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Episode Notes | Episode Transcript | AskTheGuest

 Hi Fives (5 Highlights)  3-Minute Listen

Emma Steele is a graduate of Villanova University with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Government.

Emm’s story is about a teenager who took the bold step of transferring from UW Madison to Villanova after her freshman year.

At Villanova she found her rhythm in the classroom, made friends and pursued her passion for Community Outreach at Villanova (COV). Emma’s summer internship opened up opportunities on Capitol Hill after college.

Hi-Fives from the Podcast are:

  1. “Loved Villanova”
  2. Transferring to Villanova
  3. “Better” Academic Transition
  4. Working at a Women’s Shelter
  5. Advice to Aspiring Students

Episode Notes

Episode Title: Emma Steele on Villanova: PolSci, Community Outreach and Basketball Ball Games.

Episode summary introduction: Emma was very artistically inclined in school. She was a dancer. She played the piano, violin, and participated in musicals in high school. Emma grew up in a family where Politics and Policy were dinner time conversations.

Emma Steele is a graduate of Villanova University with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Government.

In particular, we discuss the following with her:

  • Why UW Madison?
  • Transferring to Villanova
  • Majoring in PolSci
  • Community Outreach at Villanova
  • Advice to Aspiring Students

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Introduction to Emma Steele, Villanova [0:50]
  • Hi Fives - Podcast Highlights [1:46]
  • “Loved Villanova” [4:55]
  • Why UW Madison? [6:01]
  • High School Interests [9:19]
  • Tough Transition to UW Madison [10:46]
  • Why Transfer? [12:31]
  • The Villanova Transition [14:57]
  • “Better” Academic Transition [16:36]
  • Friendly Peers & Classmates [18:09]
  • The Profs [19:10]
  • Off Campus Living [20:29]
  • Women’s Shelter, Campus Publication, etc. [22:14]
  • Summers in Politics [25:04]
  • Majoring in PolSci and Gov [26:41]
  • Villanova’s Impact on Career [28:07]
  • Working on Capitol Hill [29:37]
  • Villanova Redo? [33:30]
  • Advice to Aspiring Students [35:01]
  • Memories: Basketball Traditions [37:26]

Our Guest: Emma Steele is a graduate of the Villanova University with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Government.

Memorable Quote: “It's okay to transfer if you don't like where you are. I think I felt a lot of shame and thought I was a failure because I transferred when in reality, it's your experience, you know, ...it's four of the most pivotal years of your life.

Episode Transcript: Please visit Episode’s Transcript.

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Episode Transcript

Transcript of the episode’s audio.

Emma Steele 0:14

You know, it's pretty well known, Villanova is a big basketball school. And included in our tuition, luckily, was season tickets for students for all the basketball games. So you had, to, to go into a lottery to get tickets. But I think one of my favorite memories, you know, games will be on Tuesdays and Thursday nights, I think.

So I get out of my Tuesday night class, and I'd meet up with my friends at the pavilion, which is where they played all the games. And we would just like go and watch the basketball game, which was just so much fun.

Venkat  0:50  [Introduction to Emma Steele, Villanova]

Emma Steele is a graduate of Villanova University with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Government.

Emma was very artistically inclined in school.

She was a dancer. She played the piano, violin, and participated in musicals in high school.

So, it might come as a surprise that she studied Political Science and Government in college.

Did I mention that Emma grew up in a family where Politics and Policy were dinner time conversations?

Emma joins us today, to share how she got to Villanova, being a Transfer Student and her undergraduate experiences there.

Before we jump into the podcast, here are the High-Fives,  Five Highlights from the podcast:

Emma  1:46  [Highlights - Hi Fives]

[“Loved Villanova”]

I loved my Villanova experience, you know, I was there. I was there for three years. I wish I could have been there longer. I met some of my best friends at Villanova that I still hang out with, talk with today. And just the lessons I learned from Villanova.

