This archived article was written by: Emily Williams
Monica Parkinson is a freshman at USU Eastern, is awesome and brings a great energy to any room. She sat down with me, and while munching on free peanut butter cookies, where I got to know her a little better.
Parkinson graduated from Springville High in 2011 and loves chicken Caesar salad. She said, “I have brown hair and blue eyes, I play the ukulele and love Harry Potter and musicals.” She even demonstrated her musicality by playing a few songs on her ukulele during our interview.
Recently, she posted an editorial voicing her opinions about the college in the Price Sun Advocate opinion page about USU Eastern’s impressive qualities and lack of recruitment at her high school. So we started to talk about what brought her to this school. Parkinson originally planned to go to USU Logan. She had absolutely no desire to move to small town Price.
Her family encouraged her to consider USU Eastern, because she has family in Price, and her cousins had come here and loved it. Only after she realized that she couldn’t afford to go to Logan did she consider coming here.
But once she became open to the idea, she said “everything just fell into place.” A huge advantage for Parkinson, as well as many others who attend this school, is that her tuition was essentially paid for once she received her scholarships. With the lowest tuition in the state, the students here can make a grant loan and scholarship monies go a lot further.
Parkinson is debating whether to go into speech therapy, or elementary education. She says her mind changes every month or so. USU Eastern is a good place for students to take as many classes as possible as they decide which direction their education will take them.
She loves the small class sizes. That is one of the biggest advantages of attending USU Eastern. She told me how all of her teacher genuinely care if she succeeds, which is something you don’t get at every institution. She feels like the education she is getting at this school is really going to prepare her for her future.
When she first started going to school here, she was afraid that she might be attending a school that wasn’t serious about academics. Once she started her classes, she realized that her professors weren’t just “glorified high school teachers, they really know her stuff.” We get a top notch education in an environment which our professors know us by name and actually have time to help us individually with that tough math equation.
Parkinson wanted to mention her involvement in student leadership. She says that being able to get involved has definitely enriched her college experience. Not only does getting involved help you develop skills, it also provides an opportunity to expand your social circle and have a fun college experience. She also performed in USU Eastern’s production of Romeo and Juliet.
She pointed out that at a larger school there is no way that a freshman who was not majoring in theatre to get a part in a production. The same principle applies to music, radio production, dance, and other departments.
When Parkinson wrote her opinion to the Sun Advocate, she expressed her feelings about how our school markets itself. She believes that USU Eastern need to make a bigger effort to get its name out there.
She said that her senior year of high school she received multiple letters from other schools, but not a single piece of mail from USU Eastern. She believes that if more people knew about what we had to offer, we would definitely increase enrollment. When asked if the school would lose its charm if it got too big, she responded by saying that our school could get bigger and still be great, “just not university big.”
The big question now is how to familiarize potential students with USU Eastern. She had a great idea to utilize Facebook the way other schools do. She says we need to actively keep up a page where anyone can ask questions about our school and get a quick response. She even suggested that ambassadors or student government keep up the page during their office or booth hours, which would keep it totally free.
Since College of Eastern Utah recently merged with USU, there have been some dramatic changes, and students have all been affected by it in some way.
When I discussed the merger with Parkinson, she focused on the fact that we now have the prestige of Utah State University on our diplomas. We also have many more classes and even degrees available to us in Price. It would be beneficial for this whole school to adopt a bit of her positive attitude.
She only had great things to say about USU Eastern. She is not only appreciating her education, but really having a great time doing it. This school is giving each one of us an incredible opportunity to gain our education.