Director of Academic Success
What advice do you have for other first-gen students? Join study groups when possible. It's amazing how much more you can learn by discussing homework or prepping for tests with your peers. I remember my first few months as a freshman. I thought I was one of the only ones who didn't understand some of the concepts in my intro to sociology course. So rather than embarrass myself by raising my hand, I kept quiet. I later found out when I joined a study group that no one else understood the same things I didn't! We worked on those problems together and did well on the next few tests. Don't be shy about asking your instructors, your advisor, and even some of the students in your classes for help when you need assistance.
Who, or what, was your greatest support that helped you transition to college? I was a year behind my best friend in high school. He went to college before I did. When he came home for the holidays, he encouraged me to apply to the same school. We were both musicians and wanted to continue playing in our band, so I ended up where he was. It was much easier for me to make friends when I knew one already. We hung around the same people, and the band was playing more and more, so the beginning of my college experience was based on a gut feeling that I should go where my friend was. That's probably not the best way to choose a school, but for me it worked.
What was your fondest memory of college? This will sound a bit strange, but my fondest memory was getting academically dismissed from my college. What that allowed me to do was to take a break from the rigors of academia and took a couple of semesters off to play in the band, work full time, and come to the realization that I was not going to be a rock star and that I'd better get my degree first. So after I was mentally ready to tackle college again, I picked the major that felt the best for me (teaching), buckled down, and graduated. The second fondest memory? Going back to school to get a master's degree. Those decisions ultimately led me on a long and winding path to IUPUI and becoming one of the directors in our office.