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Rising junior Olivia Velasquez is a journalism and mass communication major from Olivet. She’s a proud graduate of the Women’s Leadership Institute and is grateful for the opportunities she’s received through the program. In fact, Olivia says she’s been able to step outside of her comfort zone thanks to the development and mentorship she’s received at Olivet.

Read more about Olivia’s college journey, especially her remarks on adapting to change.

I have lived in and around Olivet my entire life. I attended preschool at Wee Ones, which is connected right to the Olivet Congregational Church. I completed all of my schooling through the Olivet Community Schools system and graduated from Olivet High School in June of 2017. Olivet has been my home since I was a toddler. While attending Olivet High School, I was even able to dual enroll and complete almost two semesters at OC. After a few years and several life changes, the thing that ultimately kept me in Olivet was the comforting, homey feel of the town and the incredibly personal experience Olivet College is able to offer.

Not only do Olivet’s incredible scholarships support students in their college pursuit, like the Board of Trustees Scholarship I was able to receive, but there are so many opportunities elsewhere. When I applied to Olivet College, I didn’t even know we offered a women’s leadership program. I was put into contact with the right people, and I was able to join and receive another scholarship for my involvement with the Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI). These two opportunities were extremely helpful in my decision to attend.

Being in the Women’s Leadership Institute has been such a rewarding experience for me. It has shown me how to speak in front of a group, how to present myself professionally, how to be a leader and how to be a listener. I love the time I spent in weekly meetings, the relationships I have built and the memories I have created. It feels bittersweet to now be a graduate of the program, but it’s something I will be endlessly proud of. I love WLI and can’t wait to participate in future events.

I have been so lucky at OC. I have two people who have played a huge role in my success thus far. One would be the Women’s Leadership Institute Coordinator Jamilia Johnson. From before I was even fully enrolled at OC to now, she has been an incredible mentor for me. So far, she has gotten me involved with WLI, she helped me throughout my entire admissions process and now she has even begun allowing me to be more involved in the program to further my experiences within WLI and in my major.

Another person that has been extremely helpful to me has been my adviser, Joanne Williams, associate professor of journalism and mass communication. She is an excellent instructor and one of the most helpful and kind people on the Olivet College campus. I appreciate her knowledge and insight every time I speak with her.

Journalism and mass communication (JMC) have always been interests of mine. People might hear “journalism” and immediately think of newspapers, magazines and reporters. Although this is a JMC staple, I think the major is one of the most open-ended you can choose at Olivet. JMC includes reporting, editing, photography, social media, content creation, personal relations, communications, broadcasting and so on. This is truly an incredible major to be in for someone who knows they have a passion for writing and communication but is unsure of where it may take them. My goal is to end up doing communications work or editing at a major publishing house. Right now, I am working on furthering my knowledge of marketing and communications by assisting with WLI’s marketing needs.

So far, some of my greatest experiences at Olivet College have been simple ones. Getting involved in the community and learning how to speak publicly have been my two favorite challenges. Luckily, OC classes and organizations keep students outside of their comfort zone, which ultimately leads to growth.

Being a Comet has pushed me way outside of my comfort zone. Though I prefer to keep to myself, the opportunities at OC make me change those habits. Being involved in an organization and classes in general have been a push for me, but I am glad to see I’m able to adjust.

I hope that other students know that change is okay, and I cannot stress this enough. Changing your major is okay. Changing your goals is okay. Not graduating when you plan to is okay. Everyone has a different experience, so don’t expect yours to follow a certain path. Personally, I graduated high school in 2017 and for two years, I was unsure of where my journey would take me. Upon graduation, I was fully committed to a university in Indiana, close to four hours away from home. Things quickly changed, and although it took me a few years, I adjusted. Don’t be afraid of the adjustment!

Learn more about Olivet College by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu.

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