Freshman year, you couldn’t find Kiera Patton on campus.
“I was really homesick my freshman year,” she said. “I went home pretty much every weekend except for three.”
Patton, now a senior, spent the time she wasn’t in class going back home. She didn’t take advantage of the many experiences Franklin College has to offer.
“I like literally want to kick myself in the butt for not doing it,” she said.
But now she’s involved in so many things on and off campus she can’t keep track.
She went from never participating in any events or clubs to being a member or leader of four campus groups. She spends her time as an assistant in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, an assistant on the President’s Council for Diversity and Inclusion, the president of Student Foundation and a member of Black Student Union.
Just to name a few.
Patton is also a resident assistant in the Hoover and Cline residence hall. One of her shifts includes sitting in the dorm’s lobby from 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.
One of the more memorable experiences she’s enjoyed during her four years was her recent study abroad trip to Uganda. The trip was something she had been looking forward to since taking the Inner-City Missions course during her freshman year.
“Taking that trip was definitely life changing—being exposed to a different culture and being immersed somewhere,” Patton said. “And seeing how people live completely different than we live here in the United States was just eye opening and amazing.”
Taking advantage of every situation, from the moment students step foot on campus, is the best advice she can give to incoming freshmen.
“Even if you don’t like it, at least try it out,” she said. “Don’t ever just turn yourself down from an opportunity just because you don’t think you’ll like it. Try to explore it, see if there is a possibility there. Use your resources and take full advantage of what Franklin offers because it’s something way better than any public school could offer.”
Patton has learned many lessons, accomplished many goals and received distinctive awards during her stay at Franklin College.
One of her highest accomplishments happened recently when she won the student category in the 2017 Women of Distinction Awards from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
Winners of the awards were selected based on how they support and promote the ideas of empowering women, commitment to the community through volunteer work and exceptional skills as a role model or mentor of women and girls.
Patton was shocked when she won the award and said the nominees for the award were just as strong.
“I feel like it’s an extreme honor just to be honored for doing the things love,” she said.
Friends of Patton, like senior Nathanael Beasley—who is one of her fellow Hoover and Cline resident assistants—have many things to say on what makes Patton the way she is. They say she’s down-to-earth, dedicated, hard-working and all around joyful.
Beasley also said freshmen can learn a lot from Patton.
“Follow her example. Be dedicated,” Beasley said. “Enjoy. I mean she gets, you can tell she gets stressed out at times, certain classes and stuff, but I think she enjoys school.”
After she graduates in May, Patton will move onto a position she already has at Enterprise Rent-A-Car. She said her liberal arts education has prepared her for the position.
“Our liberal arts education has prepared us, in a sense, just to be ready for whatever career path, I would say, you choose to go down,” Patton said. “Just because we had so many opportunities and so much exposure to different things, and different studies and topics.”