Take a moment to get to know Michael Chapman, 2020-2021 SOAR Student Assistant.
Hello! My name is Michael Chapman, and I am a junior Intercultural Communication major with minors in Diversity Studies and Psychology and I am from Liberty, Missouri which is right outside of Kansas City.
Why do you think it’s important for student’s to get involved on campus? One of the key pieces of advice I have given as not only a Resident Assistant, but a SOAR Leader and Fraternity President is to Get Involved! Students will hear this all the time, but out of everything they hear, this is probably one of the most important. Not only did I find my home at Missouri State by getting involved, but I found my passion and destination for what I want to study in graduate school, which is Student Affairs in Higher Education!
What organizations are you involved with? How have these organizations helped you at Missouri State? Not only did I find my home at Missouri State by getting involved, but I found my passion and destination for what I want to study in graduate school, which is Student Affairs in Higher Education! As a low-income, first-generation, and openly gay college student it was really hard to just naturally fit in. I took a leap of faith my first semester freshman year and applied to be on the Hammons Hall Council where I actually ended up becoming president. This jump-started me to join my fraternity Delta Sigma Phi; Student Government Association which I am currently the Speaker Pro Tempore; The Beartones which I am the secretary; Fraternity and Sorority Leaders of Social Awareness which I am the Vice President of Administration; and even a spot on the Student Affairs Advisory Board. All of these organizations test my time management in all the right ways. They also help me step up as a leader, and challenge me to keep on top of my school work, ultimately giving me a more immediate purpose for the late night studying and lots of coffee.
You have been a SOAR leader. Why did you want to be a SOAR leader and what lessons did you learn? My sophomore year I was a Resident Assistant, and I loved helping new students in the high school to college transition, and that is what made me decide to leave Residence Life and try SOAR! Best. Decision. Ever. Not only did I learn better ways to facilitate and grow my leadership, but I learned how to think optimistically about the impacts I am making despite the many changes we undergo throughout the SOAR process.
For 20-21 you are an Orientation Assistant. Explain why you applied for this position and what do you hope to gain. All of the reasons above made me want to take my love for SOAR a step further into the role of an Orientation Assistant, and I am so thankful. I also had immense support from my fellow SOAR leaders who actually gave me the idea to go for the Orientation Assistant position. Something I personally struggle with is doubting myself, and I am forever thankful for my friends who see my potential, even when I don’t always see it myself. As an Orientation Assistant, I hope to gain more understanding of the field of Student Affairs by building connections between departments and with the multiple resources on campus, and I want to continue my love of helping students from all walks of life.
What advice do you have for family members to help them support their student? The biggest piece of advice I could give to a family member during this transition is to not be afraid to let your student fail every once in a while. My amazing mother didn’t always come to my rescue when I ran out of money, slept in for class, or forgot to separate my red socks with my white shirts, because she knew it was important for me to learn not only to fail, but how to rebuild and grow from that failure. Through those failures I have learned how to be a better human. My white shirts are thankful too! 🙂
What’s your favorite MSU tradition? Why? My favorite MSU tradition is Bear Wear Fridays! I love being able to represent Missouri State with all my peers every Friday and show some school spirit.
What is your best advice for students as they start a new year at Missouri State? The best advice I can give students as they start a new year at Missouri State is that kindness goes a long way. When in doubt, flash a smile. Showing kindness despite your mood can really help someone who may be going through a lot.
What is the best advice anyone gave you about going to college? The best advice I was given when going to college was to know your resources and use them. There are a lot of amazing resources on campus that are FREE! By using my resources on campus I have not only been more inclined to succeed, but I have also been able to offer others suggestions of resources that have helped others in their college journey.
If you could give your 18 year old self, advice what would it be? If I were to give my 18 year old self some advice it would be to ask for help. There is no shame in needing help as this is a prime time for human development. Like my best friend ever, Hannah Montana says, “Everybody makes mistakes..nobody’s perfect!” If you know one thing about me, it’s that I love quoting Hannah Montana, especially in interviews! College is such a great experience though, and despite all odds and many scholarship applications I continue to fill out each year, I am so thankful to be where I am today. The help from my mom, professors, advisors, friends, organizations, and my peers is how and why I stay. Make sure to find your why through your experiences. I can’t wait to welcome new students and show them how they can make their Missouri STATEment on campus!