Hello, all my fellow Bengals!
My name is Alia Rhinehart, and I am a senior here at Idaho State University (ISU). I am currently working towards my Bachelor of Arts in Special Education. Eventually, I plan to pursue my Master’s degree in School Psychology, but, for now, I am just enjoying my time as an undergraduate student!
My journey to ISU began in Meridian, Idaho, at Rocky Mountain High School. Prior to high school, I attended a very small local charter school of only 150 students. When I transitioned to Rocky Mountain, I was submersed in a population of over 450 students! To say it was overwhelming would be an understatement! I felt like I was a dolphin swimming alone in a sea full of sharks. It was terrifying.
I was a troublemaker at my finest. My biggest struggle was staying out of the principal’s office. I would skip classes and act out, which made it difficult for teachers to interact with me the way they needed to. I spent a good amount of my time in detention. By my sophomore year, I was headed in a downward spiral of self-destruction. Finishing high school was almost unrealistic for me. At the end of tenth grade, I was ready to drop out. However, there were different plans in store for me!
I spent a lot of time volunteering as a peer tutor with students who had special needs. One day, during my peer tutoring hour, I was given the opportunity to teach a short lesson. It was in this moment that I decided that I was done with causing trouble, and that I wanted to do something more productive with my life. I wanted to become a teacher!
At the end of my junior year, I attended a college fair to scope out my options. It was there that I found ISU. The Dean of the College of Education was there, and we talked for over 45 minutes about the university and all it had to offer. Just listening to her made me fall in love with the idea of going to college. I felt that, even by the short conversation we had, she was truly invested in me as a student and wanted to see me succeed. This really drew me into looking more at ISU because, even though I wasn’t a student yet, I felt like I already had a small circle of support. Two weeks later, I was on a road trip to Pocatello, Idaho to explore the campus. The second I got to ISU, I fell IN LOVE! The overall atmosphere both on and off campus was amazing to me. Everyone was so friendly, and the whole town was decorated with black and orange!
There are many other factors that played into why I chose ISU. I was set on the idea of living on campus for my first year. When I looked at Rendezvous, on of the residential hall complexes on campus, I knew that I wanted to live there. In addition to the awesome dorm rooms, tuition was reasonable in comparison to other universities– and I was only going to be a short drive away from home!
In the beginning, I was unsure about moving away from home. The thought of leaving everyone and everything I ever knew was unsettling. I knew that by making the decision to venture away, I would be creating more opportunities for myself to become the person I have always dreamed of being. Throughout my time at this university, I have found strength and courage within myself that I never knew existed. I have tested my limits and reached beyond what I ever thought was possible. I have also made lifelong friendships that I wouldn’t change for the world! This institution has given me so much, and as a New Student Orientation Coordinator, I want nothing more than to pass my love for ISU on to every new student that enters campus. I will forever be proud to call myself a Bengal!
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