Name: Tyler Preston
High school graduated from: JDHS
Year of high school graduation: 2007
Hometown: Juneau, Alaska
Academic Program at UAS: English
Class standing at UAS: Sophomore
How do you think UAS is preparing you for your future?
UAS is giving me the tools that I need to be successful in the “real world.” My classes are engaging and thought-provoking, and open my mind to new ideas that I had not considered before. I believe that my enrollment at UAS is helping to solidify my world view and ensuring my capability to live a healthy, productive and fulfilling life.
Do you know what you might be thinking of for a career after college?
I have a bit of an idea. I am an avid musician; I actually just released my first album, Ragged Claws Under Silent Seas. I really hope that I will get the opportunity to be a professional musician for some length of time, but I’m not sure that I want to spend my entire life as an entertainer. Though I love it, I often think that there are more worthy ways to spend my time. Because of this, my long term plan is to be a high school English teacher. It’s not very glamorous, I know, but it’s in the trenches, doing the work that must be done. Teaching is the highest calling. Teachers are entrusted with the minds of our youth, and I can get behind the idea of making a better, more enlightened world, one student at a time.
Do you have a favorite class or professor?
Most definitely! I was fortunate enough to take Kevin Maier’s Nature Writing Class last semester, and I can honestly say that it has been my favorite class that I have taken so far at UAS. Kevin uses Socratic discussions to help students make connections between the literature they are reading and the work that they are producing for themselves. This strategy works well for me; I definitely prefer discussion to lecture.
There are two obvious truths for young Americans leaving high school today: College education is necessary to be competitive in the workforce, but it is also expensive, and in most cases far more expensive than is necessary. I feel that small, cost-effective schools like UAS offer the most opportunity for students to maximize the potential of education while minimizing the actual cost. I would compare looking for schools to shopping by brand: Harvard, Princeton and Yale may all be placed on their respective pedestals, on the middle shelf right in front of your eyes, but look up or down, and there are state schools like UAS with the same ingredients but without the price tag. It’s the intelligent choice for education, and has definitely been the best choice for me.
What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself at UAS?
I’ve learned that I’m a morning person, actually. My first semester, I took all night classes so that I could work during the day, but I wound up not taking a job because of my workload; not getting up in the morning and staying up late at night started to grind on me… it just wasn’t the right rhythm! Since the beginning of last January, I have been working mornings at the coffee shop here on campus and taking classes in the afternoon, and actually sleeping at night, instead of coming home with my head buzzing with new ideas from class.
What surprised you the most when you arrived at UAS?
Going into UAS, I thought I was headed into another version of high school, with a stagnating schedule of classes that don’t seem to apply to the real world. Now that I’m here, however, I see the applications of what I am doing and the reverberations of my education on my life experience. I’m not simply learning facts here, I’m preparing for my life, and that is what continues to surprise and excite me every day.
What was the most fun you’ve had at any campus event?
Hate to say it, but even though I’m only twenty, I’m more of a non-trad. I haven’t lived on campus and even though I spend most of my time here, I am in it for the academics. I really like the campus facilities though; especially the Rec Center. The climbing wall is fantastic; I go there to boulder almost every day.
What is the best thing about life at UAS?
The campus and the community of people around it. Hands down. I think that having such a tight-knit community is what makes UAS unique among other state schools, and what makes UAS students such conscientious and vibrant individuals.
What do you enjoy doing during your free time?
Oh, all sorts of things. I play music with my band, the Downsideup, I like to rock climb during the winter and road bike during the summer, I go camping every couple of months. I like to hit downtown Juneau on First Friday for free munchies and art gallery installations, I try to make it to every Perseverance Theatre production and Juneau Symphony show… hang out with my cat. Take your pick!
If you could choose three words that signify UAS, what would they be?
Engaging, Conscientious, Thoughtful. Or Rain, slush, rain ;)