LIFE through Patty’s eyes

Photo by Bruce Ultima from
Photo by Bruce Ultima from

Patty Juliuson, Guest Writer

   My name is Patty Juliuson. I am a 54-year-old senior, and I am a member of the LIFE Student Support Program. The acronym “LIFE” denotes each area this program seeks to develop in its student members: leadership, integrity, friendship and education.

   Have you ever looked closely at a multi-faceted jewel? When you turn it different ways, the light catches the surfaces of the gem and reveals color and depth. The LIFE Program is like that jewel. It is a unique organization with facets designed for eligible students of all races, ethnicities, cultures, ages and ability levels. The assistance offered by this program is specifically for college students, and each aspect of the program is designed to meet students’ needs. You do not have to be a struggling student, nor do you have to be a genius. The program connects where you are and helps you get where you need to go.

   When I entered SNU, I had no idea what kind of scholar I would be. As a first generation college student, there were a lot of things about the academic world I did not know. LIFE became a lifeline of information and assistance. There were days when I was a little discouraged (OK, I lie; I was very discouraged), and a visit to the peer mentors at the LIFE office made all the difference. They were there to understand and talk me in off the ledge. When I realized I could actually do this college thing, the staff at LIFE was at hand to encourage me to think beyond a bachelor’s degree and consider graduate school, and they made sure I got the information I needed to make well-informed decisions.

   Support is the focus of this program. Support is defined as “keeping somebody stable, bearing weight, giving help and encouragement.”  LIFE staff members have certainly done that for me, and they are there to do it for every student in the program. Everyone needs help at some point. Study skills, financial management and professional etiquette do not come naturally. LIFE has seminars and events that help students learn skills that are essential for academic achievement and life beyond college.

   Everyone gets bogged down, too. When you are trudging along at the back of the pack and think you are not going to make it, your LIFE peer mentors will come back and walk with you. They will do everything they can to encourage you across your finish line, whether it is turning out a quality research paper, completing that challenging class or just holding it together until the end of the semester.

   Success in university has nothing to do with how cool you are, being a star athlete or becoming homecoming royalty. Success means you graduate. The LIFE Student Support Program is your very willing partner at SNU. I am blessed to be part of this program; it is not a label–it is a badge of honor that shows that I am serious about attaining my degree and I am willing to use every available tool to do it. I hope you will discover how the LIFE Student Support Program can become a partner in your quest for success.