Helping new students transition to UNI life

University of Northern Iowa student Jessica Staudt fell in love with UNI the moment she stepped on campus.

The senior elementary education major could talk for hours about the opportunities available to UNI students and knows her way around campus like the back of her hand.

These qualities make her the perfect candidate to invite new students to UNI. Staudt, along with 17 other UNI students, is a Summer Jessica StaudtOrientation Staff member, responsible for showing new students the ins and outs of UNI.

During orientation, Staudt not only teaches students about UNI, but also gets to know them on a personal level. Being in charge of a small group of around 12-18 students allows her to connect more closely with each student.

Staudt said she sees students become more confident about transitioning to UNI as orientation moves along.

"We see the students coming in all nervous and unsure of what this will be like, and at the end of orientation we see them with their schedule of classes and they are confident with what they will be doing in the fall. It's really exciting for me," she said.

The number one thing Staudt tells students at orientation is to get involved on campus.

"I was surprised how easy it was to get connected with other students, faculty and resources on campus," she said of her own experience at UNI. "UNI is truly a community, but I had not expected it to be so easy to become involved. I feel that everyone can find something of their interest that fits with their personality."

Staudt has taken her own advice and has been heavily involved on campus.

"During my time at UNI, I have been involved in a number of on-campus activities, but a few that I have been most involved with include Student Admissions Ambassadors, Up Til Dawn, Kappa Delta Pi, Summer Orientation Staff and the Department of Residence as an RA for three years," she said. "These involvements have made my college experience. I've learned more about life and what is required to truly succeed as an individual and professional from these activities than I could have ever hoped to in a classroom."

Staudt also advises new students to trust their instincts.

"If some thing or place seems right for you, go for it," she tells students. "This is your time to do what will be best for you. Try to make sure the decisions you are making are your own and not because of someone else.  If a major excites you initially, trust that excitement."