[Transferring to Villanova]

And so I added, on a whim decided to look at Villanova. It had come up on all my college searches on you know, a smaller school that would offer financial aid for transfer students. Because not a lot of schools don't offer [aid], at least when I was in college, and this was in 2012. They did not have any aid, for finding or, for transfer students, you had to pretty much find your own way to pay for it.

So I applied to Villanova. I got him in like June. And they offered me so much financial aid that like it was, it was an automatic Yes!

[“Better” Academic Transition]

I got better grades at Villanova. Just because I think my mental health was in a better place. But it was, you know, I never felt like I was falling behind if the one that I'll even having to to overbooked my semester. It's just because professors, they're all always so ready to help you.

 

[Working at a Women’s Shelter]

These were kids who were in the Philadelphia public school system, and really just needed some stability in their lives. So we got to hang out with them. Every Thursday, we got to hang out with the moms every Thursday. And it was such a good experience just to, we did arts and crafts, we read books, we played basketball outside, and we got to know the people who ran the shelter, we got to know the families there really well.

[Advice to Aspiring Students]

And it's four of the most pivotal years of your life, you really grow in college. So you want it to be a good experience. You don't want to regret spending all the money that you did, and somewhere where you didn't enjoy. So I think that's my big thing that, you know, try. Try to figure out as much as you can at that point in your life, what, what you will enjoy, but even if it's not what you wanted, it's okay to transfer it and try something new.

Venkat Raman  3:58  

Now, I'm sure you want to hear the entire podcast with Emma. So without further delay, over to Emma Steele.

Venkat Raman  4:07

First of all, let me welcome you to our podcast College Matters. Alma Matters. 

Emma  4:12  

Thanks for having me.

Venkat Raman  4:14  

Absolutely. Absolutely. I'm looking forward to talking about your college experience. And as we chatted, this is a case where you transferred from University of Wisconsin Madison to Villanova. So we're really interested in sort of talking about it.

So if you're ready, let's just jump right into it.

Emma  4:35  

Yeah. So do you want me to start with, with how I got to Wisconsin?

Venkat Raman  4:41  

Well, why don't we start with a little bit of perspective, why don't you tell us a little bit about, you know, looking back, what does your Villanova experience look like? And then we can sort of go back in time and work our way back.

Emma  4:55  [“Loved Villanova”]

Yeah, I loved my Villanova experience. You know, I was there. I was there for three years, I wish I could have been there longer. I made some of my best friends at Villanova that I still hang out with, talk with, today. And just the lessons I learned from Villanova and just College in general, right? You're living on your own. You are, you're responsible for feeding yourself or getting to class. And Villanova does a really good job of preparing students for the real world. There's a really big community feel of Villanova.

It's a Catholic University. So it's, they're, they're very rooted in their values. And they take the values of being a Catholic and, and apply that to, to their, their education and your real life. So you, you really leave Villanova, I believe just a better, a better person in general.

Venkat Raman  5:55  

Why did you initially pick University of Wisconsin Madison? How did that come about?

Emma  6:01  [Why UW Madison?]

Yeah, so I'm originally from Pennsylvania, actually, so not from the Midwest. My dad went to Wisconsin, so grew up a Badgers fan, we would go to Wisconsin every year to go to football games, you know, basketball games. We just we grew up really big fans. And I loved Madison and I loved the campus. I, I went into my senior year of high school, very like, zoned in on what kind of college I wanted to go to.

So in my mind, I thought I wanted to go to a really big school that had big classes, a big football program, just to be able to have that type of like game days on Saturdays, and to be able to meet a lot of new people and kind of be a small fish in a in a big pond was what I thought I wanted. And I loved Madison, it's a really good school, I was a political science major. And Wisconsin is one of the top schools in the country for policy majors. You know, it's, it's in the capital of Wisconsin, so I knew that I would have a lot of great opportunities when I went there.

