Mia Gresak is a junior at Davis & Elkins College and has been a recipient of the Teaming to Win Business Scholarship for the past two years. She is 20 years old and double majoring in Accounting and Business Management. We were lucky to talk to Mia a little bit about how her college experience has been, how she commits to both clubs, sports and school, and how she’s changed for the better during her years at D&E. Scroll down to read her story, for our February Student Spotlight!
The Mollohan Foundation: Mia, you’re now a junior in college, and coming close to your senior year. How do you feel your college experience has been similar or differed from your high school experience?
Mia Gresak: I believe my college experience is similar to high school as Davis and Elkins College is a small, liberal arts school, which provides a smaller environment where teachers know their students and encourage them to succeed. Also, I was very involved throughout high school in National Honor Society, theatre, dance, majorette in the band so much that I was afraid that I would not be as active in college. However, I surprised myself and am a participant in about 5 clubs/organizations on campus where I serve a leadership position in every one of them. I also get to continue to dance in college, while being on a dance scholarship and additionally being a member of the D&E Appalachian Dance Ensemble, which was far beyond my expectations when continuing my education at Davis and Elkins College.
TMF: You have been in dance throughout your high school and college career. What do you think has drawn you to dance and how do you think it affects your daily life?
Mia: I have been dancing since I have been a child, and have just always enjoyed the performing arts. The dance program at Davis and Elkins College is fairly new so I have enjoyed being a part of the growing process. I believe dance affects my daily life in college as it gives me a break from sitting in class all day, while keeping my body active. I believe everyone in school should take some sort of movement class, whether it is dance or sports because it truly does benefit one’s health and helps keep the mind active and alert in the academic classes throughout the day.
TMF: Is it challenging to do extracurricular activities while keeping up with your studies? Do you feel these activities help or hinder you in this aspect, and what are some things you do to manage your days efficiently?
Mia: Dancing in college and additionally working at the coffee shop on campus, while pursuing a double major I have to admit, is quite challenging especially being a straight-A student. Lack of time is definitely the biggest factor and I honestly believe my management classes have helped me learn the importance of time management. I have 8 am classes and get out of dance rehearsal, on average, at 9:30 pm. With the Appalachian Dance Ensemble we travel out of town almost every weekend, including traveling out of state. I have 18 credit hour semesters and dance about 18-20 hours a week. I do believe my extracurricular activities in high school have helped me to adapt to this schedule and have helped to learn to study and do homework every chance that I get. I have also learned to pack healthy snacks to give me energy throughout the day. Prioritizing your schedule is also important while I also keep a daily agenda/to-do-list where I color-code by the order of importance. I think being an organized, motivated person helps me to keep track of my time and studies, which I feel is a great trait to help prepare myself for the accounting field.
TMF: You went to Bridgeport High School, but now attend Davis & Elkins College. Do you enjoy being away from where you’ve grown up? Do you feel like it has helped you to become the person you are today?
Mia: While choosing a college to attend, I did not want to be too far from home, however did want a chance to spread my wings. My family is very important to me so I did not want to be too far to miss family gatherings. Davis and Elkins College is not far from home, so it is close enough to come home for the holidays, birthdays, and even to come home on weekends to cheer on the Indians Football team or to attend Bridgeport High School’s Theatre performances. While attending a college away from my hometown I have made new friends, met new people, and have even made great mentor relationships with my teachers/professors. I believe also being away from home you learn a little bit more about yourself, what is important to yourself, and learn responsibility. At the same time, I have learned while being away to appreciate the little things that I do have at home, like my family, friends, supporting teachers, and close-niche community.
TMF: What are some of your favorite things to do outside of dance and your studies?
MG: This question is actually quite difficult to answer because if I am not dancing, I am in class or studying. I do not believe I have much free time. When I do, I enjoy hanging out with my friends when I can. I also enjoy dancing on my own in the studio or picking up my twirling baton and twirling rifle every once in a while. Any chance I have free time, I make sure to go to the gym at least three times a week because I really enjoy running and working out. I wish I had more time to enjoy doing other things I love, but then again I never thought that I would be dancing again and that is something to be thankful for.