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Testimonial: Incoming SAGA Fellow

Julia T.

Julia Tazelaar | Incoming SAGA Fellow | New York City

August 8, 2016

SAGA Fellows are dedicated to serving students academically and personally. While many college students and graduates are motivated by the reward of higher paying jobs, careers, or titles upon graduation, SAGA Fellows choose to dedicate 10 months of their post-graduate lives to serving others, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Meet one of our newest SAGA Fellows, Julia Tazelaar! Julia is from Princeton, New Jersey where she also attended high school. Her high school experience was rewarding, compared to many of the students we serve. The quality education, support and guidance she received from teachers influence her desire to serve and do the same one day. Upon graduation, Julia moved to Charlottesville, VA to embark on her college journey at the University of Virginia. Wahoos!

Julia will be joining the SAGA Nation in the Fall of 2016! Hear about why she chose to commit to the SAGA Fellowship and dedicate her post graduate plans to the New York City cohort and students.

Why did you choose to apply to the SAGA Fellowship?

When thinking about what to do after college graduation, service has always stuck out because of the commitment I made to myself the summer after I graduated high school. Service was always a part of my daily routine from volunteering to leading church youth groups. I developed a passion for working with youth, and once I attended a retreat where I made a commitment that I would make volunteering a part of my daily life and mission when I went away to college.

I have never been “job” or “career driven” in my decisions to choose a college or major even. I majored in American studies, and I believe strongly in having a solid liberal arts education. I believe strongly in this work, helping others, and acquiring knowledge rather than seeking college for a job.

SAGA was a top choice for me because it appealed to all of these interests. I remember first hearing about the fellowship through my University’s career services. I knew there was going to be representatives at a career fair, so I decided to stop by the table and get more information. I was so pleasantly surprised at how positive and personal the conversation with the recruiter was. I applied shortly after!

What was the deciding factor in your decision to commit to the SAGA Fellowship over another job or position?

Well, I knew that I wanted to live and work in New York. I remember the feeling I had before my final interview! I remember walking into the high school before my onsite interview and walking out afterwards, and how completely different I felt before and after. Before the interview, I was overwhelmed and nervous, but afterwards I felt confident. Talking to the current fellows, leadership, and meeting the students was so comforting. It was so reassuring and awesome to get that feedback. I remember being awestruck and thinking, “Wow, she must have gotten some really good training at giving feedback!” I will never forget that experience.

What is something you hope to gain while dedicating your year of service to these students?

I hope to find the work rewarding and gain teaching skills, because they will be invaluable no matter what I do. If I end up going back to school for teaching or education, I will have the experience to support that. Besides the intangible skills of learning how to instruct and connect with students, I hope to increase my empathy and learn better how to bridge distances and differences between people.

Welcome, Julia Tazelaar to the SAGA Fellowship!

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