“I knew I wanted to go out of state, but I didn’t know where. I was going to go to Florida, but I wanted something closer to home. When I came to Ursinus, it felt like I was home in a sense.” Jasmine came from a big high school, where it was hard to get to know people. Ursinus was a refreshing change of scenery, as a smaller, more open environment.
Her engagement at Ursinus began last summer with a three week long program with the W.R. Crigler Institute, whose mission is to ease the transition to college for students of historically underrepresented groups. They develop college-ready students, encourage intellectual conversations, and provide a general head start for school. Although there were difficulties adjusting to the intensity of the program at first, the Resident Assistants, among others, provided a sense of comfort for Jasmine. Outside of trips to Philadelphia and Baltimore, which she had never seen before, the program invited her to reconsider what college should ultimately mean. “Class taught us to fight for what we had to say. We really try to voice our opinions and value what people say and respect why they came to those opinions. In high school, you can’t really have intellectual conversations like that, they aren’t as mature.”
Jasmine had been interested in the idea of study abroad prior to her arrival at Ursinus. During her orientation, she received an email from Dr. Melissa Hardin, the Assistant Dean for International Studies at the Center for International Programs, informing her that she had been recommended for a student assistant role in the office. After an initial meeting with Dr. Hardin to go over the parameters of the job, Jasmine felt a new sense of excitement. “It made me think there are other opportunities, with me going undeclared. That this is something I might be interested in doing in my future. It made me start to rethink my major.”
In regards to what the rest of the semester might hold in the Center for International Programs, Jasmine already has plans and expectations of herself. “I want to turn the little projects into reality. I feel passionate about the work we do here because it means a lot to Melissa and Paula (Alvarez, Study Abroad and International Student Adviser).” She expressed gratitude for being chosen for the role, and went on to note, “They could have asked any upperclassmen, and I’m a first-year, I can help bring out the diversity.” Outside of the office, Jasmine will see how all her classes pan out, but is enjoying them at the current time. And she knows the office is happy to have her to start this exciting academic year.