meant for more than this via
Junior Alexa Uribe spoke about her experience as a first-generation college student at the “Meant for More Than This” VIA on Feb. 28.
Photo by MU

Student, Faculty, Staff Panel Share College, Manchester Stories at VIA

Sam France

The VIA on Monday, Feb. 28, called “Meant for More Than This” featured five students and three faculty and staff, including President Dave McFadden. They told their stories of how they faced challenges and pushed through them.

The first speaker was Alexa Uribe, a junior accounting major. She is also a first-generation student and said she didn’t have a single idea of what she was doing when she same to college. She has to juggle being a full-time student, taking care of her brothers, working, and taking calls for her parents.

Uribe explained how when she came to Manchester, she felt right at home because the school really helped her stay on track. “My amazing advisor Leslie literally kept me away from dropping out of school,” she said.

Uribe wants to keep striving for more and moving forward. “I don’t want to just stop here,” she said. “I want to keep going and make more out of myself than the average student. We didn’t make it this far just to be average.”

Senior Ian Parslow, the second speaker, started off with a baseball in his hand and said that when he thinks of baseball he thinks of failure. He explained how Mike Trout is one of the greats baseball players of all time, but he fails 70 percent of the time. “Our failures mold ourselves into who we are going to be,” Parslow said.

He then talked about his own failures. Parslow went into the military and got hurt on a run; he was then discharged and came back depressed and anxious. He came to MU in 2017 but dropped out because he focused on partying over school. He then spent 12 months as a corrections officer before quitting. He then became a young 1A head baseball coach, but the team was unable to play a game due to COVID-19.

He considers all of those different failures in his life. He eventually made it back to Manchester and wanted to be able to look at his friends and family and say he came out with a huge success. “You can quit when it’s tough or reach for more,” he said.

Dr. Alicia Dailey, the next speaker and assistant professor of social work, started her story by explaining how she was scared to go into 4th grade because someone told her it was hard. Still, she did well despite her fears. She took drama lessons and learned how to project her voice and get into others’ skin. She has had fears of racism, she was afraid to be a part of an inclusion council in 2019, and she was afraid to present at national conferences.

“When you’re afraid to do something, don’t try to get rid of the fear; just do it afraid,” she said. “Fear is not to be looked about as a barrier but as a gateway for new opportunities.”

Pres. Dave then spoke about his story. When he came to Manchester as a first year, he was dead set on law school and politics. He then met his wife and married her a year later. His next plan was to go to college and be a part of the Church of the Brethren nationally, but he dropped out. He then went on what he called a “downward spiral” of different jobs, but eventually made it back to school. He had to make some hard and important decisions but never got his hopes high because he didn’t want to be let down.

He noted how Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery, reflects his journey. “There can be beauty in things that have been broken,” he said.

The next speaker was sophomore Adrian Allen. In his second year of high school, there was a break in at his home, and he was held at gunpoint. He thought he was going to die. Allen was basically homeless after that because his mother didn’t want him to live there anymore. He stopped talking to people and got anxious, but then saw a flyer to study abroad for 11 months. He wanted to do it and got there, but his experience got cut short due to the pandemic, which really brought him down. He then remembered a random college visit he took in 7th grade. He applied to Manchester and now is what he calls a “big part” of the university.

Nursing leader Katie Edwards spoke next. In her story, she just graduated and got a good ICU job. She just got her schedule after her orientation and started to cry because she was afraid of failing and doing things wrong. So she asked people for help, and grew and learned. She still takes care of people in the ICU and teaches students.

Student Shelbi Corlett, the next speaker, didn’t have lots of family that went to college and never really thought about going, so she had to enter the military to open that doorway. After the military, she postponed going to school for a year and dove into work. She was eventually working four jobs and sleeping in her car. She said the she spiraled downward and didn’t know what was going to happen. She eventually got a stable but not so great recruiting job, so she quit.

Corlett couldn’t get another job and eventually got mail from Manchester and she applied. She grew and trusted the process. “Taking a long time to get your goals is not a failure,” she said.

The next speaker was junior Chris Welton, who went through different obstacles. He didn’t have any plans for after high school. He didn’t know what to do and fell into a deep depression; he didn’t talk or eat much. He set a goal list for himself to get better grades and play football. He emailed Manchester and got one back, so he moved here. His Success Advisor Leslie helped get him back on track.

The last speaker was the vice president of enrollment and marketing Ryan Kaopuiki. He said that he has the word “Imua” in red wooden letters hanging in his office. It means “go forward” or “move forward” in spirit. He hangs it up as a reminder of who he is and his roots in Hawaii.