FTG 0007 - Early Registration with Smeal College of Business Academic Support Pro Matt Mignogna '18


Guest Bio:

Matt Mignogna ’18 Lib, ’18g Edu joined the Smeal College of Business eLearning Design & Innovation Group as an instructional designer in 2021, but has been with the Smeal College of Business at Penn State since 2018, previously serving as an Academic Advisor. Matt earned both his degrees from Penn State: an M.Ed. in Learning, Design, and Technology from the College of Education and a BA with honors in Psychology with a minor in Italian from the College of the Liberal Arts, both in 2018. While eLDIG is Matt's first formal role as an instructional designer, his professional career has revolved around supporting students and designing education. He has taught middle school in Pennsylvania and Texas through Teach for America, designed and TA-ed an undergraduate course as a Penn State student, and served students as an Academic Advisor not just in the Smeal College of Business but also the Division of Undergraduate Studies. Matt was also a member of the Presidential Leadership Academy during his undergraduate career. He can be reached at matt.mignogna@psu.edu. 

Episode Specifics:

In this week’s episode, Matt shares insight on:

• Making the most of opportunities that present themselves and learning what isn’t for you

• Perspectives on the Presidential Leadership Academy

• Lessons learned from leading a student organization – acapella group None of the Above – and how that can be used post-graduation

• Seeking unique academic opportunities and the doors advisors can help you open

• What academic advisors actually do for students

• Recognizing what careers do bring out your passion 

• An insider’s look at making the most of your academic advising sessions and course registration

• How the responsibilities of one job can lead to your next role

• What instructional designers are and what they do to support students and faculty

• Intentionality in finding community post-graduation    

• Grounded advice for Schreyer Scholars to make the most of their time in the College


Schreyer Honors College Links:






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Credits & Notes:

This content is available in text form here.    

 This show is hosted, produced, and edited by Sean Goheen ‘11 Lib (Schreyer).  

The artwork was created by Tom Harrington, the College’s Web Developer.  

The sound effect is “Chinese Gong,” accessed via SoundBible used under Creative Commons License.  

The theme music is “Conquest” by Geovane Bruno, accessed via Pixabay and used under Creative Commons License.

Greeting scholars and welcome to following the Gong, a podcast of the Shire Honors College at Penn State. Following the gone takes you inside conversations with our scholar alumni to hear their story so you can gain career in life advice and it spanned your professional network. You can hear the true bread of how schollar alumni have gone on to shape the world after they rind the gone and graduated with honors, and learn from their experiences so you can use their insights in your own journey. This show is proudly sponsored by the Scholar Alumni Society, a constituent group of the Penn State Alumni Association. I'm your host, Shawan Doheen, class of two thousand and eleven and college staff member. If this is your first time joining us, welcome. If you're a regular listener, welcome back. Mattmn Yonia, class of two thousand and eighteen, joined the smeal college of business, elearning, design and Innovation Group as an instructional a designer in two thousand and twenty one, but has been with the smel college business of Penn State since two thousand and eighteen, previously serving as an academic advisor. Matt earned both his degrees from Penn State and med and learning designing technology from the College of Education and the BEA with honors in psychology with a minor and Italian from the College of the Liberal Arts, both in two thousand and eighteen. While El Dig is Matt's first formal role as an instructional designer, his professional career has revolved around supporting students and designing education. He has taught middle school in Pennsylvania and Texas through teach for America, designed and Tiate an undergraduate course as a penn state student and serves students as an academic advisor, not just in the smel College of business, but also the division of undergraduate studies. Matt was also a member the Presidential Leadership Academy during his undergraduate career. In this week's episode, Matt Shares Insight on making the most of opportunities that present themselves and learning what isn't for you, perspectives on the PLA leading a student organization and how that can be used in post graduation, seeking unique academic opportunities in the doors advisors didn't help you open. What academic advisors actually do for students, recognizing what careers do, bring out your passion and insiders, look at making the most of your academic advising sessions and course registration. He also shares how the responsibilities of one job can lead to your next role, what instructional designers are and what they do to support students and faculty in the importance of intentionality and finding community post graduation. Hef He rounds out our conversation with grounded, a device for shryer scholars to meet the most of their time in the college. Now let's hear Matt's story and advice following the Gong. Matt, thank you so much for joining us here on following the gone really appreciate you coming on now. You're a younger alum. You've only been out of school for just a few years, but you've already had a really tremendous and broad experience in education. Was it your interest in education that brought you to Penn State and the Shuire Honors College, or did you discover that interest after getting to campus? Yeah, it's funny. I it definitely didn't bring me to Penn State. I mean, Penn state obviously has a fantastic education program my girlfriends a member of that or was a member of it. She graduated from the School of a college of Education. But I honestly didn't even really discover my education interests until Extrara core activities I did their penn state and just work that I had done after Penn state when I was a penn state student. I applied to and was accepted to teach for America, and so that's kind of where I started out. I was teaching fist and sixth grade science in Houston and San Antonio Texas, but also one summer, the summer of two thousand and seventeen, I wanted to stay in state college over the summer because my girlfriend was there as well, and I applied for an academic advising position in the College of Dus because they have lots of students coming...

