Incoming features editor Jennifer McGraw describes her experience as a first-year transfer student at Rowan. From her coursework in public relations to her experiences in the Bantivoglio Honors College, McGraw shares her insights and opinions. - File Photo / Amanda Palma

I want to preface this reflection piece by saying this is my personal experience upon transferring to Rowan University — especially during COVID-19. There are so many experiences I am thankful for and would love to touch on a few of them. 

I originally wanted to come to Rowan to study music business. I made sure my submission was top-notch; however, things went south when I was not accepted into the program. Having to find a new major was difficult because I did not see myself doing anything other than music as a career. It was disheartening to know that four years of music theory in high school, getting a four on my AP Music Theory exam and having written loads of songs meant almost nothing.

Looking back, I realize how competitive that major actually was to get into, and so I realize that it must have been the top of the top that got into that program. 

Ultimately, I chose to study public relations because it was a degree I could complete quickly. I figured I could move on to a music school after getting this degree, and use it as a backup plan. After studying Basic PR Writing in the summer and a few more writing-intensive courses with amazing teachers and faculty, I really fell in love with this degree.

At first, I didn’t even think to add more degrees to my studies because I wanted to just get my degree and move on to what I wanted to do. Now, I found a passion for both writing and something that has long time been a hobby I enjoyed: sports.

The good thing about public relations is that, like a business administration degree, it’s so broad and you can do a lot after earning this degree. Finding my passion for both sports and writing, especially in PR, allowed me to enjoy writing about sports, and in turn learn journalism through experience thanks to The Whit, my blog and where I can show that off in classes.

I didn’t know how, but I knew I wanted to be involved the second I became a student at Rowan. One of the best ways I could go about this was to join the Honors College (shoutout to my wonderful HSO board!). The Bantivoglio Honors College is an enriching and awesome college for students hoping to excel above their expectations through academics and volunteerism. I was able to join the Honors Student Organization, an honors version of the SGA, and helped co-write and co-produce the Honors Murder Mystery Dinner. Through these two experiences, I enjoyed gaining unique experiences and making so many amazing friends.

Unfortunately, however, unless you’re in a STEM-related degree, the Honors College doesn’t have a lot to offer you. I really enjoyed everything that the college had to offer, but it could only provide so much to non-STEM majors. With just a little more work, I think the Honors College would be a great college that could provide a lot to students of other majors. Though each student has had their own experience with the college, for me personally, I did not feel like I was really benefitting. 

Since finding my new career path, I knew I needed to immerse myself in as many clubs and organizations as possible that would best benefit me. Rowan Radio and The Whit, two award-winning organizations on campus, were the ones I immersed myself in as they would give me the best and most credible assets to my resume. I only look forward to being more involved with these organizations and seeing what they have to offer when COVID-19 is not an issue.

Since transferring, the one thing I missed out on is how busy Rowan Boulevard can get and how bustling the student center is. I have yet to experience these things since COVID-19 hit. However, I know I’ll have the opportunity to experience these awesome moments when the campus opens back up and COVID-19 passes.

Believe it or not, COVID-19 also allowed me to take advantage of lots of opportunities. Thanks to the student relief fund, I was able to set aside some money from that fund for gas money and for food on campus. 

At first, I didn’t think Rowan was the college for me. After getting involved with the right career path and joining the clubs and organizations that would best benefit me, I realized just how valuable Rowan will be for my future career. For that, I’m hugely grateful.

For comments/questions about this story, tweet @TheWhitOnline.

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