Students of MI: Kierna

“I’m a senior studying Hotel and Restaurant Management. College has been a ride – I don’t have a very close-knit family so coming to college was good in that aspect. The most surprising thing coming to college was seeing how many opportunities and people that are available to make sure you succeed. There are countless resources and support networks on campus to ensure that you graduate, and I did not expect that before coming to Eastern Michigan University.

Being able to find jobs on campus has been really helpful and it’s helped me to stay and pay my way. The most helpful job I’ve had is being a Resident Advisor on campus. After my first year, I wasn’t going to be able to afford school. I’m here through the Pell Grant and multiple scholarships that I do not have to pay back, but housing is still expensive. Becoming an RA alleviated that burden on me and allowed me to study abroad twice. I was able to visit Italy, France, Great Britain and the Netherlands all because of the money I saved from housing.

All of this has helped me decide that I want to go to graduate school and work in student affairs and higher education. The position has definitely kept me here and gave me the support system I needed to succeed. I was coming from a broken home as a freshman; things with my family were not going well. I had no type of mentor or a positive support system. They say college isn’t for everyone, but it gave me an avenue for success and support.

As an RA, I saw students that didn’t have friends yet, and weren’t really sure where to go. I remember being so scared when I was that age, and I love the moments where students reach out to me and I can provide that sense of support. I won the RA of the year award one year, and I knew this was my place – it was where I was meant to be.

I never saw myself graduating high school, let alone college, but you have to take that step and try. It’s costly at times, but living in a residence hall, being on campus, and getting involved in new things is completely different than anything I’ve ever experienced. It’s all about what you’re getting in the long run – my support systems, personal life and freedom were all shaped by experiences here.”

(Kierna, Hotel and Restaurant Management, Eastern Michigan University)



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