Alizia True '19, Advertising / Public Relations and Communications Studies
Alizia True loves to learn but admits he was not the most academically motivated high school student. Still, he knew enough to take advantage of unique opportunities when they presented themselves and recognized the federally funded TRIO Upward Bound Program as his path to college.
Understanding his obligation to be a role model for his younger siblings and cousins, True buckled down in high school. He took dual-credit and online classes at Vincennes University the summer prior to his freshman year at USI. “Without the strength and encouragement of my family, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today.” What the first-generation college student didn’t realize, however, was that once he moved onto campus his strength would have to come from within.
He discovered USI’s Student Support Services (SSS) when he arrived and met Heather Bauer, program director of SSS, who set him up with a student mentor, Jacob Hartz. “He was awesome,” True says. “Everything about him was very professional. He was a great representation of a student role model.”
Yet, despite lining up mentors, True floundered academically. “I worked hard in high school. I had the work ethic” he says. But USI presented greater challenges. “Learning is not accomplished through osmosis. You have to do the work. You have to go to class.”
I tell my siblings: Use the opportunities that present themselves. Keep your mind open. Don’t be stuck in one spot. Keep your options open. Keep learning.
With the help of his mentors and SSS, he devised a time-management strategy and deleted social media from his phone. “Success is not something that happens overnight, and it’s not something that can be done halfway,” says True.
As a double major in advertising/public relations and communications studies, he continues to seek new ways and opportunities to learn and grow. He became the social media specialist for USI’s SSS, studied abroad in China as a way to broaden his horizons and stretch his comfort zone, and published an essay in a book edited and produced by USI’s SSS.
“I’m aware that many first-generation students who attend college don’t graduate. That motivates me,” he says. “I love USI. I have thrived here. USI helped me find and utilize my strengths.”