...in over the summer for a new student orientation. And I got accepted to that and I did that and that job was really just an excuse to be in state college and earn some money simultaneously. But I was doing that job and I kind of realize, Oh, this is actually really interesting. That and my teaching to teach for America where the two instances that really opened my eyes to just being in education, both like K twelve and also hire it. You actually graduated from the college a little the liberal arts, with a degree in psychology. So how did you find that experience? That degree set you up to go into education, and I do want to go back to those co curricular opportunities in moment, but I'm curious about the psychology degree for our students who are considering or our majoring in that discipline. Yeah, so I honestly am probably not like the picture perfect Liberal Arts Psychology Grad in that I kind of went into psychology because I honestly really didn't know what else I wanted to do or what I've liked, and I spent a year in a lab like a cognition and action lab, without faculty WHO's now at a different university, and that kind of helped me realize that like by research wasn't for me, and I knew I didn't really want to be a psychologist either, but it was still the major and area that I just had the most interested. So I would really say that being in that major it helped me be okay with the many different unexpected twist and turns that my career would eventually have, because I knew I wasn't really going into anything that you would have to specifically major in psychology for. And you know, I certainly really enjoyed the major and I've learned a lot, but I wasn't in the major with the in tension of being in a very specific place, and that's kind of how it's played out. So I've kind of hopped aroun a lot of different things and I think you hit on something I've heard from other guests on the show previously, which is sometimes you go into something and you try it, like that lab work, and you discover that it's not for you, and that can be just as valuable of a learning opportunity in addition to being in psychology. And we'll get into your unique graduate work in a minute, but I want to stop and focus on your co curriculars. In the pre work that I assign our guests to get ready, this is the Honors College. We have homework for our podcast guests. You are part of some cool opportunities for students. Can you tell me about those and those experiences? Yeah, absolutely so. One of them was the Presidential Leadership Academy, which essentially is a program consisting of usually approximately thirty students, sophomores, juniors and senior, thirty in each class, and the goal of the program is to take classes with one another and really focus on how to think complexly and with nuance in situations that can be very emotionally charged or in situations that might appear to have a right and wrong answer, they often lie like the real best way to approach that kind of situation often lies somewhere in the middle. So this can be anything from I mean, honestly, a lot of its politics related, but there's a lot of different situations and environments you could apply that line of thinking too. So that was the presidential leadership academy and I really enjoyed my time. They're some of my best friends I made through that program. And the other extracurricular experience I had which I really really valued was being in an a cappella group. It was Noda, and Ota stands for none of the above. The reason that's the name is because it was the very first coat acapella group of Penn State, and so it was like none of the above and I was in it as just a standard member for the first two and a half years. But then for the last year and a half I was assistant and then lead music director, so I got to kind of direct the rehearsals...

