Hello Bengals! Welcome to Wednesdays on our blog. Wednesday’s are for the coordinators to tell you a little bit about themselves, so, here is Bri’s Bengal Journey!
Happy summer, Bengals! My name is Bri, and I am from Twin Falls, Idaho. I am double-majoring in Secondary English Education and Literature, and I LOVE ISU! I am so excited to be back this summer planning a wonderful New Student Orientation 2017. This is my third year helping with NSO and my second year as an Orientation Coordinator. I am grateful for this opportunity to welcome all you incoming students.
This summer is somewhat bittersweet for me because I am preparing for my fourth and final year as an Idaho State undergrad. Sometimes, I feel like I’ve been here for a lifetime, and other times it feels like it was just yesterday when I was touring the beautiful Idaho State campus and receiving my admission letter. Whenever I begin to reflect on the experiences I’ve had at ISU, I am amazed at all of the ways attending ISU truly changed my life. So, today, I’m going to share some of the most significant and valuable experiences I’ve had throughout my journey as a Bengal. I hope that it will excite all of you as you consider the amazing adventure on which you’re about to embark.
I Found My People
In high school, I certainly knew a lot of people, but to be perfectly honest, I had few people that I truly felt I could call “my people.” Sure, I had friends, we all had things in common, and we all got along, but it wasn’t until I came to ISU that I actually found “my people.” I found them in the University Honors Program.
I am academic, to say the least. We could talk about all of the stereotypes associated with this label, but being a scholar–for me–boils down to one truth: I love learning. In high school, caring so much about school made me an outcast. But in college, my passion for learning was the very characteristic that brought me to the experiences that shaped my undergraduate experience. Today, scholarship is my badge of honor.
I met professors through UHP who saw my potential and cultivated my passions. The classes I took challenged me to not only be a better student but to be a better learner. Completing an undergraduate thesis in pursuit of an Honors Degree has taken my undergraduate experience to a whole new level and encouraged me to pursue research I never thought I’d do. I’ve had various leadership opportunities like being a UHP Envoy and working as a Career Path Intern. And now, as I prepare for my final year with the program, I proudly consider the UHP faculty my friends.
Furthermore, I met so many incredible peers through the University Honors Program who are academics, just like me! Being able to share my experiences with people who value education and leadership just as much as I do has been such a crucial aspect of my collegiate journey. Whether it’s being a part of the UHP with yours truly, joining the marching band, or playing intramurals, I am confident that each and every one of you will find your people here, too!
In the end, we’re all Bengals. To me, ISU is all about community, and I have found so many other people outside in various clubs and organizations who made me feel like I belong while allowing me to be my book-loving, Shakespeare-quoting, silly self. Being a Bengal is something that we can all share. And I’m so excited to share this journey with you all.
I Became a Leader
I really never considered myself as a leader in high school. I had a fairly easy-going personality, and I preferred going with the flow instead of paving my own way. Moreover, I tend to be a MAJOR people-pleaser which makes leadership a challenge. However, being a Bengal cultivated my leadership skills in so many ways.
When I came to ISU, I decided early on to take advantage of as many opportunities as I could. This provided me with countless leadership positions, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified every single time I stepped into those roles. However, these experiences taught me one of the most valuable lessons I could have ever learned: there is a big difference between personality and character.
My personality is the inherent way I conduct myself or see myself. I am an extrovert through-and-through, I struggle daily with organization, I am guided by my feelings, and I tend to be a follower rather than a leader. But, my character is a culmination of the actions I choose either because of or in spite of my personality. Being an extrovert makes New Student Orientation the most exciting part of the Fall semester for me. I love meeting new people, and I am giddy every time I get to shar
e in the new experiences of incoming Bengals. However, being a coordinator for NSO has also challenged me to become organized, to set my feelings aside for the sake of healthy teamwork, and to take charge and lead my peers. I am grateful for every experience I’ve had so far that has strengthened my inherent personality traits while also challenging me in other areas to foster my character. Being a Bengal taught me that there is so much more to who I am and what I am capable of, and my journey here has inspired me to grow in countless ways. Today, I proudly call myself a leader, and I know that I will continue to mature in this part of my character
because of my journey here at ISU. Perhaps there’s a part of your personality that makes you feel like you can’t be successful. I want to encourage you that college will strengthen your inherent qualities, but it will also challenge you to grow in your character. I hope you will look for opportunities here that will take you out of your comfort zone and help you discover more of who you are and have the potential to be!
I Became a Bengal
In the year leading up to my first year of college, I can’t tell you how many times I heard people “encouraging” me to use college as the time to question everything I thought I knew about myself. Goodness, it was so overwhelming! While I truly believe that college will give you opportunities to discover your potential in ways that you never considered–like being a leader when you think you aren’t one–I also believe that college is less about finding yourself and more about having the courage to just be yourself. Let me explain.
In high school, I can say with confidence that I was just as academically focused as I am now. Sure, now my grammar nazi skills are more advanced and I finally understand statistics, but I didn’t have to question who I was in order to feel like I know myself more now. My passion for learning has certainly grown–no, EXPLODED–in the last three years, but it was always a part of who I was and am. I didn’t consider myself as a leader before beginning my collegiate journey. But, because I stepped into opportunities that encouraged me to become a leader in my own way and mature in this part of my character, I see a part of who I am that was always ready to grow and develop. Now, being a leader is a significant part of my identity. ISU has brought out the best in me; these qualities were always in me, just waiting for the best experiences to shape me into the person I am today.
I won’t lie; there were many times when I felt like I needed to question myself. It’s the nature of this season of life. But the times that I questioned who I was were the times that I missed opportunities to be who I know I am. There were so many times that I struggled, but remembering who I am brought me out of those difficult times and into incredible opportunities. Being a Bengal helped me to step into my identity with confidence, encouraging me to grow in my weaknesses and flourish in my strengths. At Idaho State, I can be a scholar, I can be a leader, I can be a helper, I can be a teacher, I can be a musician, I can be a friend, and I can be a Bengal.
When I think about the young, first-year Bri arriving on campus to move into her dorm and begin her adventure at ISU, I wish I could tell her all of the things she could never imagine happening in three years–the good, the bad, and everything in between. But now, I think about how each of those experiences shaped me, challenged me, and made me who I am today, and I am grateful for the opportunities and experiences that I never thought I’d have. That young freshmen had no idea how excited she’d be to call herself a Bengal every day. She had no idea that thinking about finishing her undergraduate degree would be such a bittersweet end. She had no idea how many challenges she would overcome or how many lifelong friends she would meet in her adventure. Today, she’s three years older, three years wiser, and three years more proud to be a Bengal. I’m honored to be a New Student Orientation coordinator this year, and I can’t wait to welcome you all into the Bengal Family!
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