Shaping my future
I remember my first and only college visit like it was yesterday.
I remember the cold, the rain, the student ambassador who escorted me to the check-in counter where the lady checking me in, Jean, called me "Lindsay Donovin" and was confused when she looked up and saw I wasn't a girl. She then realized she had my first and last names reversed. We joke about this to this day, as I have the pleasure of working with her as a student in the admissions office.
I remember the admissions guy doing his presentation, I remember the Nittany Lion, the school mascot coming out and hyping up the crowd. I remember walking out of the auditorium and catching a glimpse of one of the name tags of the admissions staff, it said "Linvingstone". I knew it was the person I had been communicating with for about two years prior to applying. I introduced myself, and greeted her as Ms. Livingstone. We also joke about this to this day as I also worked with her later on in the admissions office and then became colleagues once I started working for the university in admissions too. She always remembered how formal I was. Since getting to know her, she is definitely a first name type of person.
Within the next hour, I was on a tour of the campus. I was highly impressed with how the tour guide walked backwards and maintained eye contact throughout the tour. He knew information about the campus, was engaging, and also was such a pro at walking backwards it looked as if he was gliding. I was so impressed, I turned to my mom and told her I was to become a tour guide when I started there, and then set my sights to doing it. Little did I know, that decision would have a huge impact on my life. I remember the involvement fair during the second week of the semester. Most colleges have these during the first couple of weeks and it’s an on-campus event aimed at getting students involved. You’ll see all of the different clubs and organization there with sharks trying to recruit you to join their club. Some will have shirts or frisbees with the club name on it, some will try to entice you with candy at their table. I joined two that day. One of them being the Lion Ambassadors, the organization on campus that gave campus tours.
I can’t say I was ever really shy, but I became so much more outgoing in the four years I was a Lion Ambassador. Due to this organization helping me come more and more out of my shell and strengthening my communication and leadership skills I got involved in so much more… The next summer I attended my first leadership conference at another campus within the university. These are always fun as you get to meet so many different people, and the university pays for the trip. My mind was blown at how much I thought I knew realized I didn’t. I remember taking notes on how to lead, how to communicate, how to motivate, how to recruit members and how to keep them in your clubs. I began to utilize these skills immediately. The following year, my sophomore year, I was involved in 16 different clubs/organizations. I was so busy. It was also one of the best times of my life. I learned so much about myself, and others from my daily interactions with so many different people. Today, I look back on those experiences especially having worked in college admissions, and I think about how much I learned. So often, when you think about college and apply, the focus is always geared to academics. Getting a degree is important, but overall, your learning is what’s most important. You will learn inside and outside of the classroom. I learned way more outside of the classroom than I did inside of the classroom. To this day, I preach to students to get involved. It’s so important to your overall growth and success. Students who are involved in at least one thing outside of the classroom actually do better in the classes. If you’re starting college or in college, just try one club if you’re not in one. If it isn’t for you, try another. It will be worth it. Trust me!