Interview with Anaid Plasencia, Hamline Senior


Anaid Plasencia, Senior at Hamline, credit to Anaid Plasencia​

There are so many students achieving great things at Hamline, and among them are the seniors, who are about to go off into the world with their experiences. I spoke with one senior to see what she’s has been doing these past three years. Anaid Plasencia is a Global Studies and Political Science major, with a TEFL certificate, and has been a part of the Marketplace of Ideas, Model UN, the McVay Program, and the Spirituality Scholars Program. Read our conversation below.

Me: How does it feel to be in your fourth year? What have you learned as a student or person here/so far?

Anaid: I don’t think it has clicked yet that I am a senior. I’m not nervous yet about life after graduation, which I feel is rare for most seniors. I do think I’m less nervous because I’m a part of a lot of things this year that have kept me busy. I’m taking my time so that I’m not rushed, and I’m taking as many opportunities as I can as well; I’ve learned to take these opportunities as they are given to me. I think my undergrad experience would have been a lot less engaging if i had not taken advantage of what was not in my comfort zone. Students should always try to venture outside their comfort zone.

Me: Are you doing anything interesting this year? What should the world know about you?

Anaid: This year I started an internship at the Iraqi American Reconciliation Project, which is a nonprofit that has made me interested in working locally. It’s providing me with an opportunity for my major but also to work in the Twin Cities gaining new skills. I’m also doing research for Global Studies major. Although I don’t have a concrete title yet, it is on alternative Islamic venues and the globalization of Sufism, and I’m very excited about it. I’ve been attending local gatherings of these communities, so I’ve been spending a lot more time off campus than inside.

Me: What are your plans for after graduation? What are your plans for the near future and for the far future?

Anaid: This year I am planning to explore more, apply to graduate schools and go to info sessions. Currently, I am exploring what Divinity school is and if that would be something I would be interested in applying to. I’m also not going to dismiss the idea of staying in the Twin Cities and find a job, build professional skills, save money and in a few years go to graduate school. If that doesn't work out right away I would like to take the summer to travel the US, maybe see the Redwoods, Grand Canyon, or take photography excursions to revitalize my artistic ability. It would be great to explore academic interests while still stimulating my creativity.

Me: How has your college experience helped you get there?

Anaid: Spiritually, I have grown a lot, which has come from exploring my faith and engaging in Islamic practices. I have been able to question what faith and religion is. This exploration has made me take courses outside of Hamline. I’ve met professors that have challenged and guided me. My undergraduate experience gave me organizational and academic skills, but the social experience of college contributed more to my spiritual growth. That is all why I've looked into Divinity school and the opportunities that may come along with that path.

Me: What advice would you give to incoming seniors about their last year? What about for first-years?

Anaid: I would always try to be very controlling about my life and stress out, but I took a second to think if I was really enjoying classes and what they were providing me. If I’m constantly career focused I might end up losing a lot of opportunities (like religion classes). Don’t focus on your classes as a list to complete your major--be aware of them but don't stick to just them. Classes outside your major can give you additional knowledge. For current juniors, I would tell them to get off campus and explore alternative venues, like coffee shops, community and gatherings, get off campus before you leave the cities or settle down at a job.

Look out for the conclusion of Anaid’s research in the spring. In the meantime, check out the awesome work that other Hamline seniors are doing, and take a moment to think about how your own college experience is changing your outlook for the future.