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Building the Skills to Overcome Obstacles – Jillian Jackson

“When I started at Meredith, I was planning to major in biology. Since middle school, I thought pursuing a career in STEM was what I needed to do. During my first year at Meredith, however, I was struggling to grasp the course material and slowly started to realize I was unfulfilled in studying biology. 

I expressed an interest in event planning to my freshman faculty advisor, the late Timothy Hendrix. He encouraged me to register for an event planning course that had just been added to the hospitality and tourism management program. 

In the fall of my sophomore year, I took the class and felt I was exactly where I needed to be. Hearing the instructors Courtney Hopper and Dana Kadwell, who are sisters and Meredith alumnae, speak about their experiences in the hospitality industry made me reflect on my own path. I promptly connected with Hannah Keeton Hughson and Michael Altman from the School of Business and declared business administration and hospitality and tourism management as my majors. 

To earn class credit, I volunteered with A Southern Soiree, a Raleigh-based event planning company. After that experience, I kept in contact with the planner and she offered me an internship position, which is bolstering my studies. 

I believe each person I have made a relationship with at Meredith has shaped my college experience into a well-rounded and highly remarkable time. I can confidently say that both faculty and students truly care and are never afraid to express it. 

Growing into an adult is a challenge I am still facing but I know my experiences here at Meredith helped me build the skills I need to overcome any obstacle life may bring my way. In college, I have learned that I don’t have to know all the answers. The peers, advisors, and faculty around me have often helped me figure out solutions and I take advantage of the opportunity to connect with them. 

As a resident assistant, I have bonded with residents during our time together living on campus. I am also the president of the Meredith Activities Board and plan campus-wide events to help students make memories. My college experience has been enhanced by the connections I have made with fellow students. 

I chose Meredith because of the feelings of inspiration and empowerment I experienced when I attended the Leadership Conference for High School Juniors. During my college search, I kept searching for those feelings. At the time, I was surprised Meredith was the only place I found them. Now as a student here, I realize those feelings were also sparked by the sense of belonging and validation for the first time. My experiences at Meredith are rooted in the abundant amount of resources available in our community, each catered to the success of every individual.”

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