Opinion: Getting My Sh*t Together, Reflections of a 2022 Grad

Transferring and virtual learning nearly derailed my college experience, but it wasn’t too late for me to get involved.


Courtesy of UA PRSSA

Attending PRSA Student Day with other PRSSA officers. (L to R) Abigail Stopka, VP of Events; Natalie Mowad, President; Camryn Moore, Treasurer; and Savannah Johns, Secretary.

By Savannah Johns, Managing Editor

I’m in my third year at The University of Akron, but it doesn’t really feel like it. I can name (maybe) three buildings on campus, and I can never remember how to get to the campus library. This isn’t quite how I imagined my college experience. 

Photo of Savannah working on her computer.
Savannah Johns working on a group project on Microsoft teams in 2020. (Alyssa Alexsonshk)

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, I transferred to The University of Akron. In March 2020, I packed up my bags at a small private college in Kentucky and never returned. While living at home with my family, I transitioned to online learning and enrolled at UA.

The fall semester of the same year, I moved to Akron and attended full-time. All my classes were online, and I wasn’t involved in anything on campus. It felt like I wasn’t even a student. 

Since I had so much free time, I started working 40 hours a week. I spent so much time working that I never even thought about getting involved on campus. My routine stayed this way for all of my sophomore and junior years.  

I wasn’t having a bad time, but the whole college thing just didn’t feel very fulfilling. 

I spent a lot of time wishing I could graduate and rush into a career. It felt like I needed to be older or to have more experience in order to be successful in life. I was wishing away a time that I was supposed to be loving. 

I assumed my senior year would be the same way. As I prepared to graduate this upcoming December, I couldn’t wait for graduation and to move away from Akron forever. I didn’t feel connected to any of my classmates or anything on campus. 

I had been writing for the Buchtelite, but the meetings were all virtual and I didn’t feel very connected with the organization. 

But, in August, I got an opportunity to be involved in an organization. A friend of mine asked me if I would be the secretary of the University of Akron Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), and I accepted.  

Through this organization, I started going to different meetings and events. I attended a few conferences, and I started to network with other students and professors. 

L to R: Dr. Heather Walter, Director of the School of Communication; Social Media Editor Alyssa Alexsonshk; Advisor Julie Cajigas; Video Editor Abigail Stopka; and Managing Editor Savannah Johns accept the 2022 Distinguished Student Organization Award at the Ohio Communication Association Conference. (Courtesy of The Buchtelite)

Just last month, I attended an Ohio Communication Association conference and accepted the Distinguished Student Organization Award for the Buchtelite with some of my peers. I was finally feeling involved in this organization too. 

It definitely wasn’t a huge change in my everyday life, but I felt more connected. Between PRSSA and The Buchtelite, I finally felt like a true student. 

This semester I’ve learned more than I have in my entire college career. I’ve gained professional experience, improved my resume and formed real relationships. 

In a way, I felt like college wasn’t very useful to me. It seemed like there were better things I could be doing. I thought it was dumb to do all the college stuff when I had a real career to build. 

Getting involved and allowing myself to participate in the stage of life I am in has made me a better student and, hopefully, a better and more well-rounded professional. 

I still don’t know how to get to the campus library, and I’ve only taken two in-person classes. Nevertheless, when I graduate, I will feel like I was a part of The University of Akron. 

UA has over 340 student organizations. I know it’s not possible for everyone, but it’s worth a shot to get involved.  

The pandemic certainly did add some unprecedented barriers to connecting with the campus. For those of us who started spring 2019 or later, we never knew a time where campus life was thriving pre-pandemic. We’ve been in survival mode for two years, but we can’t stay in survival mode forever. Now it’s time for all of us to get our sh*t together and take advantage of all college has to offer. 

 I finally got my sh*t together – will you join me?