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My Path to Higher Education

Jamie L. Little
University of Arkansas

Michael Hevel 9/17/2014 7:48 PM

Comment [1]: Great APA title page, but be sure
to have your page number be in the same font as
the body of the paper.


My Path to Higher Education
As a child, the thought of not going to college never crossed my mind. In fact, until I got

Michael Hevel 9/17/2014 7:49 PM

Comment [2]: Good to restate title on p. 2, but is
this supposed to be bold?

to high school, I didnt even know it was an option. My dad has a Masters Degree from
Stanford, and my mom has a Bachelors Degree from Ohio State University. My parents always
asked: where are you going to college and never: are you going to college? Growing up in
that atmosphere, I was exposed to college at a very young age, and always knew that I would be
going to college and eventually getting a Masters Degree. The process in deciding what I was
going to get my Masters Degree in, however, was not as easy and definitely took some time on a
path of self-discovery to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life.
In high school, I lived in Mission, Texas just a few miles North of the border of
Mexico. I was on the Varsity Swim Team all four years, and had my sights set on swimming in

Michael Hevel 9/17/2014 7:49 PM

Comment [3]: I have a lot of friends who work

Michael Hevel 9/17/2014 7:50 PM

Comment [4]: Which is a key difference between
many young people with parents who went to
college and those with parents who didnt go to

Michael Hevel 9/17/2014 7:50 PM

Comment [5]: How did you come to know this?

Michael Hevel 9/17/2014 7:51 PM

Comment [6]: This is a good start to a thesis, but
I think you could add a sentence that better foretells
what youre going to argue/assert with this paper.

Michael Hevel 9/17/2014 7:51 PM

Deleted: was living

college. While I was extremely determined to make this goal a reality, I truthfully, did not have
the skill set needed to perform at a large, public university. So, my dad and I set out and looked
at multiple Division 2 and Division 3 schools in Texas. After what felt like a tour of the entire
state of Texas, I settled on the University of The Incarnate Word (UIW). This private, liberal
arts college in the heart of San Antonio caught my eye: it was only four hours away from home, I
was getting a small scholarship for academics, and I was going to be able to continue to swim!
After everything got started, I still had plenty of time on my hands, and I found myself
looking for more. Many students commuted to campus, there wasnt much school spirit, and
there were very few student organizations to join. Overall, there just wasnt much going on in
terms of campus life. Swimming also soon became a job, rather than something I looked forward
to doing. While it was an extremely difficult decision to stop swimming, I knew it was what I
needed to do to get more out of my college experience. By Thanksgiving, with all of these

Michael Hevel 9/17/2014 7:52 PM

Comment [7]: Should this be capitalized? See
APA manual.


factors combined, I knew that this wasnt the place for me and that I was going to transfer
schools. A few days after that, I had decided I was going to go to Texas A&M University
(TAMU). In fact, that was the only school I applied to transfer to. I had no intention of coming
back to UIW, and I had no backup plan in case I didnt get in to TAMU. That being said, I am
extremely grateful that I was accepted and that I was able to start a new journey in College
The decision to go to TAMU is one that I still cant explain very well. At the time I

Michael Hevel 9/17/2014 7:59 PM

Comment [8]: J

applied I knew nothing about the school. In fact, I had no idea where College Station even was,
but there was something in my gut that told me going there was the right decision for me.
Fortunately, I was accepted and couldnt wait to get a fresh startagain. Before classes even

Michael Hevel 9/17/2014 8:00 PM

started, I was invited to attend Transfer Camp (an extended orientation camp for Transfer


students starting in the fall) a few weeks before classes started. Little did I know, going to this


Michael Hevel 9/17/2014 8:00 PM

camp would impact the rest of my college experiences, and ultimately, my choice to start a
career in Higher Education.
Before I got to TAMU, I was very quiet and reserved, but there was something about
going to a new school where no one knew me or my background, that allowed me to open up and
really take advantage of this new opportunity. As soon as school started I applied to be a
counselor for Howdy Camp, which is the same thing as Transfer Camp, but is held for new
students in the Spring rather than the Fall semester. Miraculously, I was accepted and began my
own journey in extended orientation!
As each semester went on, my involvement in extended orientation continued to grow. I
was a counselor for Howdy Camp and Transfer Camp, I was a Co-Chair (responsible for the
counselors) for both camps, and the last year I was able to participate in these organizations I

Michael Hevel 9/17/2014 8:00 PM

Comment [9]: This is somewhat unique in that
going to an institution as large as A&M helped you
open up.


