From JCU Student to Admissions Counselor

Just a couple months ago I was preparing for my final exams. I was worrying that I would never find a job, dreading saying goodbye to all my friends, and feeling sad that the most amazing years of my life so far were coming to an end. But as each chapter closes, there is a new one to be opened up.

I was wrapping up my final semester at JCU when I received an email about a job opportunity from none other than John Cabot University: “Do you want to travel and work for JCU as an Admissions Counselor?” UMMMM YES!!! I immediately thought about how amazing it would be to travel all around the United States. I had spent the last few years seeing Europe as a John Cabot student, but had still never seen most of my home country. As the days went on and I thought about the job more, I started thinking about who I was when I was 18 and preparing for college.

I visited campuses all over the United States, waiting for that “spark” to hit me that my guidance counselors kept talking about. I never felt it. It is the dream of most high school seniors to go to a four-year university, but I just did not find the right one in time. I spent a year and a half at a community college before a friend told me about John Cabot University. Finally, the spark.

Elizabeth Geoghegan, Jcu teachers, jcu admissions Counselor, study abroad Rome, working in a universityWhile I was in my first year at JCU, I had the pleasure of taking the Travel Writing course with Elizabeth Geoghegan. Not only is she an incredible writer, but she is also one of the most motivating and inspiring people I have ever met. She pushed all of her students to get lost, hop on a random bus and visit parks when we were experiencing writer’s block. She made me realize how important it was to document every trip, even if it was just the little ones around Rome. Thanks to her I now have an entire journal filled with memories.

I now also have a pretty large vinyl collection thanks to Peter Sarram. As a Communications student, I Peter Saram, Jcu teachers, jcu admissions Counselor, study abroad Rome, working in a universityhad the privilege of taking multiple classes with Professor Sarram throughout my undergraduate career. My favorite one was Popular Music and Mass Culture. I went into the class thinking I had a wide knowledge of blues, rock and roll and R&B. “How much more can I really learn?” I foolishly thought. But that is the amazing thing about Professor Sarram: he is a walking encyclopedia. He seems to know everything about everything. I was amazed by his knowledge of every genre of music and he pushed me to continue learning and kept reminding me there is always more to learn.

Then came my Senior Capstone Project with Professor Lopez. I had the opportunity to meet with him on multiple occasions outside of the classroom. Whenever I was feeling overwhelmed or confused, Professor professor Lopez, Jcu teachers, jcu admissions Counselor, study abroad Rome, working in a universityLopez was always there to say, “take a deep breath piano, piano”, and guide me in the right direction. He is one of those people who genuinely care about his students. At the end of each semester, he always made it a point to ask the class what he and the rest of the department could be doing better. He took the time to get to know each of us and was always there to tell a funny story that somehow turned into one of the most motivational speeches you ever heard. There was never a dull moment with Professor Lopez.

Coming to JCU was the best decision I ever made in my 22 years of life. I got an education you simply cannot get anywhere else in the world. I sat in classes with students from all over the world and professors from some of the most prestigious universities. I made friends with people from Hawaii, Lebanon, Dubai, Turkey, Ukraine, Guatemala, Georgia and the list goes on. It still blows my mind that people from all over the world can have so much in common and yet be so different.Elizabeth Geoghegan, Jcu teachers, jcu admissions Counselor, study abroad Rome, working in a university, vinyl

My experience here in Rome felt like a dream; it was absolutely perfect. I am sad that my undergraduate career has ended, but I’m thrilled that I will now be able to help other future students have the same life-changing JCU experience that I did.

I am excited to embark on this new journey as a U.S. Admissions Counselor. I cannot wait to meet the students who might one day have the pleasure of sitting in on Professor Sarram’s lectures or hearing one of Professor Lopez’s motivational speeches.

If I had one piece of advice to give to high school students it would be: do not settle. The traditional college experience is not for everyone. The “spark” you are looking for might just happen to be somewhere else in the world.

Olivia Austin

Class of 2016
Communications major

Student Spotlight