And then, so I'm the youngest of three girls. So my two older sisters had both applied to Wisconsin and hadn't gotten in. So when I got in, it was like, Okay, I gotta go. The lone person who got in so she's, she's gonna have to go to Wisconsin. So I found out like, oh, man, probably, like, early January of my senior year that I had gotten in, I don't think I hadn't really heard back from one other school at that point that I had applied to.

And I think I sent my deposit in like a week later, like, I was very certain that that's where I wanted to go to school. So yeah, that's how I ended up there. And I stayed for a year. And I started to notice in, in like, the fall of my time at Wisconsin that actually did not like being a little fish in a big pond.

It's really hard to go from, I'm a pretty, I was a pretty involved student, I was really close to all my teachers, I love learning. And I, I knew all my teachers, my teachers all knew me by name, I go visit them, like after school hours, like it I, I had a really great relationship with my high school teachers.

And it's hard to get that as a freshman at a school with 40,000 students. You're usually in a lecture hall with 300 other students and then you have smaller, like ta lead teacher's assistant when, like seminars and it just it wasn't the experience I thought it was going to be so it was a it was a really tough realization to, to think that everything I thought I wanted in the college experience I actually did not enjoy at all I really missed having that like interaction with professors that you just can't get when there's 300 other students in the classroom.

Venkat Raman  9:07  

You mentioned High School, so maybe it's a good time to sort of talk about what kind of things you were involved in while in high school, what were your interests? What kinds of things were things that you pursued?

Emma  9:19  [High School Interests]

Yeah, I did everything.

And I so from, from the time I was three years old, I was a dancer so I, I did ballet tap and jazz in high school. So that took up a lot of my time. But on top of that, I did my, I was in my high school musical all four years of high school. So that also took up a lot of time. And then I played the violin and the piano as well. So very heavily focused on the art.

I was in what was called Key Club so it was like the, the volunteering organization in my school. So helped with the canned food drives, small volunteering, opportunities, but a lot of a lot of that stuff took up so much of my time in high school.

It's funny, I don't understand how I went to school all day and then extracurriculars until like eight o'clock at night and still managed to get homework done.

But yeah, I'm very musically inclined in high school I even though I was a PoliSci major, I didn’t do too much with like government or like school government or anything like that while I was in high school.

Venkat Raman  10:31  

So then you go off to Madison for the first year. How was that transition from high school to college, and then obviously, from Pennsylvania to the Midwest, I guess, in this case, to Madison?

Emma  10:46  [Tough Transition to UW Madison]

Yeah, it was tough. My mom and I drove out to Madison. So that was a 14 hour drive, which actually looking back on it was I'm happy we did that instead of flying because you really realize how far away you are. Um, and, you know, it was great.

At first, I had a really great roommate freshman year. I just got really homesick very quickly. I was also in a relationship with my now husband, my high school sweetheart. And he was back at school in Maryland. So I was just far away from everyone. And, you know, a lot of schools that my friends had gone to colleges, they knew at least like one person from high school, or at least one person from our hometown, like that Wisconsin ever no one was from Pennsylvania.

So it was you're really starting from scratch when you go to college. So you have to make all new friends you have to adjust to living on your own. And having to feed yourself and and all of that.

So it was a pretty tough transition. And then it got, it gets really cold in the midwest. So once it got cold, and you pretty much had to stay inside all the time is when I really started to realize that I wasn't enjoying it as much as I thought I would. And that I was homesick. I miss my family. I miss my friends.

So it, it was a pretty tough transition. from high school to Wisconsin.

Venkat Raman  12:21  

How did you kind of decide to transfer to Villanova? What, how did you pick Villanova? Was that, did you go through a process or how did that happen?

Emma  12:31  [Why Transfer?]

Yeah, so I thought about everything I wasn't enjoying at Wisconsin. So you know, the big school, really large classes where you don't really get that one on one interaction with professors. And I want it to be closer to home. So I had originally thought so I had applied to American University, which is in DC. Yeah.

