This is Tia

Senior Tia Epps talks about how involvement is shaping her future

Features > This is Tia
This is Tia
Tia Epps describes how her journey at Kean has shaped her leadership skills
Photo courtesy of Tia Epps
Justin Kanski, Staff Writer

College is a time for networking and building up a portfolio to go out into the world after graduation. Tia Epps, a senior at Kean has taken advantage of all the opportunities the university has to offer so she can become successful beyond college.

Epps is a psychology major planning to graduate in Spring 2021. She is a Residential Assistant (RA) on campus with Residential Student Services (RSS) and has also been involved in Friends for Children with Cancer Club as well as Pride RSS. When she first came to Kean, Epps described the atmosphere as welcoming and as a place to build up her network.

"Kean wasn't my first choice but when I came here, I knew I wanted to come here. It was the diversity that drew me here. When I came to an open house and saw the dorms, I was amazed and it instantly made my decision. I don't regret it at all," said Epps.

Epps wanted to get more involved when she got to campus and was inspired by one of her peers to become an RA when the time came. She reflected on how being an RA is a rewarding experience and how it teaches students life skills that are used in the real-world such as time management. Epps wanted to be a mentor for the incoming freshmen and create lifelong friendships with the students on her floor.

"My old RA was the best. I'm still friends with them and was really inspired by how friendly being an RA really was. I realized you are not just an RA. You are a human too. My main goal was to get involved and continue a goal from high school of being a peer mentor to the incoming class," said Epps.

In spite of the recent transition to virtual programming due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Epps still manages to put on exciting programming for her residents to enjoy. Balancing the duties of being an RA while going to classes virtually can be challenging but Epps sees it as a chance to adapt to the new environment and encourages students to make sure they are on top of their game.

"Kean has shaped me in so many ways that I cannot begin to describe. [Who I am today] compared to my freshman year, I have grown a lot, and RSS has played a big role in that development. Being an RA has helped me with critical thinking, being on my feet with different positions, and [taught me] how to balance different things at one time," said Epps. "Coming into college was a huge transition but over the years and with all the positions I have been involved with, I have my time-management down figuring out what works for me best."

Epps is currently looking into graduate programs for getting a master's degree in organizational psychology after she graduates from Kean. Epps reminds students that even though Kean is mostly remote this semester, the opportunities to get connected through networking are still there to take advantage of.

"Even though things are remote, Kean is still the same. Kean still offers so many opportunities to expand your networking. Reach out to your fellow peers, your RAs, and your professors because they may have connections to higher-ups who can help students when they need it. For getting involved, Kean offers a wide variety of organizations to join to better develop into the person you want to be. There is always something to do or join so I encourage students to take charge of all their connections because the experience Kean offers is life-changing." said Epps.

Epps is grateful to Kean for providing the platform to launch her into the world beyond college and providing the essential tools needed for success.

about the author

Justin Kanski, Staff Writer

Justin Kanski is a senior majoring in Communication with a focus on Media/Film and a minor in Health Relations. A Staff Writer for The Cougar's Byte, Justin is also a part of Kean TV and WKNJ 90.3 Cougar Radio as the host of J Money Jams. He is a member of the Leadership Institute Platinum Level and has served as a New Student Orientation Leader for the past two years. Justin’s favorite shows are “Power” and "Cobra Kai" while his favorite movies are anything in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He also loves listening to Hip-Hop music. Whether it be in front of the camera or behind it, Justin aspires to be a media mogul.