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Transfer student Megan Schneck finds purpose, community at Austin Peay

By: Brian Dunn March 14, 2024

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CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - Megan Schneck knew she would transfer colleges to finish her bachelor’s degree after starting at Nashville State Community College. What she didn't expect was how meaningful her experience at Austin Peay State University would be in shaping her identity and career aspirations.

Schneck, who will graduate in December with a K-5 education degree, chose to begin at Nashville State for smaller class sizes and more affordable tuition through scholarships.

“I was homeschooled, so coming from that to a university where freshman classes can be pretty big was a little bit intimidating,” Schneck said. “I decided to start at a community college where the biggest class size was like 30, which was still a lot for me.”

The transfer process went smoothly, thanks to the support Schneck received. She met with advisors at both schools early on to plan her classes. Transferring alongside three classmates from Nashville State also helped.

“It's important to not be afraid to talk to people,” Schneck said. “Most people are willing and happy to help, but I’ve met so many other people going to college who are scared or nervous to go and meet with people in any area of the school.

“In my experience, almost everyone has been nice and helpful,” she added. “They aren’t scary just because they have a fancy job title, they are still people.”

Since arriving at Austin Peay, Schneck has embraced opportunities to grow and discover who she wants to be – someone who inspires others to be their best selves and find joy in learning. In-person classes have allowed her to build a tight-knit community within the Eriksson College of Education.

“Being in person, I’ve been able to meet a lot of really great people and just be able to collaborate and work together and kind of build that community,” she said. “We all kind of have the same mindset about most of the things that we're doing.”

Her service-learning trip to Jamaica in January 2023 was defining. Schneck helped paint classrooms and formed a bond with a girl named Chyna. The trip solidified Schneck’s desire to make an impact as an educator.

“I want to inspire people to be the best that they can be,” she said. “I want people to really not be afraid to be themselves and explore different options.”

After transferring and gaining classroom experience, Schneck has expanded her career goals and now plans to teach at the college level after spending time teaching in an elementary school.

“I just like college, and especially those major-specific classes,” she said. “When the people who you’re teaching want to be there [and] it’s their goal to get this job. So they're wanting to learn this material, and it's very applicable.”

Schneck is getting more involved on campus through the Student Tennessee Education Association. As secretary, she helps organize professional development and networking opportunities for future educators.

Looking back, Schneck appreciates her unique education and perspective.

“I think one other benefit of it is it’s just kind of given me a few more milestones to reach,” she said, contrasting her experience with a friend who started at Austin Peay as a freshman.

With plans to pursue a master’s degree through Austin Peay’s reading program, Schneck’s journey is far from over. But wherever she goes, the lessons and relationships as a transfer student will remain at the heart of who she has become.

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