Heather Haase - A Transfer Who Found Her Home

Heather Haase

24

Kingwood, NJ

Senior / English major, marketing and professional writing minors

 

What is your favorite part of TCNJ?

This is an incredibly corny and exhausted answer, but my favorite part of TCNJ truly is the people. Over the past three years, I have met so many extraordinary individuals. Even though the majority of them grew up in New Jersey, they each bring some of their own unique experiences and perspectives to the College. Through my classes, work and extracurricular activities, I learned multitudes from interacting with these incredible people. Some of those encounters were isolated; I may never see or hear from those people again. Other experiences led to what I believe will be beautiful and lasting friendships. Regardless of the nature of our exchange, I am eternally grateful that I get to carry all of these wonderful memories with me long after I graduate.

 

What is your favorite class you have ever taken?

The best class I have ever taken would have to be Literary Landscapes with Dr. Tarter. In the summer of 2017, my class and I traveled to England, Italy, France, and Spain. We read Romeo and Juliet and then visited Shakespeare’s birthplace as well as fair Verona where the scene was laid. Then, we read Tender is the Night and vacationed on the French Riviera like the Fitzgeralds. Finally, we read The Sun Also Rises, woke up at 4 a.m., and attended the running of the bulls festival in Pamplona. I had traveled to Europe before, but seeing these places through the lens of literature resulted in an entirely different kind of journey.

 

Who has inspired most throughout your college experience?

My maternal grandparents have been a chief inspiration for me throughout my college career, and that inspiration has only grown since I transferred to TCNJ. They met here way back when it was still the Teacher’s College. Their many stories about this place played a part in my decision to come here. Throughout their very full lives, they have made an impact on every community they’ve inhabited, whether it was my parents’ schools, the local government or their retirement community. My grandfather still substitute teaches, and he’s in his 80s! In addition to kicking butt professionally, they have been amazingly supportive grandparents to me and my multitudes of cousins. After every time I visit them, I return to TCNJ feeling motivated to do my best in my classes and give back to the TCNJ community in every way that I can.

 

Source: Heather Haase

 

How do you feel about undergrad coming to a close?

My brain is brimming with a motley collection of emotions. For a long time, I thought this moment could not come soon enough. My college path has been slightly circuitous. I transferred high schools and colleges, which set me back a couple of years on my career path. I also changed majors while at TCNJ, which pushed me back yet another year. Most of my friends from childhood graduated from college three years ago. I used to be very insecure about this, but important people in my life kept reminding me that in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter whether I graduated in 2016 or in 2019. What matters is that I have always taken my education seriously. I’ve always been on the Dean’s List, and have always been involved on campus and its surrounding community. I’ll never feel like I seized every opportunity that came my way, but when I take a moment to reflect, I believe I have made the most of my undergraduate experience.

 

And yet, I also find myself dragging my heels as we approach the big day. I stopped crossing the days off of my calendar a few weeks ago. I struggled to make friends when I first came to TCNJ. Since I have cultivated some meaningful friendships recently, I want to spend another four years filled with long study nights, impromptu happy hours and other unmentionable shenanigans with them.

 

Another aspect of my college experience which complicates my perspective on graduation is that I am staying at TCNJ for another year to earn my master’s degree in English. So in addition to seeing some familiar faces for another year, I don’t have to worry too much about applying for full-time jobs yet. However, most of my close friends are leaving to pursue their careers, so I will definitely miss having them within a mile-long radius of me at all times. TCNJ won’t be the same without them around.

 

What is your proudest accomplishment at TCNJ?

My proudest accomplishment at TCNJ has been watching the transfers I mentored through the Griffin program thrive in the TCNJ community. As mentioned earlier, I had a little bit of a rocky start at the College socially. During my first semester, I focused solely on my academics and would frequently leave campus to spend time with my family and friends from home. I wish I had a little extra push to get me out of my comfort zone sooner so that I would be a little less desperate for time to slow down now. I like to think I enabled at least a few students, whether their love for TCNJ was a byproduct of my annoying emails and icebreakers, or not.

Source: Heather Haase

 

What would you say to prospective TCNJ transfer students?

If I were to speak with a prospective TCNJ transfer student, I would tell him or her to take chances. Of course, he or she is already taking a big chance in switching schools; I respect any and all apprehensions. It can be a scary process because transfers have to simultaneously start all over again while also picking up where they left off. However, even the smallest acts of bravery can yield positive results. During orientation, walk up to that stranger with the cool band tee shirt and strike up a conversation about their next album release. Speak up during class discussion when you don’t agree with someone else’s argument. Get up on stage during karaoke night and sing your favorite song as if you were in the car with your best friend. Take a class with a topic that interests you, even if it doesn’t relate specifically to your major. Lastly, apply to that job or internship, even if you don’t have all the proper qualifications. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. -Wayne Gretzky” -Michael Scott.

 

What is your dream job?

My dream job remains as ephemeral as my nightly dreams. At one moment, I imagine myself working in the publishing industry as a publicist or an editor. The next moment, I want to become a college professor or an administrator. I will get my Ph.D. someday since that is incredibly important to me. In my wildest dreams, I think I would like to be able to comfortably support a family on a snowboarding instructor’s and outdoor magazine contributor’s wage. Alas, I do not believe that is the case.

 

Describe your internship experiences.

I have had two amazing internship experiences during my college career. Last summer, I worked for the FCB Health Network as a copy intern. This experience gave me exposure to what it would be like to work for a top healthcare advertising company based in the city. I worked long hours and did not see much sun, but the hard work paid off. I pitched materials that are actually being used in campaigns across the globe. I loved working in a fast-paced office environment with a bunch of very accomplished and creative people. The office also had a bunch of neat amenities like free food and coffee, giant chess boards and screening rooms to watch the FIFA World Cup during breaks. However, this internship reinforced my suspicion that I am NOT a city person. I like to visit my friends and family who do work and live there, but I couldn’t stand the daily commute and felt very claustrophobic and overwhelmed by all of the skyscrapers. While walking out of Grand Central Station every day surrounded by so many people, I had never felt more alone or insignificant. As a result, I shifted the search for my next internship to smaller towns. This semester, I landed an internship at Princeton University Press as a textbook promotions intern. Though the office is smaller and the pay in publishing is far less than in pharma, the commute is worlds better. Plus, I love what I do and I am guaranteed to have something in common with all the people I work with: a love for books. I’ll always be an academic at my core, so working at an academic press makes sense. I learn something new every day and get to interact with brilliant professors from around the globe.