...arrange a lot of pieces as well, and I also like play piano and saying and stuff. So it was a really, really fun experience and, similarly to PLA, I have some of my best friendships and memories from that group. So that was a fantastic time. So for the A cappella group, you're leading it and you're the musical director. Do you find that those skills are things that you're still using now, few years out of school, in your in your professional life? I think that the biggest thing that being a music director in Noa taught me is just different ways to manage and work with expectations and also what is possible, because it was a group that was I mean, obviously everyone who was in it was like a fantastic singer, right. You kind of have to addition to being it, so you might up at once happening by default, but not everyone had the same ability to sort of read music or perform with like minimal practice. So there was a sort of balancing act between what is the height I can push everyone to within our two practices per week versus what is actually attainable with just to practice as a week. And I don't think I did. I don't think I did the best job managing that when I was a music director. But when you have those experiences that you don't do the best job alligating, those are the ones you were in the most from, honestly. So I don't regret it at all, though I'm sure I could have done better job. No, I think that's great advice for students. You know, pull out the the good from maybe not the best. Pull from that, learn move on to the next thing. I think that's really helpful for students, many of whom obviously in the honors college or in leadership roles in different clubs and and things like that. So you had a very unique opportunity where you were pursuing a master's degree in addition to your bachelor's degree and, unlike usually the case for our scholars, they were in completely different colleges here at Penn State. Can you tell us what brought that about, how you did that and what you learned from that unique experience? Yeah, sure. So I'll start out with why I joined the program and it was to fold. The first and most important reason was that I found an advisor here in the College of education that I really liked. I honestly don't remember exactly how I found him, I know it was I think I'd run into someone who I met through a class and I really liked what he was doing. I kind of talk to him after and he told me to like speak to his advisor, and I did, and he and I got along to the point where he encouraged me to apply for the program. So that was the the biggest and by far the most influential reason. The second reason, though, is that my mom, coming from a purely business background, was a hundred percent convinced that you can't get a job with only a psychology degree, and so she wanted me to have something else. And this happened like at a conversation in Christmas in my junior year, when it would have been too late to switch majors. So I was like, okay, mom, you this isn't true, but I have good news for you. I'm also joining a Master's program. So those were the two reasons. Certainly, like the biggest one was the adviser that I found, but yeah, that was like work. The ability to work with him and his mindset, the ability to work with my advisor, was what made the Master's program worth it, because if I couldn't have worked with him, I probably wouldn't have done that program. He gave me a lot of flexibility, allowed me to a lot of independent studies and follow the ideas and paths that I was really arious and passionate about. I think that speechs to the value of getting to know your faculty, getting to know your advisors, and that program led you to an opportunity to be an advisor yourself. You can tell us a little bit about that opportunity that you mentioned in the beginning of our conversation? Yeah, well, so, the first thing is...

...that it's funny that I wound up in that and it was kind of lucky because on the HR hiring site there was, you know, they have like the qualifications, like the minimum qualifications to people have to meet to be able to be high and one of the minimum qualification was like must have or be pursuing a master's degree, and I remember getting a call from the person who would eventually become my supervisor and she said, Hey, we want to hire you, but you don't have a bachelor as yet, you don't have a master's. We're not sure if we can. And they later learned that because I was pursuing a master's degree and the mini from requirements didn't say you need a bachelor's degree, they were able to hire me. So that was really nice and it worked out. But when I was actually on the job, yeah, the job, I mean. So obviously you know, so many students are starting a pen state and every single class and a lot start in the division undergraduate studies to us. I don't know the exact numbers, and it was a really fun experience to be able to one just help them kind of mathematically put the pieces of the puzzle together, like if they're interested in these two colleges, okay, what are the overlapping courses or are some general education courses that would count toward either major? But it also was really fun to talk with students about the things they were interested in and help them understand what options are available at Penn State. But also they would help me understand, you know, what they were interested in or what they wanted to do. So that experience really opened my eyes to advising in general and I realized I really liked it. So I'm curious. then. You mentioned earlier that you then went to teach for America and that you've taught in both Pennsylvania and in Texas. So how did that part of your journey come about? I think that teaching was something that I just became more interested in as time went on at Penn state, or maybe I should say education, but yet talking about like being an academic advisor, the different things I was learning in psychology. I did just become very interested in education and I didn't know if I wanted to become a teacher, but I did know that I would have to spend probably three or four more years to get an education certification if I were to do it through quote unquote, traditional means, and teach for America offered a path to certification that was really unique and would kind of allow me to start teaching right away, and so I applied for that, I got into it and then I just went for it. Ultimately, it didn't work out exactly as I had hoped, and that's that's for like a long variety of reasons we can discuss if you'd like, but it did lead me to where I am today, for which I am very grateful. I was going to say, so you started out at Penn state, you went and to teach for America and maybe was or wasn't the best thing for you, but you did come back here and then you got another advisor job in the smeal College of business. What was it that drew you back here to Penn state as an alum to work at the university? Yeah, so really it was two things. The first was just that I when I was a student and undergraduate and a graduate student at Penn State, I worked for Penn state on many different instances. I taught like video production in a middle school that wasn't for Penn State, but it was a state college, right. I worked with the Assistantine to the honors college to help develop of course I worked for the NSO like consulting an advising job like I had mentioned, and I also helped someone in the college or unit in the College of the row arts developed like a curriculum for a high school class. So I was just very familiar with how to navigate the space of higher education and Penn state specifically, right, being a student, a Grad student and and I'm polly, at different points so I was just very, very familiar with the landscape. Especially after I had been in such an unfamiliar situation like teaching for my first time ever in...

