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Time to Pause
Time to Pause

Northwestern alumni help graduating seniors enter the real world the right way—not right away

By Elisa Wiseman

Rising Northwestern University seniors pet an inhabitant of a Colorado wolf sanctuary during a retreat that helped the students reflect on their life goals before the bustle of their final year in college. (Photo: Fred Tye and Kate McKenzie)

If you could go back to your senior year of college and start over—would you? A unique mentoring program from two Northwestern University alumni may ensure that students never answer "yes" to that question.

Fred Tye and Kate McKenzie wish they'd had time at the Illinois institution to consider big decisions they were making about their futures. So their program, appropriately named Project Pause, is a chance for seniors to take a break to ponder their future, with the aid of young alumni, before embarking on the chaos of their final year.

For the pilot program in fall 2015, five students in the School of Education and Social Policy enjoyed a weeklong retreat at a Colorado wolf sanctuary. They participated in a curriculum of leadership development, self-reflection, and service to help them reflect on their life goals before their schedules were muddled with classes, job applications, and interviews.

This type of hands-on alumni engagement is the first of its kind for the university, says Megan Redfearn, an undergraduate adviser for the School of Education and Social Policy and one of the program's key contributors. She's proud of the school's alumni but says until now, no one's offered to "spend a week in the woods with a bunch of students."

Project Pause is on pause itself for a year to secure funding, adjust the curriculum, and look at expansion opportunities. The program aims to return in 2017.

About the Author Elisa Wiseman

Elisa Wiseman was a summer 2016 editorial intern for Currents.




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