As they prepare for their May 15 Commencement Ceremony, Franklin & Marshall seniors look back at their four years on campus—and what's next.
Name: Jack Abdalla
Major: history and government (joint major)
What town do you call home? Clarks Summit, Pa.
Activities at F&M:
Bonchek Congress, Phi Kappa Psi, Phi Sigma Pi, John Marshall Pre-Law Honor Society, Middle East and North Africa Coalition.
Your senior year has been unlike any other in F&M’s history. What have you learned about yourself this year?
Throughout this past year, I have developed a far greater appreciation for regular social interactions with my friends. I also developed an appreciation for the people I only used to see in passing. I realized the importance of never taking any social relationship, no matter how small, for granted. Every person you spend time with in college plays a role in shaping who you are. This past year also made me realize the importance of valuing the present. Instead of being so concerned with the future and/or hung up on the past, you should appreciate every moment you have as it is. The pandemic took a lot of time away, and going forward in life I will always appreciate time and the present much more, because you never know when it can all change.
What has been your most memorable moment or time here at F&M?
Being elected Chancellor of Bonchek was an extremely meaningful experience. It was an honor to hold the position after serving in Bonchek Congress for four years. Being chancellor helped me develop many important leadership skills, such as decision making, delegation and organization, which will serve me well in the real world. Most of all, I appreciated having an opportunity to give back to my College House, which provided me with my first college friends, as well as my first identity on campus.
What did you enjoy most about your time at the College?
The amazing friends I have made. F&M has provided me with long lasting friendships that I will value and cherish forever. I will be forever grateful for my brothers in Phi Psi, my friends in PSP, my roommates, and every other wonderful person who played an integral role in making me the person I am today.
Why did you choose to attend F&M?
I wanted to attend a school where I could have a meaningful and intimate relationship with my professors who would give me ownership of my education. F&M is well known for the accessibility of its faculty. I developed such a wonderful relationship with my professors during my time at F&M. When I toured the college, I was incredibly impressed with the flexibility in determining a course of study. I struggled to choose between majoring in government and history, as each seemed mutually important in understanding the other. Thus, the liberal arts curriculum seemed like the best option. Professor of History Maria Mitchell instilled in me a love and appreciation for the liberal arts. I thought I understood the value of a liberal arts education coming into F&M, but now I feel fully aware of how privileged I have been to receive such a robust and holistic education.
What advice do you have for incoming first-years?
Don’t let fear hold you back. Go out of your way to make friends. Join any club or group that might interest you; you can always cut back. Don’t shy away from a challenge; take classes that interest you; don’t just take the easy route. Do whatever it takes to find what you love and be happy in college. Four years may sound like a long time, but I promise it's not; it will feel like four months and it will all be over. So don’t waste your time letting happiness come to you, go out and make the most of it as soon as you can.
What are your plans for after graduation?
I was fortunate enough to be offered a place at Rutgers Law School in Camden, N.J.
"I thought I understood the value of a liberal arts education coming into F&M, but now I feel fully aware of how privileged I have been to receive such a robust and holistic education. "