Texas, I was ready to go back to something very familiar. And also my girlfriend, who is two years younger than me, was a penn state student at the time. So just like I stayed at Penn state in the summer of two thousand and seventeen to be with her, I also did come back in the fall of two thousand and eighteen to continue to be with her as well gotches. So it sounds like there was quite a few reasons, and I think everybody who comes back to Happy Valley at some point has a unique story and I'm glad that we were able to hear yours now. You already described a little bit about what an advisor does, so I don't want to rehash that, but I am curious what, in your time as an advisor do you really wish that students and even their parents knew about advising? That would make a better experience for both them and for their advisors to get what they need in order to pursue their goals and dreams. I honestly think it does vary a bit with the circumstances you're in. Like, for example, some students just kind of know what they want to do right out of the gate and they want to have like a transactional relationship with their advisor, which that's okay. You know, my job is to like help them, which he what they want. And then there are some students who are more exploratory and more open to none scheduling related advice and conversations from myself or other individuals. But in general I would just say like the best thing to do by far is to just meet with your advisor at least once a semester. You know, even if you are ninety nine percent certain that you've got all the classes you need or you've got everything figured out, then you'll come in our meeting will be like, Hey, do you get this? Yes, you're in. Talk about anything else? No, okay, done, boom, five minutes Max. Right. So like a five minute situation once for semester could save a student from impending doom if they were to, you know, schedule one class and not graduate or something like that. But having a student come in like semester after semester as well just opens the door to like additional relationship building. Even though I'm not an advisor anymore, there are still a bunch of students I remember and had a really nice connection with being open to like developing a relationship with your advisor and just seeing them to make sure you've kind of got everything you need to I think of the the two best things. Well, you heard it here first, if you have not already met with your advisor the semester, you heard it from Matt. Made sure as soon as you're done listening to this episode, pull at your email, get in touch with the advisor and schedule that appointment for the semester, even if you, like he said, it's only for five or ten minutes. Do that. Check in, make sure all of your eyes are dotted and all of your tea's are crossed. Yeah, open up starfish, exactly. Yes, starfish is a great tool. kind of going a little off to the side here, but Matt, can you talk about starfish and the value that that program, that software adds to our students in for our faculty, even sure, I I mean it's a scheduling tool, right. It obviously does a lot more too, but that was the primary way that I used it. It just really makes it easy for students to schedule appointments with their advisor, but it also does allow professors and really anyone who interacts with a student in a to a certain capacity to like leave notes and information about that interaction. And so if a student is, say, coming up to university park from a combeth campus, you can understand what the student has been through based on the notes and sort of artifacts at other individuals have left for that student, even if you're just meeting them for the very first time. So it essentially just helps you to initiate that relationship on a level that probably is a lot higher than people who are starting and meeting from scratch. Absolutely that is a great tool for students. To make sure you're using that know that we, as staff and faculty here at Penn State Care about you and have...