And I gotten in and I was pretty certain that's where I was gonna go. And my mom and I even went to the campus, but they couldn't offer me any financial aid like $0. And American is very expensive. So right.

This was, I had already come home from college at that point from for from the spring semester. So it was May, and I had no idea where I was going to school in the fall, which is already terrifying. Right? All right.

So I think that I couldn't go to American, so I out of whim decided to look at Villanova. It had come up on all my college searches on you know, a smaller school, that was that would offer financial aid for transfer students. because not a lot of schools don't offer at least when I was in college, and this was in 2012.

They did not have any aid for transfer students. You had to pretty much find your own way to pay for it. So I applied to Villanova. I got in in like June. And they offered me so much financial aid that like it was it was an automatic Yes.

And I had gone to the campus, I had loved the campus, it was two hours from where I lived. So it was the perfect amount of distance from where from home to Villanova where I could at least go home on the weekends if I wanted to. But I didn't feel like I was you know, across the street from my house.

And the size is perfect. There's, I think I always get this wrong, I think there's like 7000 students total of Villanova. So it was the perfect size where you weren't going to a school where it was the size of your high school. But you, you'd be able to have smaller classes, you know, you'd see people you recognized on campus, so it was great.

I was really happy that they offered me the financial aid that I could and I was able to go there.

Venkat Raman  14:49  

So how was that transition from Madison to Villanova? How was that? And as a, as a transfer student, how was that whole thing?

Emma  14:57  [The Villanova Transition]

Yeah, I got really lucky.

Villanova they had just started, actually the year that I transferred in a separate orientation for transfer students. So first year orientations are big at Villanova, but like they do a week long stu.., freshmen come back first year, students come back a week before classes start, they move in. And they're separated into two orientation groups where they really get to know you know, the community of Villanova. Everything you need to know to be a first year student, well, they did.

They did a transfer program like that, which was if you weren't treated like you were, because like we had our all of us had already gone through at least one or two years of college. So we weren't treated like first year students where it was like, holding our hands, if that makes sense. But they taught like they really made us feel at home.

I actually had to, and I know we'll talk about this later, but I actually had to live off campus because they didn't offer transfer students all on campus housing. So I randomly found two other transfer students who were my best friends in college and was able to, you know, stick with them, live with them, and stick with them through orientation. So it'd be the transition so much easier.

And I just got really lucky that I was very close friends with my roommates, because you had two people where you could, you could do everything with you, could like, go meet other people go to events on campus, so it worked out really well.

Venkat Raman  16:27  

That's great. That's great.

Venkat Raman  16:32

So how was the academic transition? How did that go?

Emma  16:36  [“Better” Academic Transition]

Oh, well, it was so much better. The one thing that really wasn't great was not all my credits transferred from Wisconsin. So I was going in about, about a semester behind I think is what ended up happening.

I still graduated on time, but I had to, to over, overbook my semesters, a couple semesters and take like 21 credits, but um, you know, the classes were maybe 30 people so I got to know my professors right away. at Villanova. There's like a core program you so, you have to take like a theology class, a philosophy class as part of the like, core program.

So I recognized a lot of people in my classes, which made it a lot easier. And so I was with a lot of transfer students in my classes. So it was, it was nice being able to recognize people and, and make friends really quickly.

But in terms of, you know, the rigor of it, it was pretty similar to Wisconsin's um, I got better grades at Villanova just because I think my mental health was in a better place, but it was, you know, I never felt like I was falling behind at Villanova at all even having to to overbooked my semesters just because professors there were all always so ready to help you and make sure that you that you succeed.

Venkat Raman  18:00  

How were the peers and classmates? You mentioned some transfer students who became roommates. How was the rest of the gang? How was the rest of the gang?

Emma  18:09  [Friendly Peers & Classmates]

It was great. You know, everyone at Villanova is very friendly. They, they want to make sure that you feel welcome and at home. And the, the other thing with Villanova is everyone's very involved.

