By definition, a college student is simply a person enrolled in a college or a university. But, what this definition lacks, is the special experience that coincides with being a college student. Whether it is athletics, clubs, a job or volunteer work, most college students today are involved in an activity other than just simply going to school.
Brett Gauger, a senior at IPFW, said without his involvement on and around IPFW’s campus his college-student experience would have been completely different.
He holds a position as the Social Media Coordinator for IPFW and he is a Student Success Coach with Don2Don’s. He has been involved with volunteering as a Marketing Leader for A Better Fort Organization, he is the Social Media Manager for Electric Promotions and he is a part of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership- Millennial 2020.
He is able to participate in activities such as new student orientation, meetings on city development and press conferences because of his involvement.
For Gauger, it is not just “an activity,” it is “all activities”… his list of involvement goes on for hours, literally. The balance between his academic life and personal life came easy to him. He said it is all time management.
Gauger said he is lucky to be so involved. He said he is excited because of the way his involvement has helped shape him for his future.
Gauger has not only made a name for himself, but he has also created an impact throughout campus and northeast Indiana due to his multiple involvements.
Gauger is studying healthcare administration. He said, like many other college students, he has switched his major a few times, but he considers himself a “unique one” because he has never had to switch his degree.
His involvement dates back to a COAS W111 class during the fall semester of his freshman year in 2011.
Jennifer Oxtoby, project manager, office of the chancellor, explained COAS W111 is a class for new students’ success. Oxtoby said the main premise and goal of the course is to connect the students with each other, with their professors and with the university.
Oxtoby taught the COAS W111 course, alongside Greg Anderson, that Gauger was enrolled in during the fall semester of 2011.
“He was a confident, prepared, organized, friendly student,” Oxtoby said about Gauger. “He is just one of those people that knows how to make you feel special.”
Originally, Gauger had plans of transferring to a bigger university such as IU Bloomington or Purdue. He said without COAS W111 helping him become so involved with the professors, other students and the campus in general he would have stuck to his original plan of leaving in December 2011.
“It was around mid-September back during my first semester when I had my ‘this is where I belong’ moment,” Gauger said.
Gauger said he admits to being a busy guy, but during COAS W111 Oxtoby said something which has become a major backbone to his time management during his crazy years of involvement:
“Jennifer Oxtoby said that for the five or so days you are in class, keep your mind in the books, but on Friday, or whenever that academic week ends, treat yourself,” Gauger said.
Gauger said he has lived his academic and social life accordingly.
“Keeping your social life is going to keep you feeling human, rather than just like a robot,” Gauger said.
Gauger always begins his non-school nights asking if what he wants to do is worth it. He uses time management in three categories: priority, value and future. He said if he knows he has an assignment due but he also has an event, he asks himself if it will be worth holding off until the morning or if it is just best to complete it before heading out.
Gauger said he surrounds himself with the people whom he loves. He said living with his family during his college career has helped him tremendously in growing into the person he has become.
“My family is, and always will be, my biggest supporter, I have a good life,” Gauger said.
It is not just Gauger who is supported. He is often the supporter too. Oxtoby said she first started noticing the impact Gauger created when she came across his Twitter feed.
“It is crazy- you will get on his Twitter page and five minutes later there will be a tweet of someone saying their day was made running into Brett on campus,” Oxtoby said.
Gauger has no official plans for “what’s next” upon his graduation in December, but he said if the opportunity were to present itself he would love to stay involved at IPFW.
From a self-proclaimed timid and quiet college freshman to an obviously successful and outgoing college senior, Oxtoby said it best; “He is, I think, somebody that has had significant impact on other students. He is encouraging, and he empowers others to be successful. I think he makes people feel important- and that is what makes him so special.”