...things like that to me sure that you are succeeding. You put in the work and we will meet you there. So final question on the advising before we dive into what I'm really excited to talk about, which is the learning and design side of things. Students, you know, every semester they have to pick their classes. Do you have any suggestions on strategies for our scholars approaching the what I hear from any is a favorite part of being a shire scholar that priority registration. Yeah, yeah, I do remember that. I had that as well. I guess really all people on this podcast would have had that. Yeah, so I would say, I guess two things. The first would be just schedule on the actual date that you're given the chance to. Your obviously able and welcome to schedule after that, but they're earlier you schedule, the better your odds are of getting what you need. I was working in smeal the business college, and so a lot of those classes were really high demand. There's just a ton of ton of students in smeal and so the students who were able to best craft their schedules were the ones who kind of scheduled on their date. You know, it shows you in the Lionpath home page when you're scheduling. Gate is. I would also email my students saying hey, your scheduling date is available. Check it out. So just be aware of that. And then the other thing I would say is are on the side of putting too much on your schedule rather than two little I've met with students many times, say like a week or a month or even two months after the scheduling date and I'll say hey, so you could have scheduled in like March or whatever, how come we don't have anything on your schedule right now? And they usually well, they might say they forgot, which goes back to my first point, but sometimes they also say like Oh, well, I didn't have the chance to meet with you and so I didn't really know what to put on there. And I get that in theory right, but the way lion path works it's so much easier to remove things you don't want then to add things you maybe don't have because the things are full. Then you go on a weightlist, if there's a weightlist, and then you hope right. But if you put like six things under schedule and I say hey, you don't need these three, well then you've got three that you need. So it just be on top of the dates where this is all happening and are on the side of scheduling too much rather than to it all, because it's extremely easy to remove classes and usually, depending on the class capacity, it can be really tricky to get into classes you don't yet have after your scheduling date. If you need to hit rewind and listen to the last few comments, therefore, Matt, go ahead and do it. We'll be waiting for you on the other side. That was some really spot on assistance for our students, so please make note of that. Now we're going to transition the conversation to your current and newest role, which is in the instructional design space, to use krying of the industry term. Can you tell us what drew you to that side and what actually you do as an instructional designer? I think, coming out of Covid as the pandemic has accelerated online education, be curious to know anything and everything about the field that you were in now. Yeah, so I initially got interested in this field will. funnily enough, that's this is actually the degree that my graduate program was in frame. I didn't really have interest in this job until, funnily enough, I was working as an advisor, because one of the things that I did as an academic advisor and smeal obviously advising students, but on the side you also do your own programming and different people have got different programming. Some people run events for prospective students, some people run events for current students. One of the programming responsibilities that I took upon myself was essentially the work of instructional designers. I was creating a course actually for advisors at...

...the common with campuses to help them advise smeal tracking students, because this male interest to major requirements are, I would say, probably the most complicated out of all of the interesting major requirements throughout university park. Just from my experience as an advisor, they are kind of complicated, still doable, but little complex. So I was creating this course, I was working with this team, I was designing all this content and then I just kind of realized, Oh Hey, I'm doing instructional design work and someone actually mentioned to me, someone on my team mentioned to me, Hey, you should like look into l dig. I don't know if he meant you should apply to it or you should just see what it's all about, but that team, L Dag, which stands for you learning, design and Innovation Group, is now where I wanted up working. So funnily enough I got that instructional design sample from my academic advising job. I know you're still relatively new in this role at the time of recording, but tell me about a day in the life the kind of projects that somebody in this particular industry actually does, and, knowing that it's a kind of a newer industry, help illuminate that for students who may find this interest to pursue as a career path. Sure, sure, so. Like you said, I have been in this just basically a month and four days, so I'm probably not the best representative for it, but I'll take my crack out it. So I personally think of instructional designers as kind of like the intersection between Tech Support and instructors. We work a lot with the faculty and smeal to help them understand like not only what technologies might be best for them to use, but also how to appropriately use those technologies to retain the like desired pedagogy for their class. And obviously there's a lot more online stuff now because of Covid, but even before Covid, you know, unless a professor was teaching like a twenty person class and had everyone submit their assignments to them via email, almost all professors are using canvass spence, the it's learning management system, you know, for great assignments or just ution posts or the submission of essays, and there's also tools like top at or different learning integration features within canvas, and so a chunk of what we do is just helping them understand how to use certain technologies, and not just like how to turn them on, but how to use them and integrate them into the way that they're teaching their courses to allow them to just pull more from students or really interact with an engage with students to essentially just make their class as enjoyable but also educational as they can. I think that's great. I'm in the SMEAL ONLINE MBA through the partnership with the world campus, and I can attest to the value that you and your team bring to this space. I very much think you all are partners to the faculty, who are often subject matter experts but maybe not as well versed in the technology. So I really appreciate what you will do to bring and enhance that, as you said, to really up the student experience and, you know, help the faculty really shine in that space. So thank you for that. Yeah, thanks, and I think what you said they're actually was really great. I think a partner with faculty is like a really great way to describe it right because, like you said, we're not the subject matter experts right, but there's also a lot we know about technology and also education in general that can help them like craft their subject matter expertise into a really, really concise and well thought out, deliverable package for students. Absolutely half of the challenge is knowing how do people learn? You know, we're past the era of standing at the chalkboard, at the white board and just talking for fifty minutes or seventy...

