by Emily Komorowski
Four College of Communication and Information (CCI) students, along with 20 other Kent State students, dedicated a large portion of their summer to Destination Kent State, the one-and-a-half-day advising and registration program for incoming freshmen. Destination Kent State allows these freshmen and their families to explore topics including: the differences between high school and college, navigating the university and properly preparing to be a college student.
CCI was represented by Amanda Bevington, senior interpersonal communication major; Chloe Ewing, junior applied communication major; Julia Kelley, junior public relations major; and Shawn Wilson, senior broadcast journalism major.
The student leaders took on the role of “Flashguides.” According to the Kent State website, Flashguides are part mentor, part ally, part cheerleader and part program organizer who participate in the program because they want to make a difference in the lives of new students.
Bevington and Ewing both shared their thoughts and feelings about being a 2015 Flashguide:
Q: Why did you decide to become a Flashguide?
Bevington: Being a Flashguide has always been a dream of mine! Weird right? Not for me. I absolutely love Kent State and want to contribute to making the best experience possible for all students. College has brought me and made me into so much more than I ever thought possible, and I want to help, encourage and support other students along their amazing journey! And to be honest, I’m not sure if there’s a better way to do it than Flashguiding!
Ewing: I knew I wanted to be a Flashguide when I came to my Destination Kent State, there was just something about the energy they brought and the connection they have with students. I wanted to be able to give that same experience to this incoming class and make sure they can learn to love Kent State as much as I do.
Q: What do you hope to inspire in freshmen?
Bevington: I hope that I inspire them to go outside of their comfort zone and try something new. College is the perfect time to challenge yourself and branch beyond your normal horizons, which is where the most learning takes place. I also hope that I inspire them to never give up. No matter how they got here, who supports them or who doesn’t, or what their past is like, this time is theirs and only theirs, and I don’t want them to ever give that up to anyone or for anything.
Ewing: I want freshmen to know that if high school wasn’t the experience they wanted like it was for me, they have the opportunity to make college what they want. I hope to see them get involved and find that group on campus that makes Kent their home.
Q: How did your major help you while being a Flashguide?
Bevington: My major couldn’t be any more perfect for this experience. Communication is part of my job 24/7, whether it’s reading the students or interpersonally interacting with them. I talk about how much I love my major every day with students because it’s relatable in so many ways. The ways I apply what I learn in the classroom are endless and it’s truly the best feeling.
Ewing: Communication helps me make that seamless connection with parents and students without it feeling forced. Communication Studies has helped me learn about myself and how to present my thoughts in the best way possible while still staying true to myself without crossing any boundaries.
Q: What was your favorite part about being a Flashguide?
Bevington: I absolutely loved making connections with people from all different walks of life. Seeing a student smile and feel like they belong at Kent State is the greatest feeling. And I would be silly not say that sharing my Kent State pride is one of my favorite parts too because I’m filled with it.
Ewing: My favorite part of being a Flashguide was talking to the parents. I loved getting asked questions about Kent, the faculty and the classes offered. Being able to give them a raw answer and them tell me they appreciate that means a lot since it’s coming from a person I just met. I want the parents to know that Kent is the right place to send their students and helping them ease that fear is my favorite.
Q: What was the most challenging part?
Bevington: The challenging part was constantly being “on stage.” Every action and word from a Flashguide is so powerful. I feel like wasn’t too much of an issue for me, but just being conscience of it is crucial and sometimes it’s easy to forget when you’re tired or having a bad day.
Ewing: The most challenging part would have to be learning when to rein in my sense of humor and my personal experiences. Communication Studies has helped me with that, but it’s still a challenge to know when the line has been crossed and not being able to read that on a person.
Q: What was the most rewarding part of being a Flashguide this past summer & what was your favorite memory?
Bevington: There were so many rewarding aspects of the Flashguiding job, but a few were seeing future Flashes leave Kent State on Day 2 feeling comfortable and excited in their new home. The other is that a few of the Flashguides I worked with I actually trained through the Peer Leadership Training Workshop, and it was amazing to see everything come full circle and see their growth as people and student leaders. Picking ONE favorite memory is nearly impossible, but I will always remember explaining to students and parents why my “follow me” was a toilet plunger. I want them all to “plunge into the world at Kent State.” It created a good laugh and was always a conversation starter.
Ewing: The most rewarding thing for me was talking to students in CCI and just giving them that validation of this is who we are, what we do and just seeing them get excited to start their majors. I have a few favorite memories, but I’d have to say my top two would be helping a student who was uneasy about her major coming into DKS and then talking to her about Comm Studies and her telling me the next day she changed to Public Comm. My second is when an aunt coming through asked if she could adopt me because of how awesome I made her experience at DKS and what a great representation I was of Kent State.