By: Chris Norris
In November of 2013, I received a letter in the mail that completely changed my college plans. Prior to November, I had always planned on attending Indiana University in Bloomington. My plan was to spend my freshman year of college studying like crazy and then entering the Kelley School of Business during my sophomore year. I felt confident that I was interested in business, but in the back of my mind stood the fear of spending an entire academic year working to get into a program that ultimately might not even be of interest to me. I did my best to push this fear away and looked forward to going to IU in the fall of 2014, but there were some days where I just wasn’t so sure that this was my best option. Because of my uncertainty, I also applied to Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). This decision turned out to be a life changer.
As you might have guessed, the letter I received in the mail was a direct admit to the Kelley School of Business on the IUPUI campus. After getting through my initial stage of denial, I felt both excitement and nervousness. I am one who has a hard time accepting change in my life, so to think that my college plan might be altered entirely made me a bit uncomfortable. However, I was able to come to my senses and realize that I needed to visit IUPUI and see if I liked the campus and Indianapolis, in general.
My first and only visit to IUPUI was intriguing overall. I was able to attend a junior-level business class and get a feel for what a typical class would be like once I got into my major, which is marketing. This opportunity made me excited to study business as a freshman. Another thing that helped me choose the Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis, or Kelley Indy as it’s often called, was the fact that Indianapolis has a ton of job opportunities and if I wanted to get an internship, this would be a great way to do it. In fact, I landed my first summer internship with Fastenal at the Kelley Career Fair during the spring semester. The combination of an academic business environment and the thought of living in a big city like Indianapolis were major factors in helping me choose the Kelley School of Business on the IUPUI campus.
At orientation, I decided to sign up for “Honors Bus X103,” which is more commonly referred to as “Road Trip.” I mainly signed up because I had some friends taking the class and because it was considered a two-credit class, rather than only being a single credit like the other X103 classes offered. This class required students to arrive at school five days before IUPUI’s classes officially started. I ended up being very thankful for coming early because we got to move into the dorms earlier than the rest of the students, which saved a great deal of hassle on move-in day. It also provided the benefit of getting acquainted with other business students before classes actually started. The icebreakers and activities completed in Road Trip, in addition to getting to know other students in the Kelley House (6th floor of the University Tower) early, made my first official week of classes feel more like a reunion than an overwhelming feeling of “I don’t know anyone.”
Road Trip overall was a productive and rewarding experience. It felt like a lot of work at times, but the learning experiences and opportunities presented by the course made it completely worthwhile. For example, in addition to receiving help in getting adjusted to college in this course, our class also got to take four road trips (hence the name Road Trip) to businesses in various fields such as accounting, finance, marketing, and supply chain. We also took a fifth road trip to IU Bloomington for the “CFO Round Table,” where we participated in a professional question and answer session with two CFO’s from different companies. The Road Trip instructor, Maureen Kinney, along with my academic advisor, Loren Bumbalough, and the class mentor, Shelby Caulk, made Road Trip a friendly and helpful environment. They all made it very clear that they were willing to help us in any way possible. Not only were they willing to help when I was enrolled in the class, but even now I know that I can always contact any of them and that they are willing to provide assistance in any area in which I may need help. This unique servant’s attitude is something that I do not take for granted and that I greatly appreciate in many IUPUI faculty members who I have come in contact with during my first year of college.
Willingness to help has been an amazing trait that I have seen often in my dealings with Kelley faculty. Living in a world that can at times seem selfish makes me extra grateful for every person that goes out of their way to care for the well-being of others. My expectation coming to college was that I would have to figure everything out on my own. However, since day one at IUPUI, those expectations and fears have been completely abolished in regards to dealing with professors, advisors, etc. Rather than worrying about bothering faculty members, I take comfort in knowing that in their eyes, I am simply allowing them to add value to my life and that helping students is what they love to do. Some professors might seem kinder while others are more strict, but in the end I know that they just want to make me a better student and individual. That is the college experience that I have always wanted and I cannot wait to find out what the future holds for my college career at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.