...five minutes. So you know it's a new era full of distractions, but you're helping make sure that we get the educational mission of this institution met. So I think that is just fantastic. If students are interested in either of these paths, whether that is going and being a professional academic advisor or going into the instructional design space, something like the learning team that you're a part of its meal or elsewhere for a private firm, what kind of skills or experiences should they be looking to get now, whether in the Honors College, I would say, for academic advising? I guess I can really only speak to buy experience and how I got into the field, but my experience was just a familiar like a familiarity with the university and the different technologies that uses, the different systems, the experience of being a student and then working your way up there. In a sense, you know, I started with a parttime summer job and academic advising and that's kind of how I wound up making my way into a career as a professional advisor. And as far as I'm aware, there aren't really any academic advising majors. I know there aren't at Penn State. I don't know if there would be elsewhere, but there aren't really any programs to my knowledge, design to specifically teach students about academic advising. It's more about just putting your foot out there and getting experience that are either like it or lead to it and then just kind of pursuing the different opportunities offered. Like, honestly, just looking through universities job pages is a really great way to start, because academic advising is a really big feel just because there are loads and loads of students universities right and that numbers only growing, and so in theory the number of academic advisors should be growing as well. But to get to the second point, you said about instructional design. So, for instructional design, you definitely do want, or I should say need, some sort of educational background. You you don't necessarily have to have been a K twelve teacher, but the instructional designers, you know, not only are they proficient with technology, but they also do have a lot of knowledge surrounding pedagogy, and so if you wanted to get into the field of instructional design, it does make sense to go through some discipline of education, even if it's not being a teacher who's standing in front of students. Like you said, instructional design is a relatively new field and some of the folks that I work with didn't explicitly study instructional design like I did, though of course, that was also sort of a coincidence that worked out. But then, like I told you before, when I was work as an academic advisor, I found opportunities, found and took opportunities that led me into the role of an instructional designer. So if you're designing material or instruction, quite literally, you know you have the potential to be an instructional designer. Great and I think another area where you could apply these skills if you're looking to get. The practice is in the corporate training and development space as well, similar kind of profession and certainly an area took down. And one thing, even if you are not interested in this field at all, a nugget that I want to pull out from what you said, Matt, was go on to websites and look at job descriptions. That is really sage advice if you were interested in any kind of industry, find those companies, look at what they are asking for and begin to develop that. So really good point. They're going back to the fact that you are here in State College, your young girl. Um, you're only few years out of school. What is it like being a young professional in Happy Valley compared to being a student, and how can a student planning to stay here make that transition from Undergrad to professional successfully? It was funny because, like I said, I kind of one of the reasons I came back to was just be able to be with my...

