Visit to Statehouse was educational for student

To the editor:

Recently, I was fortunate enough to join more than 400 other Ivy Tech Community College students from each of Ivy Tech’s 14 regions to participate in the annual Ivy Tech Community College Day at the Statehouse.

Ivy Tech Day provides students with an opportunity to interact with state legislators, enhance our understanding of state government, and strengthen our roles as citizens at the local, state and national level.

I had the opportunity to attend this event with Ivy Tech Columbus Campus President Dr. Steven Combs and Leslie Martinez, graduate assistant for student life. We heard speakers including Gov. Mike Pence, Supreme Court Justice Mark Massa, President Pro Tempore of the Senate David Long and Speaker of the House Brian Bosma. Ivy Tech President Tom Snyder and Chancellors David Bathe and Jonathan Weinzapfel also addressed us.

Ivy Tech Day at the Statehouse offers a wonderful chance to meet and talk to other students. But more importantly, it was the perfect opportunity to speak to our legislators and to talk about how beneficial Ivy Tech is as a whole and what we can do as a community to improve ourselves.

As students, this event was beneficial because it afforded us an opportunity to take the initiative to stretch outside our comfort zones. Often, students may not realize what long-term benefits can come from events of this nature. It can become a resource tool that can provide us an opportunity to not only broaden our horizons, but to also give us a head start on networking.

In a competitive job market, networking is invaluable. As a paralegal major, I was able to use this opportunity to actually meet and become acquainted with the people who create law. That was not only exciting, but perhaps even more educational than just going to a class and trying to “imagine” a real-world scenario from the words I read in a textbook.

Being able to see, hear and learn a real-life, practical application of the subject matter that I am currently studying is irreplaceable and invaluable. As a student, I take my studies seriously, as do many of my peers. When an opportunity is available to expand our knowledge outside the classroom setting, we should not pass it by.

Our legislators thanked us and the faculty for the hard work we all have invested to improve our lives. If you have enough courage to attend a school function, you certainly have enough courage to make leadership decisions and make the changes that can lead to an overall better lifestyle.

Ivy Tech students benefit from a caring school that wants their students to achieve success. I believe if more students participate in events such as Ivy Tech Day at the Statehouse, we will see a rise in awareness regarding many aspects of public policies, how it touches our communities and perhaps encourage us to become more actively engaged in issues that we care about.

Shaney Smith, Brown County