Graduation speaker looks back on time as student

Mascot Wolfie on graduation cap.

Brittany reflects on successes at Madison College

Brittany holds her decorated graduation cap

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Brittany Campbell and I am earning my associate degree in the Occupational Therapy Assistant program this month.

I have been involved in many activities during my time at at Madison College. They include serving as an officer in the Programs and Activities Council and as the 2019-2020 WI Regional President in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. I am also a voting member on the Student Activities Board, and the first student to co-chair the Student Affairs Council as part of the Shared Governance System which makes me a voting member of the Madison College Assembly. In addition, I am the Student Liaison to the District Board of Trustees.

How does it feel to be selected as the student speaker for the spring graduation ceremony?

It is truly an honor to be the student speaker for this graduation, especially because six months ago I wasn’t even sure I would be able to graduate on time. My final semester was to include two, eight-week rotations of field work and it was unclear if there would be placements for me and my classmates due to the pandemic.

When I received the message that I had gotten both of my placements secured there was a big weight lifted off my shoulders. I knew that trusting the process was the right way to go.

There is no better way to end my college career than to speak to my fellow classmates who have been such an amazing support to me.

What are some of your best memories from Madison College?

Several moments come to mind.

  • I’ve had the privilege to introduce Madison College President Dr. Jack E Daniels III at a conference that my team had planned for members of Phi Theta Kappa from Wisconsin. We presented him with an award for his continued support as an alumnus of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
  • I was part of a team that was recognized at an international conference in Florida where I competed in a speaking competition after months of preparation and where I made lifelong friends.
  • I took part in a 10-week Service Learning Academy where I volunteered at the Waunakee Neighborhood Connection. This fulfilled a dream of giving back to an organization that had helped me and my family in time of need.
  • One of my favorite collection of memories is the collaboration and support shared with my cohort of future certified occupational therapy assistants. Without their support, help and inspiration I wouldn’t be here today.
  • I also have great memories of working with many student groups/organizations to plan the annual Family Spooktacular where, not only did we serve our students and families, but the community as well. It was made more meaningful as I had my daughter right next to me volunteering and making memories!

What advice do you have for students who are still working toward graduation?

My advice is to just take it day by day, or hour by hour, or even minute by minute if you need to. Every day you get a little closer to reaching your goals and if you just keep moving forward, you’ll eventually get there. Seek out someone or a group of individuals that are also working towards goals no matter what that goal may be, because they will understand you and empathize with the obstacles you have navigated during your college career.

Lastly, have some fun once in a while! It is important to take care of yourself and let off some steam so you can be more successful in the long run.

What are you most proud about during your time at Madison College?

I am most proud of just making it to graduation! This is my 13th semester at Madison College. This includes a time when I had to withdraw from classes and a time when I failed nearly every class. It also includes a period of time when I was waiting to be admitted into my program, so I spent time earning my liberal arts associate degree.

 My 14-year-old daughter has supported me through all of my journey, and it is an honor to show her that with hard work, perseverance, and passion you’ll always be able to work towards your goals.

What do you plan to do next?

I will be studying this summer to take my National Board Certification exam for occupational therapy. This will allow me to work as a COTA (Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant). I will be seeking employment where I will work with adults. There will be a factor of addressing mental health needs even if it is just being someone they can talk to. I am excited to explore my options when I am ready to enter the workforce.

Anything else you want to add?

I have had such a fulfilling experience at Madison College. I have grown into an adult and my own person throughout my journey. I’m so thankful for all of the opportunities that have presented themselves, and I will miss seeing so many inspiring and supportive people every day. I hope that my relationship with the college doesn’t end here but is only the springboard I’ve needed to start my career.

Brittany is an Occupational Therapy Assistant student at Madison College.