...girlfriend again, who was two years younger, and so she still had about a fully a little less than a full academic year of school left when I had come back. So if it part of it oddly felt like I was still a student for a little bit, just because I was hanging out with her and her friends and they're all they were all seniors, so I and one who was I felt like I was a student for that first year, but then, of course they all graduated. In my girlfriend and I got an apartment north of campus. We're in a car to get to and that's really the sign that you're no longer a student if you live somewhere you got a drive to downtown, right and I would say, honestly, I think there wasn't a lot of difficulty for us navigating the professional environment. We, you know, went to work and then we came home and we made dinner or took care of our dog or whatever we did. But I think the biggest difference for us that we kind of navigated and had to learn how to navigate was just maintaining our social bonds with all of our close friends, because when you are a college student, just the university experience is so, so unique because, like all your best friends are a fifteen minute walk from one another. Right it could be like ten o'clock on a Thursday and you could text someone, Hey, like you want to hang out and play games, and it'll basically say yes and then you hang out right and that's just not something that's at least something that I have found. It's not that easy to do in the quote unquote adult world right, like everyone's living in different places, some people are starting to own homes, you've got your own responsibility. Is like a family, a pet, things like that. So that university experience is really unique in that you can just basically kind of see all your friends practically whenever you want and on any terms, and that was something that we kind of had to get used to not being able to do anymore. So we were being more intentional about trying to make friends, trying to hang out with old friends as well, because really nobody else and our friends groups stayed in state college actor that graduated. So we made a lot of new friends and State College, but it took us like six months to do that. The first six months we kind of just expected to make friends naturally through different avenues, and it didn't happen exactly how we were hoping. So then we kind of had to take matters into our own hands and then once we did that we felt a lot better. But for the first six months or so after we were both working full time jobs and state college. We were just kind of lonely and we didn't realize that we had to actually do something about it. So, as a follow up to that, what were some of those steps that you took to intentionally find a community when you were no longer in the Undergrad and it just kind of falls into your lap while you're on campus? Yeah, good questions. So one of the things that we kind of realized it was we just had to be really up front about trying to connect with people. So, for example, one of the first like couples that we met that we really liked, we kind of saw them at the the community pool that our apartment complex had and we like had a nice school chat, but it didn't last terribly long and we said something like, you know, like I'm sure we'll see you around, and then they leave and I turned my girlfriend and we're like, Oh, they were really nice, like we I hope we run into them again. And just through pure circumstance, we like really didn't run into them again for probably three or four months, and by that time it was almost too late because we're like, are they gonna Remember who we are? Like, what is this gonna be like, and it wanted up being totally fine. But something we kind of learned from that experience was okay, if we see people, you know, even if it's just a short interaction, like Hey, that was a fun that like that was fun. Would you guys want to come over some time? Like, would you want to exchange numbers? Blah Blah Blah, stuff like that. Right, just basically trying to be more intentional about connecting because, like you said, people and friends don't necessarily just fall into your lap the way they do when you're a university student, no matter if you're saying, in State College, if you're moving to Philadelphia, to New York,...

DC, wherever life takes you after is you have to be far more intentional and finding community groups or just those happenstances wherever you live or work. Matt, you've been out for a couple of years. What are some quick lessons that you would love to share with tryer scholars about what they could be doing now to maximize their experience? One, definitely just enjoy yourself, you know, like we were just saying, like it's probably, unless, I think it's unlikely, that you will find yourself in a situation like this again, with all your friends being so accessibul and your responsibilities being so relatively limited. Obviously some people have a load of stuff, but I think in general college is tends to be a little bit less responsibilities than Post College. So definitely, you know, enjoy yourself, for sure, probably like probably be a very, very unique experience as being in university, and I would also say that I would try your best to not get stressed out if things don't go a hundred percent your way. There were many, many instances in my time at Penn State, mostly relating to like careers, and toward the tailent of my pen state career, that things just weren't going as I had maybe initially envisioned them or in some circumstances I just didn't exactly know what I wanted and so I didn't even have a vision. And I think it's very easy to let the stress of that circumstance eat away at you and consume you to a certain degree. And I think that as long as you are like open to trying things that seem interesting and putting yourself out there, then like you're going to be okay. You know, maybe the first job you get after Penn State isn't the best, best thing in the world. That was the circumstance for me. But there are going to be other jobs, right like you don't have to lock yourself in forty years to whatever the first thing you do after college is. especially as a SMEL advisor, I've seen so, so many students the so intensely preoccupied with that, like internship or that job, and obviously it's important to try and get those things, but it's really, really not the end of the world if those things don't come in the time frame or in the exact manner you have envisioned in your head. Really Sage Advice, Matt, you were talking about you know, you alluded to your friends that you had. You've mentioned some advisors that advised you. Are there any that you want to give a quick shout out to as we wrap up our time here today? I'll say three, I guess. The first is Janet Schulenberg, who was my advisor when I came to Penn State. I started in Dus and so she was just very helpful in coaching me through the philosophy I actually kind of just told you, which is that it's okay to like not have this figured out right this second. She was very helpful in the pointing me, or helping me, I guess, point myself into liberal arts and then psychology. She was really, really helpful with that. She was fantastic. Like I believe she still works the Penn state too. So thanks, Janet. And then the other would just be Kyle Peck, my advisor in my graduate program like I said, he was just phenomenal with helping me, or rather enabling me to pursue the interests that I had instead of just kind of sticking cookie cutter to the program that I was in. So I really valued that experience. And then, of course, lastly, I can't go at or let this end without just, you know, shouting out my girlfriend to fantastic, just very supportive and quillly, as was mentioned to...

