Chief Alumni Officer's Corner

Chief Alumni Officer’s Corner: September 2021

New Panthers get to know each other during one of FIU's 2021 Panther Camp sessions

WOW. That was my reaction to the first day of classes at FIU. I’d been warned that parking spaces would vanish quickly – and they did. I was also told that the Graham Center would be packed – and it was. Wow. So many students. So much energy and excitement.

FIU. Three letters that pack a big punch.

Our campuses are abuzz as students have returned to in-person learning. Not only is college life new for our incoming first-year class, but for sophomores, as well. Think about it… due to the pandemic, they never experienced an in-person first year.

Some alumni shared with me how meaningful their Panther Camp experience was during their acclimation to college. This year’s camp was on campus, so I took some time to go over and observe how the students were meeting one another and having conversations about important issues they’d experience as college students. The program was facilitated largely by upper-class students, which made it even more meaningful. What an incredible program!

Like many of our students today, I was the first among my family to go away to college. I didn’t have an older sibling or parent who could advise me on navigating the college experience. High school was one building, and now I had an entire campus of buildings to get lost finding. And what was a Provost? Or a Bursar, for that matter? Why was there a dean of students along with a dozen college deans? What did you call a dean if his name was Dean? All these questions to figure out on my own! An inspiring program like Panther Camp would definitely have given me a leg up – and maybe a few tips and tricks from alumni would have helped me, too!

We often forget how foreign college can be to a new student. And this year, we have two sets of new students probably wondering many similar thoughts. To help accelerate their learning, we thought, “Who better than you, our FIU alumni, to provide some great advice to our newest Panthers on how to succeed at FIU!”

Think about some of the things you learned that could be helpful to them. Advice you wish someone had given you, for example. As Panthers who graduated, what suggestions do you have for our newest students on how to succeed at FIU – in class or beyond? Head on over to our Instagram stories this week (@FIUAlumni) and submit your advice for a chance to be featured on our social media.

In Panther Spirit,

Brian Breittholz
Chief Alumni Officer

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