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Krystle Perkins

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What three words would you use to describe Lewis & Clark?

Friendly, innovative, gorgeous

Describe your job.

I work with students to help develop schedules and graduation plans; decide among areas of study; plan for going abroad; address struggles in the classroom; and prep for their post-graduation goals. I also help develop and deliver workshops aimed at academic skills like time management, seeking resources, and pre-professional planning.

What do you like best about your job?

I really like helping people realize all of the awesome things they are capable of. The best is when a student leaves my office saying, “I feel so much better!” or “Wow, I didn’t know all of these plans were even possible!” I also love when I hear back from a student that they are enjoying the major they chose, loving their abroad program, or got the scholarship I helped them apply for. I am genuinely excited for them!

What makes Lewis & Clark special?

I am impressed with how active the students are with social and political issues. I also think it’s special how so many are open to trying classes they would have never imagined they’d try, just to have the experience—not for a requirement.

Why do you choose to work at a liberal arts college? What do you think the benefits are of a liberal arts degree?

I went to a liberal arts college and enjoyed the freedom it gave me to explore my interests. It was actually a required general education course I didn’t think I needed to take that opened the door to my future major and further graduate work. I think liberal arts students leave college with a healthy curiosity of many fields, excellent writing skills, and the ability to question and critically analyze everything they encounter—books, news, opinions, decisions, etc.

What are the biggest challenges faced by most first-year students?

I think a big challenge is the pressure to feel like they need to have everything figured out right away. It’s okay not to know your major yet. It’s okay to change it. It’s okay to get a major and then do a job that seemingly has nothing to do with your major. You aren’t carving your life in stone, and while planning is a big part of my job, I also realize life doesn’t always go according to plan. It’s important to be flexible and open-minded.

What advice do you have for incoming students?

Well, besides the whole bit about being flexible and open-minded, I’d say GO TO OFFICE HOURS! Professors want to meet you and are there to help you if you have questions. When I taught history (before coming to L&C), I loved it when students came to see me. We had great conversations beyond what was covered in lecture. You can learn so much outside of the classroom and also gain clarity on what is discussed in the class. Lastly, there are more resources here on campus than you can imagine. Successful students ask for help and they ask often. Don’t be afraid to use tutoring, counseling, advising, the Career Center, and other resources.

What’s up with the skates?

I started playing roller derby almost a year before I moved to Portland. When I got into town a couple of summers ago, I joined the Rose City Rollers, the biggest roller derby league in the world. Talented skaters move to Portland from all over to get on the world champion travel team. This past March, after some time in the draft pool, I was drafted to a home team, the High Rollers! I am primarily a blocker, but if all of the jammers need a rest, I won’t say no to jamming. Roller derby created an instant community and support system for me, keeps me in shape—as, dare I say, an athlete!—and has made me more confident than I have ever been before.