of yourself, to question your choices, to not be perfect. It’s all part of learning and growing. You will face challenges, be in classes you aren’t prepared for, be thrown into situations you aren’t ready for, but there’s a point to it, I promise. As long as you remind yourself, ‘you got this,’ and keep going, you’ll be okay.

After graduation, I plan on traveling for a while. Personally, I just need some time off, some time for me and only me, before I jump into working and being a real live adult. I can’t say 100 percent where I’ll end up or what I’ll be doing after that if I’m being honest. It may be back home, working as an ASL interpreter in the education setting, doing some writing on the side, or it may not be (though it probably will be). For the past four years, here at Bloomsburg, I followed a schedule, I did my work, and I was graded on it. I’m looking forward to doing it my way.

I have so much advice to offer other students, I’m not sure where to begin. I guess the most important bit of advice I can give is to keep in mind that grades are not everything. Are they important? Yes, of course. But they are not everything. Don’t let grades or feedback make you doubt yourself. Don’t let them take over your life.

Do the work, try your very hardest, put in the effort. But don’t overexert yourself. You don’t want to burnout before you even graduate. Something else to keep in mind — lean on your peers. They are in your shoes, they’re facing some of the same challenges and experiences that you are.

Start study groups, go on nights out together, set up group chats to ask questions or just chat or whatever. They can be your lifeline in college.

Remember to dip your toes in different waters, too. Join clubs that have nothing to do with your classes, just for fun, to get to know more people, to do something other than the same old stuff you’re learning.

If you’re a Communication Studies major, but you like music, join choir. If you’re a Spanish major, but you like astronomy, take the elective. But don’t spread yourself too thin. Leave a little room for yourself to relax a bit.

And lastly, have fun. These four years really do fly by, so make the most of it. You’re here to learn and to prepare yourself for what lies ahead, but it can also be some of the best four years if you let it.