...her, she's the reason I really did come back to penn state, so probably the reason that a lot of this has worked out so well for me. So thanks, Amanda. That's adorable that you mentioned her repeatedly throughout, so I'm glad that she gets a proper shout out here at the end. If a scholer wants to reach out to you, pick your brain on some of the topics that we've distressed today, potentially seek you out as a mentor? How can they get ahold of you? Yeah, absolutely so. Honestly, the best way is just my pen state email. I don't really check, like linkedin too much. It's Matt Dot Mignonia at Psu Dot. You Do, you, and you can just get the spelling from somewhere in the description, I imagine. Couldn't have said it better myself. That's exactly how I was going to put it. So thank you, Matt and, as is tradition here on, following the gone, our last question. If you were a flavor of Burkie creamery ice cream, which would you be? And as a scholar alum, most importantly, why that flavor? Yeah, yeah, okay, so I saw this question that you said be beforehand and I spend some time thinking about this one and I've got a good answer for you. I think alum nice s whirl. So first off, have you ever had that? Shawn many times? Okay, okay, cool, so one, I mean one. I'm an ALUMNIS, so like there's that, but to I remember trying that. I think I was in actually like the dining Commons when I first tried it because you know, a lot of them have creeper ice cream and I I thought at the time that it was like cookies and cream or something. I don't know. I honestly didn't know what it was, but I think I took it accidentally and then like took a bit in to it and it's got like a bunch of different things in it. I honestly couldn't even tell you it's been so long since I've last had it, but it's got a lot of different things in it and I was really surprised that I really liked it, and so I feel like it parallels my journey in that it was something unexpected that I didn't really know if I would like or want, but I gave it a try and I wound up really enjoying it and making the best out of it. So I would say alum nice whirl. That is a great answer. I've had some other faults. Every time alum nice world comes up, it is always that it's really surprising the combination of things and how well they work together. So kudos to our colleagues over at the creamery on that Penn state staple. Great answer on that and I think that is a great way to close out. Matt, thank you so much for coming on and sharing all of your great insight on academic advising and instructional design. These are great opportunities for students to look into. Really appreciate you coming on following the Gonen today. Absolutely. Thanks for having me, Sean. Thank you, scholars, for listening and learning with us today. We hope you will take something with you that will contribute to how you shape the world. This show proudly supports the Shure Honors College Emergency Fund, Benefiting Scholars experiencing unexpected financial hardship. You can make a difference at Ray's DOT PSU DOT EDU. Forward Slash Shreire. Please be sure to hit the relevant subscribe, like or follow button on whichever platform you are engaging with us on today. You can follow the college on Facebook, twitter, instagram and Linkedin to say uptodate on news, events and deadlines. If you have questions about the show or a scholar alum who'd like to join us as a guest here on following the gone, please connect with me at scholar alumni at PSU DOT ETU. Until next time, please stay well and we are.

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