was the Executive Director and Director of Operations for Howdy Camp. My involvement in
extended orientation continued to grow not because I wanted to be the Executive Director one

Michael Hevel 9/17/2014 8:05 PM

Comment [10]: Check APA manual for when to
capitalize and when to lowercase titles.

day but rather because I loved it so much and didnt want to leave. After serving in one position,
I continued to apply for the next position up so newer members could gain the experiences I
already had in those roles, and so I could also remain in the organization.
As mentioned, my last experience in Extended Orientation was served as the Executive
Director and Director of Operations for Howdy Camp. In these positions I worked very closely
with a full time advisor, and a few graduate assistants in the TAMU Higher Ed program. These

Michael Hevel 9/17/2014 8:05 PM

individuals really helped shape my leadership experience and unbeknownst to me, my higher

Deleted: G

education journey as well. They pushed me out of my comfort zone to lead others, speak in front

Deleted: A

Michael Hevel 9/17/2014 8:05 PM

of a large group of people, and ultimately be responsible for a camp for new students coming to
While my time in extended orientation was influential on who I am, and how I got to
Higher Education, my time in the classroom was just as important. Trying to decide my major
was one of the hardest things I had to do in college. I was accepted as a General Studies Major at
TAMU, but I was only able to stay in that program for a year, before I was forced to pick my
major. At this time I still thought I wanted to be an Accountant, or do some sort of business
work. Unfortunately, I was just short of the GPA requirements to apply to Mays Business School
so I found myself looking at two options: elementary education and economics (Liberal Arts

Michael Hevel 9/17/2014 8:06 PM

Major). My mom was a teacher and I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to be a

Deleted: was

teacher of some sort as well. After enrolling in a basic education class, I was required to go to a

Comment [11]: So was mine..

local elementary school to help a teacher in their classroom, and tutor kids one on one. This
experience taught me that I did not have near enough patience to teach at the elementary school

Michael Hevel 9/17/2014 8:06 PM


level, so I decided elementary education was not for me. While I did not go down the education
path, this class helped me learn more about myself than I was able to in any other class. It was
influential in that I realized teaching in a school wasnt for me, but I did still have an itch for
wanting to help others learn, and provide resources for them that they may not have gotten
Ultimately, I chose economics as my major. I was never truly excited about this major,
nor did I know what I was going to do with it after I graduated, but it was something I could do.
After I graduated from TAMU, I still had no idea what I wanted to do, but I found a job at a debt
collection and mortgage servicing company as a Foreclosure, Real Estate Owned, and Suit-onNote Analyst. Shortly after working there, I realized that job was not for me. I still knew that I
wanted to work in an atmosphere where I can help others learn, and grow personally, without
being in a classroom. However, I had no idea what that job was.
During a conversation with my dad about my current job, and trying to figure out what it
was that I really wanted to do, he joked about how much I loved extended orientation when I was
in school, and that I should do that forever. Even though I had a full time advisor and grad
assistants in a Higher Education program helping me with Howdy Camp, it didnt click with me
that I could actually do that as a job until that moment. After some thought and research, I
discovered there was so much more to Higher Education than extended orientation and that this
was the path I never knew I always wanted. Looking back, the advisors I had truly helped me
grow as a person outside of the classroom and did so in a way that made me better prepared for
the real world after graduation. The realization that a Masters in Higher Education was a
perfect way to help and teach others, while possibly providing them with resources and/or

Michael Hevel 9/17/2014 8:06 PM

Comment [12]: J


support that they may not have had otherwise is exactly what Ive wanted to do it just took me
a little longer than others to discover this was the path for me!
Higher Education Autobiography Rubric
Comments: I enjoyed reading about your experiences as an undergraduate, Jamie. This is generally a strong submission for a first
paper in graduate schoolmostly adheres to APA format and few of major grammatical. The future assignments will need to be a
bit more formal, and I look forward to reading both of them.

Meets expectations

Room for

The paper provides information about
experiences and goals related to
higher education.

The paper engages the overarching

question, How have your
experiences at college and
universities shaped your decision to
attend graduate school and prepare
for a career in higher education?

The paper opens with a thoughtful

The paper includes an early thesis

The papers paragraphs support the
thesis statement and include clear
topic sentences.

The papers conclusion summarizes

the paper and does not introduce new


The paper is 4-5 pages in length,
double-spaced, and in a 12-point serif

The paper does not contain errors in

grammatical structure or spelling.

The paper adheres to APA formatting.

Grade: 95

Major improvement