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Amazing student Leighton Rowell: potential for happiness

What we mean when we talk about the university experience being about more than training for a career or simply finding a job is given perfect voice in the words of Amazing Student Leighton Rowell:

As an intern for the local newspaper during my senior year of high school, I wrote an op-ed about my search for the perfect college. “My number one criterion is potential for happiness,” I wrote. Four years later and a senior once more, I couldn’t be happier with my decision to attend the University of Georgia. It is far and away the best choice I have ever made. 

My main extracurricular activity freshman year was selecting a major. Almost as soon as I set foot on campus I jumped from journalism to international affairs, to history and Romance languages by the start of my sophomore year. Although my stint in Grady was short-lived, writing for campus media has nevertheless been a key component of my college career. As a sophomore I joined The Georgia Political Review, UGA’s first undergraduate journal. After writing an article on the importance of diversity in universities, I partnered with SGA and Teach for America’s Campus Campaign Coordinators to facilitate a discussion on educational equality. It was an unforgettable introduction to journalism’s potential as a force for change, and between fall and spring semesters I followed this lead to Israel and Palestine, where as a delegate to the Project Interchange Seminar in Campus Media I met with community members, journalists and policymakers (including Secretary of State John Kerry) to discuss the interplay between media, government and conflict in the region. Returning to campus I interned at WUGA and also joined The Red & Black, where as assistant news editor and senior reporter I have investigated sexual assault response procedure on college campuses. Together these experiences have led me to Athenia, a documentary-style podcast serving the Athens community, and The Georgia News Lab, a yearlong investigative reporting collaborative with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB-TV.

A double major in history and Romance languages, Rowell is a young woman with a very valuable set of credentials. Not for the market, necessarily, though definitley that, too; but valuable to her, as a person and a citizen ready to contribute and find some degree of happiness. There is no perfect student or university path - there are thousands (upon thousands) of them. And that is precisely the point: to find your own path. As Rowell explains, this discovery takes effort, courage to try and curiosity to open yourself up to experiences, exploring activities that ask something of you, that require thought, engagement, and yes, work.

Thanks Leighton, for sharing your experience. Bookmark this profile. List in your How to Get the Most of Your University Experience file and refer to it often.

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