So it was the other thing I really liked about my experience there because I was such an involved student in high school that you get to a college campus where everyone wants to be involved. So I participated in a lot of different activities. Where everyone, at that point, they weren't participating in activities like in high school just to like build up their resume, it was because they really wanted to do it. And that that's a really great way to meet friends, because you know, you have the same interests. So it was great. I made friends very quickly there, which I was really lucky for.

Venkat Raman  19:02  

And you briefly mentioned the profs. So how did you generally find the teaching and the profs at Villanova?

Emma  19:10  [The Profs]

It was great. Um, my first year, I had, you know, I had to take a lot of general classes. So they were professors that I only had for my first year, but then once I was taking more classes in my political science major, I got to take a lot of the same professors for different classes, which was great because, you know, I took one professor, one of my favorite professors at Villanova was a constitutional law professor and he taught like Conlaw one Conlaw two and then a class on the Supreme Court and I took all three of his classes, which was great because like, I knew his teaching style, but I also he got to know me as a student, which again, makes the college experience so much better once you know you can connect with your professors and, and you're really interested in what you're learning. So it was great.

Venkat Raman  20:01  

Okay, so overall, things seemed a lot better at will in our field. That's great.

Emma  20:08  

Definitely.

Venkat Raman  20:12  

So let's talk about the campus life. You briefly mentioned staying off campus and whether you ever got back to the dorms. But give us a feel for the campus living and then we can talk about cultural and social stuff.

Emma  20:29  [Off Campus Living]

Yeah, um, you know, I didn't live on campus. I live actually lived in the same apartment, all three years that I was at Villanova.

But I had plenty of friends that lived on campus. They really enjoyed their time there. The food's really great at Villanova. You know, it was a really great experience to for my friends to be able to live on campus. And I actually had a, I'm thankful that I lived off campus, I didn't have a meal plan.

When I moved to Villanova or I transferred to Villanova, not even knowing how to cook a piece of chicken. I ate a lot of hard boiled eggs and cereal. Because I didn't know what else to cook. But it forces you to grow up really quickly. And it ended up being great, because we had a two bedroom apartment and there were three of us. So we we were able to have friends at our apartment all the time.

We, once we were juniors and we were all 21, we lived really close to the bars. So we were able to walk to the bars from our apartment. But it, it was really great. And then I still was able to visit friends on campus and their dorms. And it was really great. They really expanded the campus since I've been there. So I'm sure the, the, the on campus living experience is much different than when I was there. But it was great.

Venkat Raman  21:56  

So let's talk a little bit about activities and clubs. You know, you were involved in a lot of things. So maybe you can share, you know, the community outreach. Yeah, the newspapers, the student orientation, etc. So give us a feel for all those activities.

Emma  22:14  [Women’s Shelter, Campus Publication, etc.]

Yeah, so the first, the one thing that I did all three years at Villanova was Community Outreach at Villanova. So it was called COV. Every Thursday, I went into, into West Philly, which was about 20 minutes away from Villanova to a women's shelter there.

So it was a women who were experiencing homelessness and had to be in the shelters, but also with children. So we actually got to hang out with the kids every Thursday, which was one of the best experiences of all of college, it really propelled me into being interested in working in education. These were kids who were in the Philadelphia public school system, and really just needed some stability in their lives. So we got to hang out with them. Every Thursday, we got to hang out with the moms every Thursday. And it was such a good experience just to, we did arts and crafts, we read books, we played basketball outside, and we got to know the people who ran the shelter, we got to know the families, they're really well. And it was something that I participated in my first year. And then the last two years, I led a group there. So one of my one of the best experiences by far Villanova.

On top of that, I was editor of the, the arts and what was the other word for the arts and style section of the student newspaper. So every Tuesday, we'd all have to stay on campus until like two in the morning putting together the newspaper for that week. Um, another activity, I made some of my best friends. And so I was really grateful for that experience. I did that my my junior year and senior year.

