Going from a big school to a small school
My story is a little different than the average WWU student. I transferred here my sophomore year after spending a year at the University of Missouri in Columbia, which is a huge school thatwas not a great fit for me. When you are used to all your teachers and peers knowing you by name and then you go to a school with 30,000 students, being known by an 8-digit number is quite the adjustment. I was drawn to William Woods for its small class sizes and location, but it’s the people that make this place feel like a home to me. Throughout my three years here I have had the privilege to get to know so many professors and peers. I have made connections that I know will last far beyond my college career. I am known as Briley Browning here and not 14230977 and that’s nice.
Changing my major nine times
I’ve changed my major nine times since freshman year but every single time, math has always been a part of my academic pathway in some way. At Mizzou, I tried out economics, agricultural business, pre-law, and civil engineering. My dad is an engineer, and I thought that would be something I would be interested in; however, the classes were a little difficult because English was not the first language of most of my professors. I quickly realized this was not the degree path for me, nor the school. When I came to William Woods in Fall of 2016, I decided to major solely in mathematics. Actuarial Science/Numerical Analysis has always been of interest to me, and I had plans to find a job within this field. I then changed to Mathematics and Business, which then changed to Mathematics and Management Information Systems still with a goal of finding a job within the realm of mathematics. In Spring of 2018, I decided to add on an education major. My mom was a teacher, and I have always enjoyed school so why not? I was determined to finish this major so that I could still graduate the following spring. This meant that I would need to finish a 4-year degree in one year. I took on the challenge and as of the first week of December this year, I will have taken 65 college credit hours in one year. The typical college student takes 30. This course overload has been extremely difficult, but worthwhile. I started job hunting and I recently accepted a job as a Financial Analyst in Chesterfield, MO starting in May 2019. I have switched my degree path for the last time and will graduate this April with a double major in Mathematics and Educational Studies with two minors in Business Administration and Management Information Systems.
In addition to my diverse course load, I have also had several jobs throughout my life. Throughout high school, I worked for the prosecuting attorney in Lincoln County, MO as an office assistant. This was a neat experience and I gained a lot of knowledge that helped me in my schooling. I then decided I wanted to do something a little different so the summer before my freshman year of college I spent the month of July getting my real estate license. Since then, I have been working for a realtor in Moscow Mills, MO during my summer and winter breaks. Because I added on the education major, I decided that I probably needed some experience teaching, so I received my substitute certification my sophomore year of college and have subbed on and off for the past 3 years as well. I will start my job as a financial analyst at a financial firm known as L.J. Hart & Company this coming May and I am excited for all the knowledge and experiences that this opportunity will bring.
I would say that my dad is my biggest inspiration, hands down. He came from a loving family. However, they did not have much growing up. He worked his way through high school and college and put himself through engineering school. Since then, he has built himself a successful career and started his own engineering company. He would do anything for his family and friends and is the most selfless and driven person that I know, and I strive to be more like him every day.
Developing academic relationships with my professors
I will graduate with around 220 credit hours. It only takes 120 credit hours to graduate. Because of this, I have had the privilege of being seated in the classrooms of a large percentage of the professors here on campus. The professors here are welcoming and friendly, and care about their students. The class sizes are small, which I love, and I feel that this really helps students develop strong relationships with their teachers. If you were to show any of my professors at Mizzou a picture of me, there is about a 5% chance they would remember my name. If you were to show any of my professors at William Woods a picture of me, they would know my first name, last name, major (whatever it was at the time), and probably much more. I feel that I’ve formed friendships with my professors and know that I will still hear from many of them far beyond graduation. I am especially thankful to my advisors Chris Schneider and Dr. Timothy Hanrahan. They have been helpful to me and have been extremely supportive in all my academic decision making, even though I think they’re usually scared when registration for classes opens and I come in for my advising appointments. I cannot thank them enough for what they have done for me and they are both excellent professors as well.
Co-chairing President Twenty
I am currently the co-chair for Presidents Twenty Board this year. President’s Twenty is the board that serves as a liaison between the University President and the student body. We meet directly with President Barnett each month to discuss what we think we think should be changed about the university or what we think is going well. When I came on my campus tour before choosing to come to WWU, I met Dr. Barnett and was impressed by her story and with who she was as a person. Once I got to school and heard about President’s Twenty Board, I knew this was something I wanted to be a part of and I have much enjoyed this experience. Dr. Barnett is a class act and this school is fortunate to have her as our President.
Finding her forever friends through Greek Life
When you go to college, it is not the school itself that makes you stay, it is the people. I went Greek because I wanted to get more involved on campus and to meet more people, and through joining Alpha Chi Omega, this was certainly the case for me. I have met so many amazing women both within this organization and because of this organization. The second semester of my sophomore year I became the president of the Panhellenic Association on campus, which is the board that unifies all four sororities we have here. Through this experience, I made many connections and strengthened my leadership skills. I would recommend anyone coming to William Woods to go Greek because you do meet so many people and it is a great way to get involved on campus. I have made lifelong friendships and met many of my future bridesmaids because of Alpha Chi Omega and it has been a great fit for me. However, I know that Greek Life is not the answer for everyone. My advice for all incoming students is to get involved on campus and make as many connections as possible in whatever way that looks like for you. Greek life is an amazing way to do this, but there are also tons of other clubs, organizations, and other ways to get involved as well. To have the best college experience possible, you need to find your niche and William Woods makes it easy to do this.
Other Involvement Outside of Greek Life
Besides being a part of Alpha Chi Omega and the president of the Panhellenic Association, I have also been the president of Kappa Mu Epsilon (National Mathematics Honor Society) for the last three years. Additionally, I was president of the Campus Activities Board my junior year, I am currently the co-chair of President’s Twenty Board, I have been on Campus Standards Board for the last 2 years, and I have also been inducted into both Order of Omega (National Greek Honor Society) and Omicron Delta Kappa (National Leadership Honor Society). These organizations have kept me busy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Day in the Life
A typical day for me is usually a busy one. I wake up early each morning. I am in seven classes this semester, so a large part of my day is spent in the classroom or in the library doing homework. I usually have several club meetings, honor society meetings, or sorority events a week to attend as well. Within the last year, I have lost about 25 pounds and transformed my health because I wanted to be in better shape and lose my “Freshman 15”. Because of this, I try to find at least an hour or two in my day to go to the gym or go for a run. My evenings are usually spent hanging out in my sorority house with friends.
Making WWU Home
Life is too short to be anything but happy. You’ll hear this all the time but until you start believing it and applying it to your life, you will never be the person you want to be. The reason I am so involved at this school and I have done all the things I have done is because they bring happiness to my life. Happiness looks different to every person, but to me, happiness is when you wake up each morning not dreading what you must do that day. Happiness is spending time with people that lift you up and support your goals, and you doing the same for those people. Happiness is setting goals for yourself that may be years out but keeping in mind that you do not have the ability to plan absolutely anything, only God does, and so you have to enjoy the moments and trust that you’ll get where you’re supposed to be whenever you’re supposed to be there. God put me here and I’m so happy He did. William Woods University has brought me happiness and this new perspective on life that I never had before. Not only have I found a school that I love, but it has loved me back and that is something that not many college students can say.