Scholars Speak: Guest Blog by Forman Scholar Kyla Avant

Kyla Avant shares her thoughts to our Scholars Speak student blog series. Kyla is a junior at the University of Scranton, where she is studying occupational therapy. 

Read on to hear about Kyla’s college experiences, the advice she has for younger students and her ideas for improving the greater Salem community. 

What does pursuing a college degree mean to you?  

Pursuing a higher education means that I have the chance to explore many areas of interest to me. Not only am I obtaining a degree to have a career, but I’m also gaining a deeper understanding of myself and the world around me in the process. These experiences will certainly help me in the future when I connect with clients.  

What’s something you didn’t know during your first year in college that you wish you knew?  

There are many people involved with the Foundation who are willing to help – all you have to do is ask. 

What is your most memorable academic moment from your time in college? 

My most memorable academic moment was when I decided to become a psychology minor. I was (and still am) excited to learn more about the human brain and how abnormalities affect our daily living. I love that I get to learn about things that are personally interesting. 

Tell us a time when you overcame a challenge. 

One of the biggest challenges I’ve had to overcome is feeling secure in my ability to succeed in college. Students who are involved in both the occupational therapy and psychology programs have a substantial workload. I often felt overwhelmed and stressed, but I developed a schedule that allowed me to take time for myself. 

For people who may not know about the Foundation, what role has the Foundation played in your educational journey?  

The Foundation has helped me achieve success in many ways. I’ve found comfort in knowing the staff members really do care about our educational experience. Beyond the financial support, there are many opportunities to get involved, and there are plenty of resources available to students.

As someone who grew up in either Salem or the Salem area, how has your community shaped your upbringing, and what do you think is needed to ensure the best future for Salem? 

To ensure the best future for Salem, there should be a new community center opened up, as well as a grocery store. One of the most substantial problems facing Salem is economic instability and a lack of opportunities for individuals to explore options for their future. With the right programs in place, Salem has the potential to prosper. 

If you had to give one piece of advice to a student who is applying for college, what would it be and why?  

Make sure you choose a school that will allow you to enjoy your college experience and get involved in different aspects of college life. Fun classes, clubs and networking opportunities with others can have a lasting impact on your college experience.