Rising senior Andrenae Johnson has developed a newfound self-confidence during her time at Olivet. As an English major and writing minor, she now seizes every opportunity that comes her way – including stepping outside of her comfort zone to serve as editor of the College’s student-led literary and arts magazine.
Andrenae was interested in attending a small college with access to close relationships with her professors and peers, encouraged by a high school counselor who praises the value of a relationship-based education. Andrenae said, “One thing that I connected with most was the fact that professors have a better chance of remembering you. You’re able to form a solid bond between teacher and student, which then makes the student trust professors.”
As it turns out, Olivet was the only place Andrenae felt like she belonged. “With it being a small campus, I was pushed toward the idea of attending because I’m not one for big crowds. The University of Olivet was actually the only college I applied for, and after I received a scholarship it sealed the deal,” Andrenae said.
Andrenae, who is from Chicago, has been a part of the Black Student Union (BSU) for three semesters. Joining with mutual friends, together they brainstorm ideas of fundraisers to earn money for trips and share information about the organization to recruit other students, no matter race or gender. Recently, BSU went to the Mid-Michigan Leadership Academy where Andrenae supervised classrooms filled with elementary students, helping them with work, passing out materials and answering any questions they had about her college experience.
Andrenae was also encouraged to apply for the editor position for the Garfield Lake Review, the College’s literary and arts magazine, by Meredith Dodson, Arts and Humanities Department Chair, writing program director and assistant professor of writing.
“It was my first time being interviewed for a position ever, which in turn made me very nervous, but about a week later I got the position. Getting this position has changed me because it has shown me that being nervous or inexperienced can’t stop anyone from achieving their goals,” Andrenae said. “The role will enhance my speaking and leadership skills for the future.”
However, the former biology major was not always in this position. “When I was a sophomore during first semester, my heart and mind just weren’t in my studies. I went to my adviser, Laura Barlond-Maas, associate professor of English, and explained my concerns about changing my major. She encouraged me to do what I thought was best for me, and I can honestly say it is the best decision I have made in my life.”
Now, Andrenae is at home as an English major and has built many strong relationships, even considering those in her major as her second family. “We all have the sort of relationship where we can laugh and learn together. If I need advice, whether it be educational or personal, they are there to listen and guide me the best way they can,” she said. “Receiving the Laura Berghorst-Verplank Scholarship has given me even more motivation than I already had. It’s shown me that what I am doing is right, what I am trying to do in the future is the right path, and that if I keep aiming to succeed higher than I have been in these past few years, I can do it.”
Going into her senior year and reflecting on her experience, Andrenae is prouder to be a Comet than ever. “My experience as a Comet has made me more open to getting to know others and letting them get to know me,” Andrenae said. “I was never a social person, but being a Comet has boosted my confidence, and I’m no longer embarrassed to speak and share my thoughts with others.
I would encourage students to attend Olivet because the staff makes sure that every student is safe and comfortable in the environment. There are multiple ways to get in touch with someone if you were to need help. The College also provides free tutoring and scholarships of all kinds. There are great activities, such as game or movie nights, for students to enjoy. The most important of them all is that you meet great people who you’ll most likely form a bond with and still have even after college.”
Learn more about The University of Olivet by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or email@example.com.
This feature was written by rising junior Chad Enwright, marketing and multi-media student associate. He is a resident adviser, a member of the football team, chief recruitment officer for Phi Beta Lambda and a business administration major who aspires to invent and operate his own high-tech, home security and automation business.