And then as I mentioned before, I loved our transfer orientation. So I actually, my junior and senior year, I was head of the transfer orientation. So I helped plan all the programming for it, I helped to train some of the old transfer students to be orientation leaders. So we worked closely with the first year orientation, to make sure that the transfer students had had the same experience and felt as welcome as first year students did. And that was, that was a really great experience.

And I learned a lot about leading I learned a lot about planning and organizing from that. So you know, the good thing about these activities and Villanova is you learn just as much as you do in class about how to be an adult and how to add critical thinking skills and all of that. So it was really great.

Venkat Raman  24:55  

So let's sort of segue to your summers. What did you end up doing the various summers in college?

Emma  25:04  [Summers in Politics]

Yeah. So, the summer after my sophomore year, I actually lived in DC for the summer. So I interned for it was my local house districts like congressional associations I got I got to work on Capitol Hill as an intern for four weeks. And then for four weeks, I worked in Pennsylvania and it it was such a good experience and I at the time, I worked for different political parties that I'm in now but it was still like getting the experience of working on the Hill was amazing and, and really made me want to, to work on the hill after college and and live in DC I fell in love with DC living here.

I got to live on George Washington University's campus, which is like, in the heart of world the monuments are all the museums are. So it was, it was great.

And then the, the summer after the summer, going into my senior year, I worked at a Think Tank in Harrisburg. So similar thing was in terms of sorting mail, answering phones, but another, another way to get some more political experience, which was great.

Venkat Raman  26:20  

I guess the next question is about politics or political science and government. How did you pick that as a major, that, you know, you mentioned in high school, you were all into Performing Arts.

So how did all that happen? How did that interest come in? And how did that become a major?

Emma  26:41  [Majoring in PolSci and Gov]

So I grew up around politics my whole life. My dad is a lobbyist in Pennsylvania. So works in state government, and my mom was a chief of staff for a state senator in Pennsylvania, before my sisters and I were born. So we just grew up talking about political issues at the family, the dinner table. I remember when Hillary Clinton ran for president in 2008. We went to some some soccer field for a rally to see her so I always had an interest in, in political science and in policy in general.

And then as I said, with volunteering at the women's shelter, I got I was very interested in education policy. So everything every class I took aligned with that I was a communications minor as well, which, which helps more with my writing skills and and all of that, so I I knew for a long time that I always wanted to work in government, just what capacity I wasn't sure at that point.

Venkat Raman  27:51  

I thought this would be a good time to kind of talk about how Villanova has made a difference to where you are now. I mean, what do you think has been sort of the impact on what you've done post-college?

Emma  28:07  [Villanova’s Impact on Career]

Oh, man, it's had such an impact. Um, Villanova is such a well known institution, especially in DC and the net or the alumni network is so so big here when I first moved down to DC, you know, the first thing I got involved in was the DC chapter Villanova's alumni network. And there were so many people here that, that had gone to Villanova. So it, it really helped me move forward in my career and really use the experience I got to Villanova to interview for jobs and to, to network and to meet different people and see where else what other areas of industry I could work in.

And on top of that, you know, that the location of Villanova, that's right outside of Philadelphia, so while I was at school, my spring semester, my senior year, I interned in in Senator Bob Casey's office in his Philadelphia Office, which is how I got to the Hill to begin with. And, you know, I wouldn't have had that experience if I was anywhere else. I was able to take the train into into the city every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, my senior year to intern there and I think that really, that internship was so pivotal to me working on the hill after college.

Venkat Raman  29:28  

Tell us about your experience, both in the House and Senate. Very intriguing to me. So.

Emma  29:37  [Working on Capitol Hill]

Yeah, it's working on the[Capitol] Hill is is, definitely a wild ride. Um, so as I said, I interned in Senator Casey's office that last semester of college and they offered me an internship the summer after I graduated, so a paid internship to move down there and work to move down to DC and work in the senators. Press Office.

