As I enter my second year of college, I'm amazed by how much I've been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time, both inside and outside of the classroom. The opportunities I've had and the experiences I've taken part in have been extraordinary, and I owe it all to the Cox Scholars Program. From the warm welcome to Bloomington; the limitless amount of support and advising received; and the fostering of professional, academic, and personal growth encouraged; the Cox Scholars Program is doing amazing things here at Indiana University.
You might be wondering, what exactly is the Cox Scholars Program? Good question! The Cox Scholars Program was founded in commemoration of Jesse H. Cox, an IU alum and businessman who overcame countless obstacles and adversity in his lifetime. We in the Cox Scholars Program think that Jesse inhibited all of the traits necessary to succeed at IU; courage, dedication, and perseverance. As posthumous benefactors, Jesse and his wife, Beulah, award students at IU who have displayed the aforementioned traits in their high school career to ensure that the Cox way of life carries on for generations to come.
Below are five of the many reasons why I love being a Cox Exploratory Scholar and recommend you consider applying.
Most people think of the word "stress" when it comes to being a college student. Be it the amount of time you have to spend studying or the number of credit hours you have to take a semester in order to graduate on time, we all feel "pinned against the wall" every once in a while. A great thing about being a Cox Scholar is the amount of weight it takes off your shoulders. As if college wasn’t stressful enough, a variety of other factors come into play once you are on campus (finances, career searching, student involvement, and so on). Thanks to my benefactors, I rest easy knowing I get to spend my college years focusing solely on my education. The balancing act that is stress becomes a little less hard to handle thanks to the Coxes.
Coming to a school the size of IU is intimidating no matter where you come from or how many students were in your graduating class. We all have to test the waters and make connections when transitioning to college from high school. Thanks to the Cox Scholars Program, I met the majority of the scholars in my branch before the first semester even started and now consider some of them lifelong friends. In my mind, this statement is qualified by the trip to Chicago the Cox Exploratory Scholars took over summer break. I was truly delighted to be reunited with each scholar who went on the trip and we all had an awesome time. This isn't your run-of-the-mill educational field trip. While in Chicago, I had many exciting "firsts," including my first dining experience in the Signature Room (incredible!), my first trip to Wrigley Field, and my first time going behind the scenes at Shedd Aquarium (a lot of secrets behind the glass!). Beyond the fun experiences, we also had the chance to meet with advisers in the Northwestern Medical School and the University of Chicago graduate program. Safe to say that after this trip, I see graduate school in an entirely different way. All of these ventures culminated in what felt more like a family experience than anything. They say the friends you make in college are the friends you keep for life, and I think I have found quite of few in the Cox Scholars Program.
A wonderful (and newly formed) requirement of the Cox Exploratory Scholarship is its work component within the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. Rather than holding an on-campus internship as we did last year, current Cox Exploratory Scholars are now in training to become peer mentors and will one day aid any of the 30,000+ undergraduate students at IU. The word "training" sounds scary, especially on top of other responsibilities accumulating as a college student, but fear not. All that is required is one semester's participation in a class offered by our branch adviser, Alice Dobie-Galuska. The perk? You aren't just in training. You are bettering yourself as well! In the few short weeks I've been involved, I've already learned many new concepts and acquired many new skills, including how to utilize effective academic planning as well as how to change bad habits to improve my academics.
For those of you who do not know her, Abby Englert is the director of the Cox Scholars Program and might be the nicest person I have ever met. Abby is so supportive of all of the scholars in the program and makes all of us feel like family. Beyond her supportive tendencies, Abby showers the scholars with tons of opportunities for growth; etiquette dinners, professional development seminars, career exploration services, the list goes on and on. Not only is Abby a great mentor but she is a great friend as well.
My high school counselor recommended that I check out the Cox Scholars Program. At the time, I had no clue what it was. I looked up the foundation’s website and thought “Wow, earning this scholarship would be a heck of a deal.” And it has been! My first year as a Cox Exploratory Scholar has been phenomenal. All questions concerning my education have not only been answered but acted upon. I entered IU having no clue what major or career I wanted to pursue and the program has put me on a track I had no idea existed. Furthermore, I have attended seminars that improved my professionalism, made me a better student, and prepared me for the business world I will soon be entering. Without the Cox Scholars Program, I would likely still be lost!
As you can see, there are many reasons why being a Cox Scholar is great. From fun experiences, meeting people you will hold dear for the rest of your life, or even solidifying your professional goals, the program highlights and strengthens all aspects. If you are an incoming freshman, be sure to check out the program and consider joining us next year. If you missed the deadline, fear not; a branch of the program is designated for current IU students wanting to join. Don’t miss out on this opportunity. It could define your entire IU experience, for the better.