Unpacking the toolbox
October 13, 2017
Alumnus Daniel Farmer details how UD prepared him for Peace Corps success
To many, the mention of Daniel Farmer conjures images of an affable overachiever whose presence could be counted on at every major University of Delaware event. It is likely no surprise, then, that Farmer’s zest for campus engagement has led him to success in his post-graduation pursuits.
“As I have been settling into [Peace Corps] training, I have realized that so many organizations and companies have effectively placed me in a prime position to be successful,” said Farmer. A 2017 honors graduate in environmental studies, Farmer is currently on location with Peace Corps Mexico.
In an interview with UD’s Division of Student Life, Farmer elaborated on the formative experiences he pursued as a student — the metaphorical tools for life in the literal toolbox he doodled during a night off in Mexico. His thoughts succinctly describe the many small opportunities UD students may partake in that can add up to immense reward.
Q: What memorable experiences helped define your life at UD?
A: My most formative experience, which continues to prove valuable thanks to the many unique situations I’ve found myself in as a result, was being a Resident Assistant. There is no greater adventure than working in the residence halls, and I happily dedicated a lot of my time on campus to be with residents and to support my fellow RAs. Another cornerstone of my campus involvement was the Outing Club. This UD community served as an escape from traditional campus life, and ensured that I spent way too many hours in Perkins interacting with students and staff alike. Many other opportunities including the Blue Hen Leadership Program, the Entrepreneurship Club, Student Alumni Ambassadors, and UD Alternative Breaks also played major roles in surrounding me with good people, and helping me spend my time in meaningful ways.
Q: How did UD support you in becoming a thriving Blue Hen?
A: I had ample support from select professors, staff, supervisors, and my peers while at UD. I was always surrounded by people wanting to know about the next big project I was undertaking, or the study abroad trip I was taking, or asking to include me in their next project. Another kind of support I experienced was through the UD network at large. I landed an awesome internship helping to create and run a youth empowerment program out of the Newark Bike Project. Given the connections many staff there have to UD, I also got a job working for an environmental education school called North Bay, which truly solidified my passion for environmental education. Most recently, a UD alum still closely connected to one of his old professors, Tony Middlebrooks, also hired me as an intern for The Fun Dept. This support as a growing professional, gaining experience in practicing my leadership, creativity, and environmental education, continues to prove valuable time and time again.
Q: What advice do you have for students who may be interested in following a similar path?
A: Experience all that you can, and you will find the puzzle eventually puts itself together. The number of paths you can take is infinite. Sometimes that feels overwhelming. When I entered UD, I had no idea what could possibly lie on the other side, but I knew I had to ensure it was something worthwhile. My strategy was to try my hand at as many things as possible, do my best to say yes, never be afraid to submit an application, and pursue the things that made me happiest. That worked out great for me while at UD, and I think it could work for many others.
About Residence Life and Housing
Residence Life and Housing provides a home away from home for more than 7,000 University of Delaware students. Each year, RLH partners with students and campus colleagues to create a once-in-a-lifetime community experience where students learn, contribute, thrive and achieve their aspirations. Students interested in becoming an RA are encouraged to attend one the information sessions scheduled for October 23 and November 2, 7 and 29. Details can be found here.
About the Division of Student Life
The Division of Student Life includes the Career Services Center, Center for Black Culture, Center for Counseling and Student Development, LGBT Program, New Student Orientation, Office of the Dean of Students, Office of Student Conduct, Residence Life and Housing, Student Health Services, Student Services for Athletes, Student Wellness and Health Promotion, and the University Student Centers. For more information about Student Life, visit the website.