And at that point, I had no communications experience. I hadn't planned on working in comms. I really wanted to work in education policy. But it was, it was one of those things where it was like an opportunity that I definitely was not going to pass up. So I got to Senator Casey's office and his pressure up is usually made up of four people. So communications director, a press secretary, a digital person, oh, at that time, it was just three people. And everyone, but the communications director had left the office at that point.

So it was me and the communications director. So I happened to just be in the right place at the right time where they needed help that they were able to offer me a full time position, which was great, because I got comms experience very quickly. I was able to travel all across Pennsylvania with with Senator Casey, staffing him at events, learning how to do press conferences, and write press releases. It was a very big crash course in comms. But it was great because it was my home state. So it was so wonderful working for someone who represented a state that I knew so much about and was able to travel all I think I went to every county in Pennsylvania when I was working for him, I think there's like 64 of them.

And I just got such, I can't say enough about how great that experience was. And Senator Casey himself is, is such a great representative for Pennsylvania. And it was it was a true honor working there. Um, the problem with the Hill is that doesn't pay a lot. I, I learned quickly that living in DC, I needed to make more money. So I started to look to the House side, which is how I was hired by Congresswoman Eshoo, who represents California Valley. I think you're in San Jose, right?

Venkat Raman  31:57  

Yeah. Santa Clara. Yes. Okay. Yeah.

Emma  32:00  

So Anna represents that whole area, so like, Palo Alto, everywhere around there. And I had never even been to California. I've been to San Diego once but had never been to that part of California.

But they hired me, which again was such a great experience because I was compared to Senator Casey’s shop I was on a team. I was the only press person in Anna's office.

So I learned again, you learned very quickly on the hill. How to do your job. Well. A lot of trial and error. Um, I loved working on the House side. It's a lot rowdier than the senate side. There's so many more members and I loved I loved going out to California, I think Northern California is beautiful. And it, it was a great experience working for her for two years. So it was a really good experience on the Hill.

You know, you meet a lot of people. It's a great way to network. And it was a great way to learn how to do my job and take what I learned there for to my position now at Common App.

Venkat Raman  33:06  

I know this sounds great. Oh, yeah, you're absolutely right. These kind of opportunities don't come about every day...

Venkat Raman  33:18

I just wanted to ask you what you would do differently if you got a chance to relive those three years in Villanova. If you were to do that again, what would you do differently?

Emma  33:30  [Villanova Redo?]

Hmm, that's a really good question. I probably would have tried to live on campus if I could have. I think, you know, again, you meet. I made so many good friends at Villanova. But I think you meet so many more people, when you just have your friends living next door to you and can, you know, pop down to the food Hall and get and get lunch together? I had to drive to campus every day. So I don't think that was I didn't want to do that.

But again, I loved my apartment. I loved my roommates. But I think I probably would have tried to live on campus.

And then the only thing I probably would have done was experiment more with my minor. A lot of college students, you're going to have room in your, in your schedule to minor in something. It doesn't have to complement your major, I think it can be something that you're interested in more so I think I, I wish I would have minor in education just to learn more about the policy side of it.

And that that's something I probably would have done differently just because I had the room in my schedule and I had the credits that I could have, you know, you could do something totally different and you're still gonna learn a lot.

Venkat Raman  34:43  

Talking of incoming students, what would you tell aspiring students out there who are applying to college in general and maybe to Villanova based on your experience?

Emma  35:01  [Advice to Aspiring Students]

You know, advice I would give just to applying to college in general. If you have the opportunity to visit campuses, try and do that. Like I said, You know, I really thought I wanted something totally different than I did the type of college experience.

