After only her second week of college, Kelsey Rich called home with tears in her eyes. She wanted to go home.“Originally, I was very excited and couldn’t wait to start college,” she said. “But after a few days, that feeling changed. I felt lonely, even though there were so many friends around me, and I had made friends during orientation … I struggled with trying to find my niche … I wanted so badly to just go home. It was all very overwhelming.”Rich arrived at Findlay with the intent to major in pre-veterinary medicine, but she wasn’t happy with her choice. After a visit from her mother – who told her it was “time to put your big-girl pants on” – and a meeting with her admissions counselor, Rich became connected with staff members at both the Offices of Counseling Services and the Academic Support Center. Rich stayed on campus and changed her major to western equestrian studies.“After the first few months, I was still struggling, even after making friends and going to counseling,” said Rich. “I was doing well in the equine program, but I didn’t feel like I wanted to continue working in that industry. I showed Karen [Hill] and Kay [Koch] my art portfolio, and Karen walked me over to the art department to speak with Val Escobedo. When I showed her my portfolio, she said that I could ‘thrive’ at Findlay … To hear a professional artist say that about my work and my potential to grow was extremely encouraging. That’s when I decided to switch to art.”Rich had found her niche. Her sophomore year, she received first place in the design category for a pen and ink drawing, “Huzzah!,” in the juried student art show. The University purchased the piece, and it hangs in the theater department
Rich also has had the opportunity to gain experience working at the Mazza Museum on campus. “On my very first day working at the Mazza Museum, I got to handle original artwork. That’s something I wouldn’t be able to do anywhere else,” said Rich.
The museum houses nearly 8,000 original works of art from children’s picture books. Through working at the museum, Rich is learning about how to manage art from people who work in the industry, and she has opportunities to meet the authors and artists whose work appears in the museum.
Rich credits her family (specifically her mother), friends, a resident assistant and several University faculty and staff members with helping her remain in college.
“My professors were genuinely interested and wanted me to do well,” she said.
In addition to finding her niche in the art program, Rich became involved on campus in the Technology and Gaming Club and even served as president. She also has been involved with Revive, Tuesday Night Bible Study with the Drapers and some other activities through Campus Ministry. In addition, Rich is a DJ for, the University’s radio station.
Rich encourages other students to be open to changing majors, going to counseling and meeting with academic advisers. She also points out that there are many opportunities at Findlay to get involved and make friends: “You just have to go out there and do it! And, like my mother said, take it day by day and put those ‘big girl pants’ on!”
Rich plans to graduate in 2013.