Desktop News | March 2023
Austyn West, a student in the College of Arts and Science, is determined to make the most of his college experience despite the challenges he faced as a first-generation student. West has put himself through college with hard work and dedication, balancing his academic responsibilities with extracurricular activities. He is dedicated to taking advantage of all the opportunities college offers and hopes to encourage the same feeling in other students.
Initially, West found it challenging to adapt to the college environment, feeling isolated and uncertain. However, his involvement in extracurricular activities, particularly the College of Arts and Sciences Ambassador program, helped him find his footing.
As an ambassador, West engages with donors, staff, faculty and students, sharing his experiences and creating meaningful connections with others. He treasures the close-knit community of the ambassador program and the shared goal of representing the college.
One of West’s greatest joys as an ambassador is speaking with prospective students and their parents, particularly those who are also first-generation college students. Having navigated the college system without guidance himself, he deeply understands the challenges these students face and is passionate about providing them with support and encouragement. He uses his experiences to answer questions that come along with the process and encourages these students to embrace the opportunities available to them.
“If you’re a first-generation college student like me, parents don’t always know what’s going on, and neither really do the students. So, to see them get comfort or be able to relax a little bit when I can answer their questions or point them in the right direction is very comforting to me,” said West. “I came in during COVID, so I didn’t really meet anybody to answer my questions. I didn’t know anything because my family hadn’t been to college yet, so this was all a new experience for me. And now, I try to help as many people as possible, and it has been one of my favorite things.”
West is grateful for the experiences and opportunities that college and the ambassador program has given him, and he looks forward to continuing to help future students. His involvement in extracurricular activities has been one of the highlights of his college experience, as it has allowed him to explore his passions and develop new skills.
“It’s definitely been the reason why I’ve loved the University so much, is my ability to get involved,” said West.
For more information on how to get involved with the ambassadors, visit the A&S Ambassador page.