Making a Smooth Transition to The University of Olivet
In fall of 2013, sophomore Kaelin Cross made a decision to transfer schools.
She was worried about her future. Transitioning to The University of Olivet from Michigan State University (MSU) seemed daunting. But Cross, a sociology and anthropology major, chose Olivet because of its small size, family feel and its professors.
“I was not expecting the experience I have had at Olivet whatsoever,” said Cross. “At Michigan State, you don’t get to talk to your professors face-to-face. I went to lectures with 500 people who I didn’t know.”
Though Cross believes MSU helped her mature as a person, she now believes Olivet is a better fit for her.
“Having smaller classes and opportunities to meet one-on-one with my professors has changed my academic experience,” Cross said. “Faculty are not the only ones who are fantastic; so are my peers. Every one of my teammates and fellow students is willing to help push one another to succeed.”
If Cross had to describe her time at Olivet so far, she would use the word “enjoyable.”
“I love the small town environment and how friendly everyone within the Olivet community is,” she said. “I have had many experiences, but the one that stands out to me the most is participating in Service Day. I love how we come together to give back to our community. I have never participated in such a thing until I attended The University of Olivet.”
Cross is not only an academic and a member of the Hosford Literary Society on campus, she is also a student-athlete on Olivet’s varsity softball team.
Her initial draw to The University of Olivet was the chance to play a sport again.
Combine this love of athletics with her love for the Native American population, and Cross not only had a place to compete in sports but a place to help her gain the skills necessary to seek right where wrongdoing so long had been in place.
“I want to build awareness of Native American tribes because I feel there is not enough true information available,” Cross said. “As a Native American myself, it is important for my people as a culture and a nation to be respected. History plays a huge role on social injustices from past centuries due to the lack of factual information.”
Her initial concerns after changing colleges have lessened, especially after interacting with Social Science Department Chair Cynthia Noyes, J.D.
“I have had many professors, but not one quite like Prof. Noyes,” said Cross. “Coming to Olivet, I wanted to set myself apart from the rest of the students within my department. Prof. Noyes is someone who is always willing to help her students, and when I expressed my goals she made sure I pushed myself to fulfill them.”
Cross is no longer a reserved individual. She is, rather, a red-and-white, vocal Olivetian.
“Olivet has helped me come out of my shell and made me a more outgoing individual,” Cross said. “I have to be able to communicate with all types of people. My career goals are to work with those struggling in poverty on Native American reservations. I hope to someday work with the federal government to help alleviate reservation poverty and ultimately work for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
“I would love to be an advocate to push Native American stereotypes out of the media, education and sports,” she said. “I would like to be a voice willing to speak up for Native Americans. Not enough people know what it’s like to be a Native American. I feel with my career goals and my experience at The University of Olivet, I will be able to, at least, make a difference for my people.”
Even her favorite professor sees promise radiate off Cross.
“Kaelin is a great student to have in class,” said Noyes. “She is thoughtful and willing to ask questions that move the discussion along. She has a good sense of what she wants to do, and what she needs to do to get there.”