Faces of Cincy State: Adrian Harris

From Dual Major To Procter & Gamble

I am so glad I decided to go back to school when I did; it has shaped the entirety of my future and was, hands down, the best decision I have ever made. I initially decided to go back to college because I was burnt out from the restaurant/service industry. I had originally gone to college right after high school but was unsure of a major, so I joined the workforce. I did not return to school until I enrolled at Cincinnati State in August 2018. However, taking the time off and coming back once I was older added to my success. I knew exactly what I wanted to do and was determined to make it happen no matter what.

I chose Cincinnati State because it was conveniently located near me, it had a vast catalog of programs, and the PRICE was unbeatable. The cost of tuition to earn TWO degrees at Cincinnati State is a third of the price that it is costing me to earn ONE degree at my current university. I am so glad I made the choice to go to Cincinnati State first, the opportunities it opened up for me, the connections I made, and the diverse student, faculty, and staff population made for a very rich experience.

My initial goal was just to make it to graduation. However, as the semesters rolled by and the credits kept coming, I shifted my focus to life after Cincinnati State. I wanted to secure a full-time role with Procter and Gamble while continuing my education and obtaining a bachelor’s degree. The first goal of securing a full-time role with P&G came 8 months prior to my graduation. Since starting as a co-op student in May of 2019, I have secured two promotions and working on a third. It has been the most incredible experience, and I owe the opportunity to Cincinnati State’s successful co-op program. The program presented me with the chance to apply. My teachers and my time at Cincinnati State provided me with the skills, tools, and confidence to apply and obtain the position. I am still working on the second goal of obtaining my Bachelor’s in Business Administration and am on track to successfully complete my degree by October 2022.

The best part about being a Cincinnati State student was that it completely exceeded my expectations of what it would be like to be a 28-year-old college student. I thought I would go to class, go home, and do homework, but I was able to find “myself” and grow so much at Cincinnati State. I realized early on that I had this unrealistic fear of being a non-traditional student, but the environment at Cincinnati State is what allowed me to be at ease. It was so warm and welcoming, and the possibilities of what you can do with your time there are limitless.

I have A TON of favorite moments and memories from Cincinnati State: from volunteering at St. Vincent De Paul to leading in the Business department at the 2019 commencement ceremony to receiving the Jake and Maggie Huffman Memorial Endowed Scholarship from Dr. Posey. However, I will have to say my all-time favorite memory was putting on a talent show with my fellow Student Government Association (SGA) elects to showcase how amazingly talented our peers were. We wanted to do something fun that would allow each student that wanted to be in the spotlight a chance to do so. Consisting of singers, poets, rappers, and dancers, it was a fun experience to see our idea and hard work come to fruition.

Another favorite memory of mine was also during my time with SGA. We wanted to do something impactful and install baby changing stations in the men’s and woman’s restrooms. I secured a co-op with P&G shortly after securing my role as President of SGA and saw that P&G was doing something similar around the community of Cincinnati. I got connected with the person heading the project and told them about me and what our SGA team was working on and they ended up sponsoring 5 or 6 baby changing stations to donate and install around campus. It was an awesome experience being able to connect work and school to accomplish a goal that would benefit all future students.

Being involved on campus allowed me to dive in headfirst and immerse myself in all the wonderful things the school had to offer. I gained the respect of staff and faculty, which made it possible to travel all around Ohio to represent the school at events like Propel Ohio and the Accounting Careers Leadership Academy. I grew so much intellectually, personally, and professionally through being active on campus. I worked in close liaison with some of the campus’ executive leaders and learned so much about myself through the unique opportunities that were provided to me through attending and being involved on campus.

I think there are two major things that students who are interested in attending Cincinnati State should know. The first is that the teachers are amazing educators. They take the time to make sure you understand the material and are always available for additional assistance. I did not have a single teacher in my two years that I have a complaint about. Major kudos to the faculty. The second is that Cincinnati State’s culture is so inviting and inclusive. They literally have a club for everything – from Gaming Club to Religious Clubs to Horticulture Club that has their own greenhouse – there is bound to be an organization for you. And, if there isn’t, you can start one. That is the beautiful thing about CState. You can find what makes you thrive and explore so many different areas of interest. When they say “Be Great at CState,” they really mean that. Everything you need to succeed and flourish is on this campus.

I have five key pieces of advice that I firmly believe will help set new students up for success.

Get Involved – Being an active student on campus will provide you with opportunities to work with a diverse group of people, will help you gain confidence when speaking in front of others, and teach you skills that are applicable to your personal and professional life outside of school.

Use Your Resources – Your teachers, faculty, and peers are there for support. Whether it’s seeking out resources, finding lifelong friends, or being there to help mentor and guide you as you approach the next chapter of your life, take advantage of that.

Begin Networking Yesterday – To me, talking about how important networking is used to just be a cliché that everyone repeated. Now, I am a huge proponent of networking. Since enrolling at Cincinnati State, everything that I have achieved has stemmed from a form of networking and putting myself out there. It really does make a world of difference if you know how to properly network and utilize every opportunity you have to do so. In an ever-changing society, it is good to have an array of connections in your circle.

Be Your Own Advocate – Find your voice, discover what you are passionate about, and go after it. Ask yourself, “what is my drive to thrive?” Don’t set limitations on yourself and always believe that you will achieve anything you set your mind to. No one is going to fight for you harder than you fight for yourself. Don’t wait for opportunities to find you, seek them out.

Don’t Ever Pass Up An Opportunity To Learn A New Skill – Whether or not you think a skill will be useful in the here-and-now, always jump at every opportunity to grow. When I was a student at C State, I was a peer tutor and one of the students I was tutoring was deaf. One day she was not able to get an interpreter but asked if we could continue with our session. Without hesitation, I agreed. I pulled up an ASL app on my phone to learn basic signing and we wrote on paper the entire hour to communicate back and forth. Do I use ASL in my every day life? No, but I mention this story because what this experience taught me is how to adapt my way of communicating with different types of people. In the professional world, you meet all types of personalities and learning how to effectively communicate with others if one of the most useful skills I possess.

I apply the skills I learned at Cincinnati State every day of my life, both professionally and personally. Whether I am using the public speaking skills when doing a presentation or balancing my budget, no skill gained is left unused. I am currently enrolled in a B.B.A. program at Thomas More University and I work as a Supply Chain Planner at Procter and Gamble for the Tampax business. In my rare free time, I enjoy reading – a lot of self-help books to reaffirm positivity since quarantine started – cooking, watching TV, or writing. I recently visited Mexico back in March and discovered I have an obsession with authentic street tacos!

Lastly, I want to give a huge thank you to my professors for making learning exciting, my co-op coordinator – Mrs. Franklin –  for helping me make a decision when deciding on co-op placement, my advisor – Mrs. Kantcheva – for always believing in me, Sarah Knight, advisor of  SGA, for allowing us to thrive above and beyond what we imagined, Provost Hoopes and Dr. Posey for really valuing students – past, current, and future, and to the rest of the faculty at Cincinnati State for not only fostering an amazing environment for current students but also engaging in past students to share their story with the new class. To future students, new to college or returning after a hiatus, don’t wait until tomorrow, and don’t ever give up! Like Maya Angelou said, “all great achievements require time.” Be patient. Be diligent. Be compassionate. Most importantly, Be Great!

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