So really think about what will make you happy at college, you know, what, what type of experience you're looking for, and try to try to find a school that matches that, um, but at the same time, it's, it's, it's okay to transfer if you don't like where you are, I think I felt a lot of shame and that I was a failure because I transferred when in reality, it's, it's your experience, you know, it's college is, it's for the most pivotal years of your life, you really grow in college.

So you want it to be a good experience, you don't want to regret spending all the money that you did, and somewhere where you didn't enjoy. So I think that's my big thing that, you know, try. Try to figure out as much as you can, at that point in your life, what, what you will enjoy, but even if it's not what you wanted, it's okay to transfer it and try something new.

In terms of applying to Villanova, I think, definitely visit the campus definitely try and talk to some of the student reps that work in the Villanova admissions office. They know so much about the school and they're so helpful and can answer so many questions about going to Villanova, but I think it's such a great place. So it's such a big community field. So if you're looking for that, um, I can't, can't speak highly enough about, about my three years there.

Venkat Raman  36:40  

Oh, that's, that's great advice. In fact, by the way, I would say that your decision to transfer is a very bold one, and one that shows a lot more spirit than fear. I mean, you know what people think of shame. And they're also afraid to make a change because of what you know what everyone will think. But I think if you did the right thing, if it didn't seem right, make the change.

Venkat Raman  37:05

So reaching the end of our podcast as we wind down, like to give you a chance to talk about anything really memories, traditions from Villanova, or something that we haven't talked about. Whatever you want to talk about.

Emma  37:26  [Memories: Basketball Traditions]

Oh, man, so many, um, well, it's, you know, it's pretty well known. Villanova is a big basketball school. And included in our tuition, luckily, was season tickets for students for all the basketball games. So you had to, to go into a lottery to get tickets.

But I think one of my favorite memories, you know, games will be on Tuesdays and Thursday nights, I think. So I get out of my Tuesday night class, and I'd meet up with my friends at the pavilion, which is where they played all the games. And we would just like, go and watch the basketball game, which was just so much fun. My friends and I were all big, big basketball fans, and still are their team. So it was, those were some of my best memories there.

And then, you know, just just hanging out with friends on the weekends. I know I've said this so many times when I made some of my best friends who I still talk to they're, you know, we do we hang out every Memorial Day weekend. We're hanging out this weekend. So it just just some of my best memories are just you know, hanging out at our apartment with our friends and just kicking back and relaxing. And I think you don't get that a lot it as an adult like you don't, your friends don't live next to you anymore.

So I, I would say to anyone, cherish those moments because you it's really the four best years of your life and you make really good friends from it.

Venkat Raman  38:54  

Yeah, that's true. That's very true.

So, Emma, thank you so much for taking the time. You've been extremely generous with your details and your time, and especially sharing your motivation beyond, you know, behind the transfer and emotion. So I'm sure this will be really useful to our audience.

And I'm sure I want to talk more with you but for now. Thank you Take care, and I'll talk to you soon.

Emma  39:23  

Thanks so much for having me.

Venkat Raman  39:25  

Sure thing. Bye.

Venkat Raman  39:33

Hi again!

Hope you enjoyed our podcast with Emma Steele about Villanova University.

Emma tells us the story of a teenager that realized she had made the wrong college choice in terms of environment and fit, and then took the bold step of fixing it by transferring to Villanova.

At Villanova she found her rhythm in the classroom, made friends and pursued her passion for Community Outreach at Villanova (COV).

Emma’s summer internship opened up opportunities on Capitol Hill after college.

I hope you check out Villanova University for your own undergraduate study.

For your questions or comments on this podcast, please email podcast at almamatters.io [podcast@almamatters.io].

Thank you all so much for listening to our podcast today.

Transcripts for this podcast and previous podcasts are on almamatters.io forward slash podcasts [almamatters.io/podcasts].

To stay connected with us, Subscribe to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify or visit anchor.fm forward slash almamatters [anchor.fm/almamatters] to check us out.

Till we meet again, take care and be safe.

Thank you!

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