Tell us about yourself. Hi! My name is Ijeoma Okorie, and I’m from Louisville, KY. I graduated with my Bachelors of Arts in Psychology in 2017. In August, I’ll be a second year Masters Student in the Higher Education Administration program at the University of Louisville. Hopefully, post-graduation, I’ll be able to obtain a position at a college or university working with Student Conduct and/or Care. Aside from school, I like to play trivia, shop, travel, and spend time with my four siblings.
You are a NODA intern. What is NODA and what is the internship? I’m currently serving as the NODA Intern for the SOAR Program with New Student and Family Programs. NODA is the National Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention programming. Every summer, undergraduate and graduate students alike have the opportunity to participate in an internship hosted by another institution that allows them to not only see a different college or university, but gather more information about the logistical pieces that makeup orientation. I have the opportunity to participate in this national program during the summer between my first and second years of graduate school.
You are getting a Masters in Student Affairs in Higher Education. Can you tell us about that and why Student Affairs? When I think of Student Affairs, I think of all the positions at a college or university that interact heavily with students and family members outside of the classroom. These can be admission counselors, housing and residence life personnel, orientation staff, university-level administrations, etc. I ended up choosing Student Affairs because I had the opportunity to work with students during my undergraduate career. Whether it was during my time as a Resident Assistant, admissions volunteer recruiter, or serving as a student ambassador, I always found myself in positions where I was able to help students and advocate for their best interests. It was those moments that swayed me towards Higher Education.
What are you hoping to gain from this internship at Missouri State? During my internship at Missouri State, I’m hoping to gain valuable insight into the overall operations of orientation programming, specifically the way that families are seamlessly and significantly incorporated in the students’ transitions, gain some student staff supervision experience, as well as an opportunity to improve my technological and social media exposure. Most importantly, I’m hoping to gain long-lasting friendships, network, and learn a little bit about an institution that differs from my alma mater and current university.
You’ve been on campus for about a month. What do you like most and why? Honestly, I love the university branding. I know that might be weird but I have never seen an institution’s mascot so widely presented around campus, plastered on every building with multiple statues across campus. The school spirit and pride is alive and well here, and I’m excited for it! Not to mention, the university traditions add to the spirit of Missouri State! The fountain in front of Meyer Library however, is definitely a huge favorite of mine, and I can’t help but swoon every time I go by!
What is your best advice for students starting college in the fall? One underestimates the power of student involvement. Academics bring you to the school, but your decision to participate in extracurricular organizations and activities will keep you feeling like you are a part of the campus community. Find your “home away from home” regardless of its affiliation (religious, FSL, ethnic, large or small programming, etc.), there is an organization for you and if not, create one! You have that ability here! But don’t over involve yourself. Cap yourself at two involvements your first year, and increase or decrease as necessary with each new year.
What’s your best advice for family members of our students? My best advice would be support your student. If your student is stressed about classes, listen to their fears and worries. If they need to change majors, hear their reasons. If they are potentially looking to take on a leadership role, support them. Regardless of if your student is living on campus or at home, this is a new experience for them as it is for you with them. My parents have five children and have gone through this transition with four of us. It’s never the same experience. We each had different needs and experiences, even though two of us went to the same institution. We lived in different halls, were different majors, took on involvement in different organizations despite being sisters. So support your student and trust that they know you love and care about them and only want the best for them.