Friday, July 22, 2005

An Easy Transition to UIS

By Heather Shaffer

Transferring schools can sometimes be a headache for college students, but not for Stephanie Orr, currently a senior studying communication at UIS. Stephanie said her transition to UIS was easy and seamless.

Stephanie was attending a small women’s college in Pittsburg, but decided to transfer to UIS because it was closer to her hometown of Alton, Illinois, and because it was a better value. Stephanie thinks that the transition was smooth because the admissions staff handled her transfer efficiently and in a timely manner. She believes that transferring to UIS was the right move.

She appreciates UIS’ small-school environment, the small class sizes, and especially the accessibility of the professors. "I like how the faculty at UIS are approachable and always willing to help. Even the professors I had semesters ago, ones I don’t see on a regular basis, know me and take the time to say hi and ask how I am. It’s nice and it makes the whole college experience more personal than I thought it would be," she said.

While Stephanie is happy to be at UIS, she said that being a transfer student is nevertheless different than being a traditional four-year student. For example, she says she did not have the opportunity to bond with the majority of her classmates by living on campus as most traditional students do. She also thinks it is harder to be as involved in student events as other students are because she lives off campus.

However, Stephanie said it is not hard to fit in at UIS. "Everyone is welcoming and helpful, which makes me feel like I belong," she said.

Currently, Stephanie is employed as assistant editor at The Journal, the student newspaper at UIS, where her responsibilities include assisting the editor in developing story ideas, making story assignments, helping coordinate staff meetings, and assembling the News Briefs section for each week’s paper. She is also a standing member of the editorial board, where she aids in policy development and editorial writing.

Stephanie began her career in student journalism while attending Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, Illinois. Without any previous newspaper experience, Stephanie applied for and got a copy editing position with The Bridge, Lewis and Clark’s student newspaper. It was there that she discovered her passion for writing, and she decided to change her major from history to communication.

On entering UIS, Stephanie decided to continue studying in the area of communication, and she believes that her studies have helped her grow personally and professionally.

"I am able to apply the classroom lessons to my work on The Journal, as well as to my work off campus. UIS has also given me the opportunity to work on my social and group skills. Meeting new people and working with them on class projects or on the newspaper has enabled me to adapt to just about any working environment," she said.

After graduation, Stephanie said she would like to pursue a career in promotions or public relations. The Applied Studies Program at UIS has helped her move toward that goal by providing her with the opportunity to network with professional contacts. Through AST, Stephanie obtained an internship with Capital Radio Group in Springfield, gaining valuable experience and creating a potential for future employment.

This summer, I am interested in learning about other people's experiences at UIS. If you’d like to share your campus experiences, please e-mail me at hshaf01s@uis.edu.

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