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Kelleen Cullison

This Is Where I Should Be

by Kelleen Cullison | May 10, 2017

There were times this year I considered leaving Manchester University. I missed my family and my boyfriend of two years, who still is in high school back home.

My best friend moved to Chicago to go to Columbia, and in her classes she is writing for the books she wants to write. I'm writing papers on books, and she's writing books.

All of this made a part of me want to pack it in—the longing for my family and the jealousy that somewhere out there, people were getting a jump start into the field I wanted to be in.

But the other, larger part of me told me I needed to stay at Manchester, and I know why I never really considered leaving.

It's at Manchester my professors encourage my talents. They know my name and what my interests are. They recommend me for jobs, and ask me to address them informally.

At Manchester, I am not just a face in the crowd for them.

At Manchester, the professors are looking beyond graduation for me, offering internships and recommendations, and possible career paths.

I have a new job in the Writing Center next year, editing (my chosen profession) student papers. I'm gaining job experience to put on a resume. And I have it because two different professors told me I would be their choice, and nominated me.

I have fellow students who notice how hard I work. A senior noticed my enthusiasm in the literary magazine meetings, and asked me to be co-editor next year.

I have a professor who submitted our school paper to the ICPA where an article of mine won an award. These small steps are what encourage me to keep on my path, and that test me, and reassure me that I have potential.

I also have professors who hold pizza parties and ice cream socials because they want to get to know us better. I have professors who encourage me to study abroad, and listen to my doubts and fears.

Maybe I'm not writing a book right now. Maybe I'm not living in downtown Chicago where people are listening to seminars from published graduates. But my friend said something to me. She said, “Authors who got published. The ones who made it anyways.”

Columbia doesn't help you into the next step of your life. In fact, very few schools will do that for you, because once you're here paying tuition, they've already gotten what they wanted from you. At Manchester, the professors are thinking about what I need from them to succeed once I leave this stepping stone.

Because I go to Manchester, I know that I have a future career waiting for me afterwards. I trust that I will have a future.

And that's worth staying for. That's why I still choose MU.

Kelleen Cullison ’20 is pursuing an English major and minors in Journalism and Peace Studies. She hopes to work as an editor for a publishing company, and hopes to help current and prospective Manchester students avoid the mistakes she is currently making.

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