Janessa Siegel – Humans of UofL

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    I was born and raised on the east side of Louisville, KY until I was eight years old. Once I turned eight we moved towards the south side of Louisville. During high school I loved playing volleyball and stepping on a step team. Both teams showed me what it meant to be a team player, and helped me develop my leadership skills. I also participated in the National American Miss Pageant, INSPIRE summer enrichment program, and Louisville Central Community Center, and many more volunteer initiatives. All of these programs gave me a sense of purpose and determination. They also helped me build a passion for helping people and using my skills to benefit the community. If I had to give advice about getting involved, I would say GO FOR IT. Take advantage of every opportunity given to you because it will benefit you in one way or another. We as humans are a combination of our experiences. From our upbringing at home, to our experiences at school, everything contributes to the amazing specimen we call “Ourselves.” Getting involved allows you to see what you like and dislike, skills, downfalls, fears, dreams, opportunities, and much more. People who tend to be successful in life take advantages of opportunities, and getting involved provides that for you. It also allows you to build a network around you that will help you in the future. These people can help you find a job, a place to stay, or be there when you just need a shoulder to cry on. Involvement is such an amazing thing for everyone. I know I would not be the person I am today, or know the people I know today, without having gotten involved in high school and college.

    As a Louisville native, surprisingly, UofL was not my first choice. Originally, I was going to attend an out of state school, but due to my scholarship with UofL, I decided to stay. This was the best decision I ever made in my life. Freshman year was pretty slow for me in terms of getting involved, but once I conquered my fear of failure, I started joining organizations and never looked back. The first organization I joined was USHER (Undergraduate Students Helping Recruit). Eventually I became a C.O.N.E.C.T mentor and started developing my own network of friends and mentors. While getting my feet wet in student organizations, I was struggling a lot to pay for school expenses. I had a full tuition scholarship, but everything else had to be paid by me. My parents made too much for me to qualify for grants, so the only other resources available were loans and additional scholarships. I did not want to go into a lot of debt; so I got a job. But, my grades started to suffer. Since I was on an academic scholarship and my grades dropped, I was at risk of losing my scholarship. Realizing I needed help, people in financial aid found ways to help me pay for school. They also told me about organizations that had additional scholarships, and that advice steered me in the right direction. Once I was able to improve my GPA, I became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. That opportunity allowed me to become the president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, which led to a great mentor mentee relationship with the Dean of Students at the time (Dr. Martis). The Director of Marketing position of SAB (Student Activities Board) opened up, and I figured that would give me great experience for my degree. I applied and was fortunate to receive the position exposing me to a new side of UofL. Through SAB, and other organizations, I was able to meet many people and eventually became a Cardinal Ambassador. This opportunity, along with being involved, helped me find my passion in student affairs and led to me investigate furthering my education in Higher Education Administration and Student Personnel. After my positions with SAB and NPHC were over, I decided to apply for the President of the Association of Black Students (ABS) position and was blessed enough get the position. Through ABS, I developed a relationship with the Provost, President of SGA, and the Director of the Multicultural center. My relationship with the Director of the Multicultural Center turned into an mentor and mentee relationship, and he later on became a crucial part in me obtaining my first Higher Education job. During my senior year, I not only built close relationships with amazing people; I also received the greatest honors given to any female student at the University of Louisville, Ms. Cardinal. Earning that award literally made me cry because UofL had such an impact on my life. Not only was the title humbling, I later found out I was the first African American female to earn this award. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and I know me going to UofL was my destiny. The University of Louisville is one of a kind, and it is my honor to say I am an Alum of this school. GO CARDS!!!