Not all college experiences are linear and smooth. Sometimes it takes a little bit to find a fit that works for you. This is what Julia Mellinger, who is studying media production and communication and fitness management, discovered when she started college at a large university. It did not feel like the right place for her, and after visiting a friend at Olivet College, she began the process of transferring here. She said, “I met a lot of people and really enjoyed the small campus environment. I met the soccer coach who was interested in having me play.”
She played soccer in high school but had to give it up when she went to a big university. With the opportunity of Division III athletics, Julia could take up the sport again. She said, “I really missed playing and Coach Doug Carter, men’s and women’s head soccer coach, gave me an opportunity to play again after he remembered seeing me play in high school my senior year in regional finals. Playing college soccer is a lot of fun and I am grateful I had the opportunity to play in an organized competition again.”
The soccer team provided her with a community she can rely on both on and off the field. “Olivet,” she said, “has a big family environment, and no one will ever let you struggle or be left in the dust. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved in clubs, activities, Greek life and more. And it is guaranteed that you will find your place to fit in.”
One opportunity Julia took advantage of was the President’s Leadership Institute (PLI), a program led by Olivet College President Steven Corey and designed to develop professional and personal leadership skills in students. Those selected for this program are nominated by faculty based on academic excellence and leadership initiatives.
Before her nomination, Julia was unfamiliar with PLI, so she went into the program ready to discover as much as possible. She said, “I learned a lot, and I feel much more prepared for future business inquiries, events, interviews and more.” One of her most memorable experiences in PLI was an etiquette dinner at the president’s house. She said this taught her how to behave and carry herself in a professional dinner setting, which may not seem like a big deal at first, but it gave her confidence for the future.
While in the program, students work as groups to complete an action project. Julia’s group decided to honor the retirement of Judy Fales, former director of the Burrage Library. They created a plan, budget and partnership with SGA to develop a commuter space in the library named after her.
Julia said that her time in PLI has helped her develop the professional skills necessary to succeed in positions of leadership down the road. “If anyone is nominated and presented with the opportunity to experience this program,” she said, “they should go for it. It is worth it.”
Learn more about Olivet College by contacting the Office of Admission at 269-749-7635 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This feature was written by Savannah Baker, a senior studying English and business. The former editor of Olivet’s literary journal, Garfield Lake Review, Savannah now pursues her interest in writing and editing as a marketing intern with Olivet College.