College Isn’t Just Classroom

It’s hard to believe that a year ago I had no idea what was in store for me at Purdue University. My freshman year has truly been a journey. I have acquired valuable friendships, priceless memories, exciting new experiences, and above all, insightful life lessons. I can honestly say it’s been the best year of my life.

I never truly understood the phrase “only half of college is taught in the classroom” until I came to Purdue. In high school, I was very involved in extracurricular activities where I could embrace my leadership skills and make a difference. When I first arrived on campus, I was afraid that at such a large university, I would not have the opportunity to be involved like I had in the past. I can remember writing my first resume thinking, “I have nothing to put on this except my high school activities!” It was this realization that motivated me to seek out opportunities for involvement on campus, particularly in the College of Health and Human Sciences. During my search, I happened to come across a callout for “Career Conference Hosts.” Unsure of what this was, I decided to attend the meeting to see what it was all about. This ended up being one of the best decisions I ever made. I came to find that “hosts” are responsible for working the Consumer Sciences and Retailing Career Conference, where they assist company representatives throughout the event. This immediately struck me as a valuable networking opportunity, and also a way to improve my professional skills. I applied, interviewed, and was selected to participate as a host. As a Retail Management student, I was incredibly excited to interact with the retail companies attending the conference. I ended up hosting one of my favorite stores, Von Maur, through which I made a valuable connection. Participating in this conference gave me the exposure I needed to become more visible in my college, and also to build my professionalism and confidence in a formal environment.

The Career Conference inspired me to pursue other leadership opportunities on campus as well. I was no longer intimidated by challenging goals at a large university, and I began applying for positions that may have overwhelmed me before. I was selected to be a Boiler Gold Rush Team Leader for Boiler Gold Rush 2013 after an intense interviewing process. I was also selected as Health and Human Sciences Ambassador and chosen as the Social/Fundraising Coordinator for Purdue Retail Organization. All of these things are valuable tools for growth both professionally and personally. Freshman year is a learning experience like no other, and if there is one lesson I have learned, it is to embrace the unknown and not be afraid of failure. Purdue values talent, and there are countless opportunities to improve it and showcase it. It is never too early to make your mark. Don’t wait. Your journey starts now.

— Christy Joehl, Sophomore, Retail Management

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