Office of Student Success helps freshmen make a mark

Haley Curl, Staff Reporter

The Office of Student Success is dedicated to exposing first- and second-year students to every opportunity that could enhance their future.

“Our primary reason for existing is to provide support for students so that they can be successful as students here and as citizens in the larger society,” Sarah Swager, Dean of Student Success, said.

Richard DeShields, associate dean of Student Living, said the orientation program for first and second year students is extensive.

Orientation begins as early as April for new students enrolled for fall quarter.

Swager said the Office of Student Success aims to ensure that students have a wide variety of experiences while attending Central.

“In every opportunity possible, we try to find intersections between what they’re doing in the classroom, and what they’re doing outside of the classroom,” Swager said.

According to Kaelah Dahl, freshman recreation and tourism major, the Office of Student Success has already given the students opportunities to get out of the classroom and into their departments.

“We went to the Northwest Trade Show, so already we’re beginning to network and look for internships,” Dahl said.

She said she appreciated that the program was not limited to in-class lectures.

According to Swager, the Office of Student Success wants first-year students to learn about who they are and what they love to do.

“What do you feel like you’re interested in, and what are you good at,” Swager asked. “What is the intersection between those two things?”

Audra Saisslin, early childhood education major and administrative management minor, and first quarter transfer student, has found exactly that intersection.

“I really like the developmental process of kids,” Saisslin said. “The career I want to have is to own a daycare, and my minor helps with the business side of that.”

Duke Steenmeyer, freshman intended psychology major, said his goal is to become a police officer, and eventually a detective.

“Anyone who I’ve talked to who’s been in the psych program really liked it,” Steenmeyer said. “Plus I wanted to study something that I actually like.”

Bri King, undeclared freshman, first thought of majoring in clinical physiology last year.

“I’m in athletics, I run track and field for Central, so I went through physical therapy, chiropractic, massage therapy… They helped me through my injury and I was allowed to continue on running at a collegiate level and I was really thankful for that and I’d like to have an impact like that on someone,” King said.

Swager said there is no rush in declaring a major.

“There are lots of students who make the choice to declare a major, and might change their minds,” Swager said.

Though she said it is not something to take lightly, Swager said that it is common to change majors multiple times.

“My specific career has changed a lot.” Dahl said. “I want to work for Disney. I’d work in any of the departments with the characters, either being one of them, or if I don’t get any roles, be one of their escorts at least.”

Swager graduated from Colby College with a BA of studio art and art history. She said that prior to college, she had never taken an art class.

“After I took an art course, I found a topic and an area in which I really thrived,” Swager said. “And it was a great thing for me to pursue that. It gave me joy. It gave me a foundation to pursue other things in my career.”

Swager said the orientation program stresses the importance of finding a major that provides an accurate balance between talent and interest.

“I really encourage students to see if you can find that intersection between what you’re passionate about and what you’re good at,” Swager said.