May is a month of change for many Fort Hays State University Tigers. As the spring semester winds down, hard-working students don caps and gowns for commencement before beginning their professional careers.
As the end of their undergraduate years approach, a few graduating students looked back on the time they spent in college and shared what they have learned during their years at Fort Hays State.
Sean Engler will graduate this weekend with his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in graphic design. Originally from Wichita, he decided to study at FHSU for its location and because one of his former teachers recommended the university.
“She told me that if I wanted to stay in Kansas, that Fort Hays State University was the best school for graphic design,” he said.
Besides learning the ins and outs of his chosen career path, Engler has also learned that FHSU is full of people who will support him and share his life with him. He used this lesson to advise incoming freshmen to find their own campus communities.
He recommends exploring student organizations where “you can find like-minded people who will build you up and become lifelong friends.”
Alex Polignano is receiving her degree in teacher education this spring. She came to FHSU in 2017 from Falcon, Colo., for the university’s education program and to play soccer for the Tigers.
Throughout her college career, she has learned that each day has highs and lows, but that she needs to take each one as a learning experience. Most of all, she has learned to enjoy her college experience.
“No matter how badly your day or week (or, let's face it, the whole month) might be, keep your head up,” Polignano said.
She suggests to incoming freshmen to learn to enjoy their time in college, reminding them that this is a time they will never experience again.
“Go and try new things and meet new people,” Polignano said. “Make silly mistakes and embarrass yourself. Experience all you can, and feel it deeply.”
Like Polignano, Anthony Ventura from Plainville came to FHSU to participate in athletics, joining the track and field team his first year. He also chose Fort Hays State for its campus atmosphere and for the chance to learn from the professors he knew in the Werth College of Science, Technology and Mathematics.
Graduating with his Bachelor of Science degree (pre-medicine), Ventura has learned about health in and out of the classroom.
“The greatest lesson I learned is to pay attention to my mental health and to utilize the tools and opportunities given,” he said.
Ventura has a variety of advice for freshmen – to be attentive to the people around them, to create the life they want to live, and to seek out opportunities.
“The greatest advice I can ever give is to never bring others down,” he said, “and to create a culture of helping one another to success.”
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Corie is a student intern in the Office of University Relations and Marketing.