Student Support Services
Meet: Jennifer Kishun
Q: So maybe you can tell us a little bit about yourself.
A: Well, my major is Special Education. During the summertime I was able to teach for Dowling College's Children's Program, and I loved it. It was so wonderful. However, they weren't Special Ed students; I just loved being around them--it makes me want to go out there and help other children.
My major when I first came to college was actually Psychology. I was debating between Psychology and Physical Therapy. I picked Psychology because I felt that there are a lot of people out there who need a lot of help. I always thought I was a good listener and I think I give good advice, so I figured that would be the best way for me to go. But I wanted to work with children and I didn't want to stay in school that long; after finding out about Psychology I was like, "Ooh, I'll really be in school for life!"
My minor was Education. And after I took my first Ed class I realized that that would probably be the best way. I could still be able to help kids, and do something that would be rewarding. So I picked Special Ed, which is Psych-based--I love Psychology so much--and that's pretty much what I do here.
I work for the Dowling Institute on campus and I love working there. I've worked there since I was a freshman--clerical work.
Q: How has Student Support Services helped you?
A: I love Student Support Services. When I got the application in the mail, I didn't know what they were about, but after the orientation, they were just so helpful to me. All the counselors helped me out a lot: picking classes, knowing professors, telling me who I should go with. Anybody who takes advantage of Student Support has the upper hand, I think. And they're so nice; they get you mixed up in things. I was actually sophomore class president and if it wasn't for Student Support, I don't think I would actually go out and do something like that. They kind of encourage you.
Q: So what made you decide to go for class president?
A: I wanted to join something. It was sophomore year, and I was like, I can't just go to college, I have to do something. I'm not really a sporty person, and I wouldn't go out for the newspaper, but I thought I had some leadership skills. I called student government and they told me they needed a class president--that I could run--and I really wasn't sure. I am so nervous in front of a crowd. But I thought about it--if nothing else, it would look great on my resume!
I enjoyed it, going to the meetings and a few functions. I was involved with Adopt-a-Child during Christmas time, and it helped me a lot; I was able to take advantage of something of the college, and I really liked it. I would do it again if I had the time, but I don't.
Q: Maybe you could describe your relationship with your mentee.
A: was really glad that I was asked to be a part of it [the mentoring program]. I think it's rewarding. Basically, Jennifer and I can talk. I think she was having a difficult time, going in-between majors, and I helped her a little bit. She was Education for a little while; she came in as a Business major and thought maybe she wouldn't be happy doing that. She went to Education and I talked to her--since I'm an Education major--and pointed out a few things. I told her she would have to go for a master's degree and she really wasn't sure if she wanted to to that, so she went back to Business. But that was her decision.
I love the mentoring program. Even though me and Jen are about the same age, I think she was a little confused, but if you speak to somebody--anybody--it doesn't have to be a mentor, it really helps you if you're able to have your feelings out and everything else.
Q: For a new student who feels perhaps a little bit overwhelmed by all the new demands placed on them by college, and may be not so sure about which direction he or she wants to go in, what would you say to him or her?
A: I don't know, because I stress out a lot! But with the new demands, there is a lot. It wasn't so much my first semester but the second semester here; it always seems the spring semester is shorter, and I had two papers due and I was going crazy-I had a bunch of tests-I had a very hard Humanities class, and I don't think I got along too well with my Humanities teacher, so that didn't help at all. I was really stressed out. I was crying every night. It was horrible.
But I think you just have to take a deep breath, and keep telling yourself that if you really, truly want it, you're going to get through it. You've just got to take it one step at a time. It is hard when you're doing it, but once it's over you're like, "Wow, that was a piece of cake!" I always find myself saying that. "Oh, it wasn't that bad." But when you're going through it, it is. You just have to know that it's going to get better-not easier-but it will all pay off, I think.