College junior learns as much from her doing as her studying

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 20, 2002

Pia Janine Miller was attending Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. during the fall and winter months, and during the summer months this year she worked as an executive assistant at the Suffolk Shelter for the Homeless where her mother, Dr. Terry Miller, is the executive director.

Her duties at that position were assisting the director, updating resources, sending out volunteer information packets, answering the telephone, assisting with office paperwork, updating the mailing list, searching the internet for grant information and performing any other duties that could assist the shelter.

She left that position to return to Evanston to begin her junior year on Sept. 14, and stated that she would miss everyone whom she came in contact with while she was there.


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She said that during the summer, she learned much from the people that she worked with on the job and the people that she worked for while doing her job. She also said that she was ready to return to college to meet the challenges that she was going to face in her junior year.

The most challenging year she said that a student may have to face is that one when he is a freshman because for the first time in his life, he was leaving the comforts of home and had to get use to living on his own. &uot;The freshman is now living a different lifestyle where he would have to make his own schedule and keep it and not let outside distractions keep his mind off the reason why he is in college in the first place – to get a good education for a brighter and more promising future.

&uot;If distractions cause the student to fall below the required GPA that he has to maintain to stay in college, or university, the student then can be academically suspended making it very difficult for him to return to any institution of higher learning,&uot; she said.

Name? Pia Janine Miller

Age? 19

Hometown? I live in Suffolk but was born in Washington, D.C.

Family? Robert Holland and Dr. Terry Miller

Education? At the present time I am a junior at Northwestern University in Evanston Ill., majoring in Pre-Law Psychology.

Career/Occupation? To be an aspiring Criminal/Civil Rights Attorney.

Why did you pursue your chosen career? A comprehensive understanding of the law will prepare me to help in improving the lives of those who need it the most. For example, urban and rural school systems are, in many cases, below standard in comparison to wealthier suburbs. As an attorney, I would be able to represent those parents and students who are looking to change this phenomenon.

Favorite thing about college? The diversity and the opportunities to meet different people from all over the country and the world. Once you get to sit down and talk to various people, you truly learn more about yourself and the world around you.

Least favorite thing about college? Midterms…you never have that extra week of studying for them like you do with finals, so they truly drain you.

What accomplishment are you proudest of? Being a mentor to minority middle school-aged girls through a program at Northwestern. They are at pivotal points in their lives, and it’s meaningful to not only the ones doing the mentoring, but also to the mentors. Both groups learn a lot about each other and about how society is steadily changing.

What advice would you like to give to entering college students? Be open to everything. You will probably change your major, hairstyle, advisor, and laundry detergent three or four times during your undergraduate years. As long as you don’t count anything out at the start, you’ll always leave yourself open to hidden opportunities.

What or who motivates or inspires you? The main thing that motivates me is my will to succeed. I want to make my family and myself proud of the things that I try to do.

Favorite way to spend your free time? Shopping…I can’t even try to deny it.

What words of wisdom would you like to share with others?x Have a social conscience…in today’s turmoils we should all be looking to how we can improve the city, town, county, state, country, and world that we live in.

What ingredients are in the recipe for a good life? Family, friends, laughter, and your favorite pair of shoes to take you anywhere you need to go.

If you were on &uot;Survivor,&uot; what characteristic about you would your teammates find most valuable? I once took a &uot;What Personality Type Are You?&uot; test….and my result was that I am a &uot;Field Marshall.&uot; This means that in almost everything I do, I tend to grasp what the situation or problem is, and then I delegate to the group what needs to be done.

We all have our &uot;15 minutes of fame&uot; in this life. How would you spend yours in the spotlight? With my proverbial &uot;soapbox,&uot; I would give children from disadvantaged school systems the opportunity to present their case to the school boards and lawmakers of the more advantaged schools.

How has the recent tragedy in New York and Washington D.C. impacted your life? It has made me realize how truly human we are as a country; we are susceptible to the evils of other people. I have also learned that we can unite as one people against a force, and I would like to see this occur more in our everyday lives. It should not take a tragedy like the events in New York and Washington, D.C. to make us come together for something to get done.