This year, sophomores had the opportunity to attend a panel that provided insights on how declaring a major early in your college career can be beneficial for the years following. Dean Keith Moore organized the event and began talking to a select group of upperclassmen consisting of senior Steven Bond, junior Thomas Mills, senior Kaitlyn Dozier, senior Stacey Sank, senior Brooke Ladyman and senior Taylor Ladyman, all of whom were later placed on the panel.
“Dean Moore reached out to us and gave us topics we could talk about; we bounced ideas off each other and picked the most appropriate topics for students,” said Brooke Ladyman, who shared her experience with applying to graduate schools.
“My preparation included reflecting on my study abroad experience and the planning and preparation,” said Dozier. “Many questions arose and I realized the importance of sophomore year.”
Although each panelist had a different topic, they all told their experiences in hopes that the audience would leave having learned something new or understanding the importance of being proactive in their college career.
“I wanted the students to know that I have been in their shoes. I wanted to spread wisdom and help them find interesting things they can dip their feet into,” said Mills, who shared with the students his experience with an externship.
As a result of this panel, students left with new information that will become important over the course of their time as an undergrad.
“I learned that students have found it to be really helpful to do an externship,” s I didn’t even know what that was until this panel,” said sophomore Brooke Totzeck.
Following the panel, questions were answered and many discussions were prompted as students were exiting the panel.
“I feel that the panel was very beneficial because I was able to ask questions and learn new ways to help expand my education,” said sophomore Kayla Brown.
There were many positive remarks from those in attendance.
“This panel encouraged me to declare my major and plan out what I want to do with the rest of my time here in college,” said Totzeck. “The panel made me realize that there are so many opportunities that I have available to me.”
Each panelist shared a common goal: to encourage their peers to begin thinking ahead.
“I wanted the students to understand the importance of planning early on and doing research for the future,” said Taylor Ladyman, who also spoke about her experience with applying to graduate schools.
Emphasis was placed on just how important it is to start the plans for your future and not procrastinate. There should be less dwelling on making decisions and more acting upon them.
“I wanted to inspire them to be serious about their education,” said Brooke Ladyman. “I also wanted to promote awareness of what it takes to apply to graduate schools and encourage them to pursue this opportunity.”
While sharing personal anecdotes in front of an audience makes many people nervous, the panelists were in the right mindset; they simply reminded themselves that it would be beneficial to someone out in the audience.
“At first it was scary and then it became much easier after I realized it would be helpful,” said Taylor Ladyman.
For the panelists, realizing they are examples of what can be achieved throughout college was what motivated them the most to share their story with the audience.
“I like being able to speak in front of everyone, especially panel discussions because I am informing people that are interested in the information I am saying,” Steven Bond said, another panelist who promoted externships because of the experience he gained from them.
Speaking on academic topics can be difficult, but with one look around the room everyone could always find a reassuring face to focus on.
“It was nice to speak because I knew everyone I was presenting with and the crowd was made up of great students and supportive faculty,” said Dozier.
The positive feelings of the attendees were shared by the panelists. They believed they achieved their goal of providing their peers with insight for the near future.
“It was good to see people express interest and I am happy there were quite a few enthusiastic people,” said Mills.
“A variety of presenters helped to show different experiences and motivate students,” said Dozier. “We also wanted to show underclassmen they have the support of the campus community and we can help in any way possible.”
The panelists were able to leave with a feeling of accomplishment because they helped put into perspective the importance of academics and emphasized the connections a student is able to create on or off campus.
“I thought the panel went extremely well. There was great audience participation and I think many got valuable information from the panel,” said Bond.
Inspired by the panel, students absorbed the information they heard and have begun to reflect on how to be the most successful they can be. The panel left students wishing that it will be repeated upon the arrival of each new class.
“I did find this panel useful but I wish I had heard this information last year [as a freshman] so I could have planned things out and had more time,” said Totzeck.
Overall the panel was a great success for all who were in attendance and for the panelists who shared their experiences.