Completing a Degree at Chapman University – Katelyn Haubert on her College Journey
Our Life After College Series continues with Dublin High Class Class of 2012 and now Chapman University Class of 2016 alum Katelyn Haubert. We originally profiled Katelyn back in 2013 as part of our Life in College Series (read more…). We now close the loop and learn how Katelyn stayed on track to graduate in four years, despite (like many students) changing her major a few times, and what she learned about herself along the way.
OneDublin.org: Before covering any serious issues, what was it like going to college ten minutes from Disneyland? And what’s your sales pitch for Chapman University?
Katelyn Haubert: “It’s awesome! A lot of Chapman students have annual passes, I had one for my freshman year. There’s a Disney Club – Club 55 and I even took an elective class, Disney and Darwin, which covers the history of Disneyland and Walt Disney, it was a really cool class. Students will go over to Disneyland to drop in for a couple of hours and study.
“The Chapman campus is beautiful – take a tour! Chapman is a small private school so the experience is very personal and the professors really care about their students. Despite being smaller there are many opportunities to have a well-rounded experience. Chapman is known in particular for its film school. And Orange County is a terrific location to go to school and to live!”
OneDublin.org: How did your sorority experience at Gamma Phi Beta, which you spoke about in your Life in College interview, change as you became an upperclassman?
Haubert: “I was more involved when I was younger: I wanted to do everything, sign up for everything, but as I got older my priorities changed to internships and academics so I was a little less involved. The biggest change was networking with alumni. It was really cool to be able to reach out to alumni with relevant experience and contacts with companies I wanted to talk to. My sorority experience changed from being a social experience primarily about making friends, to a professional network.
“Gamma Phi Beta holds philanthropy events every year and one event, Airbands, raised $20,000 for charity – the most of any chapter. We are all also required to complete community service hours as well as study hours to give back and stay on track. There are, of course, parties but the majority of the time is focused on helping students get a well-rounded experience. I encourage students to consider joining Greek life – it was a great experience for me.”
OneDublin.org: What did you learn from the internships you had during college, in particular the role you played at Rockin Jump?
Haubert: “I had the opportunity to complete internships in several different fields which helped me better understand what I wanted to do after college, and provided me a diverse set of skills. I worked at Rockin Jump during my senior year in high school and saw they were opening a location in Santa Ana right by me. I knew the company and applied, and the managers at Rockin Jump in Dublin recommended me, and as a result I helped launch the Santa Ana location. I worked with corporate in Dublin, handling all the local marketing including radio ad placements, print ads and social media. I also organized community outreach including promotions at local fairs and festivals. My favorite part was setting up a sponsorship with the Angels baseball team, including a promotion during a game that was shown on the big screen!”
OneDublin.org: What advice do you have for students to make the best use of their summers?
Haubert: “Every summer you should get an internship, a job that will give you relevant skills or travel. The opportunity at Rockin Jump came after I had difficulty finding an internship that summer. If you aren’t doing one of those things you are really wasting your summer. Have fun during the summer, but also be productive – growing your work experience or life experience.”
OneDublin.org: You were able to graduate successfully in four years. How did you stay on track?
Haubert: “Have the foresight to plan ahead, know what credits you need for your major and to graduate, and check in regularly with your advisor. Your advisor is there to help you stay on track, even if you switch majors. Planning ahead is so important to staying on track. I also recommend taking the full number of units you can every semester. And always keep in mind the end goal for going to college in the first place, the career destination you have in mind.
“Don’t be afraid to change your major as long as your school allows you to do so. Don’t stick with a major you don’t like just because of fear. I started as a communications major, then found out about the strategic and corporate communications major and switched to that, then switched to a double major in history, then I switched to education and history, then switched back to strategic and corporate communications, stuck with it and graduated. And while I did change my major several times, there was a lot of overlap in the required courses.
“I’ve decided to pursue becoming a teacher after realizing that it’s the one profession I’ve kept coming back to. I want to see how the work I do directly impacts people’s lives; I had trouble seeing that connection during business internships but can make that connection with education. I love being a mentor and getting to work with people every day. My friends kept telling me I’d be a great teacher and eventually I listened to them and to myself!”
OneDublin.org: Was there a class that stood out during your time at Chapman?
Haubert: “Many of the upper year classes I took were very hands on, where you didn’t feel like a student. A senior seminar class, Honors Capstone, was terrific. It was a semester long research project outside of the classroom. Our team chose researching the attitudes towards our football team: why aren’t people going to games? how can we impact school spirit? The project included developing a strategic marketing plan and I could see how the steps we went through would be applicable in the real world. It felt really good to hand in our project at the end of the semester.”
OneDublin.org: How much direction were you given up front for the project and how did your professor both ensure you stayed on track while giving your team a lot of freedom?
Haubert: “We had the freedom to choose any topic we liked and our professor would check in with us throughout the semester, there were different deadlines and phases so it wasn’t all or nothing at the end of the semester. We’d get feedback and advice along the way which really helped. In high school there is a lot of day-to-day busy work and in college its more research and critical thinking. You have more unscheduled time in college but you are working on more complex projects.”
OneDublin.org: How did your organizational skills evolve during your four years at Chapman?
Haubert: “I started out needing to work on my organization skills, I didn’t use a planner and tried to keep everything in my head. That worked at first but once I got really busy it was essential to make lists, have daily and long-term goals, and use a planner. My organizational skills improved a lot during my four years in college and it’s much easier now for me to know where I’m going and staying on track. The internships I had during college also helped me develop my organization skills: the busier you are – balancing school, work, social – the more important it becomes to have a system to stay organized.”
OneDublin.org: Did you have time for activities outside of academics and Greek life?
Haubert: “I was the vice president of the Chapman Republican’s Club for two years and made friendships that I wouldn’t have made otherwise.”
OneDublin.org: What advice do you have for parents of graduated high school seniors to help the transition into college? And for students?
Haubert: “My parents were always asking about my plans, for example: ‘do you have an internship lined up?’, and at the time it felt overwhelming but if they weren’t doing that I may have let looking for an internship slide. My advice is let your daughter or son have their college experience and don’t be worried about what they are doing all the time, but definitely ask questions about what they are doing to graduate with enough practical work experience. My parents used to check my high school grades online which of course they don’t do anymore! Instead parents of college students should focus on the end goal.
“For students, be excited! When I first arrived at Chapman I didn’t known anyone, I didn’t have any friends, and at first I was lonely and was Skyping my friends from high school. It’s really important to get involved, nobody is going to come to you, you need to make the effort to join a club or try Greek life. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone and you’ll discover what you really like.”