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'Let's Get Life Smart' event provides life skill information, resources

Scholarships and Financial Aid Advisor Kelsey Stewart introduces a presentation as a part of Let's Get Life Smart, an event put on by RSO Growth and Development SGA in the Bovee University Center Auditorium Feb. 22.

Resume building, healthy lifestyles, budgeting and credit cards, paying back student loans and scholarships, and job searching - are all relevant skills for college students and "adult-adults" to have and apply. 

That's exactly why the Central Michigan University Student Government Association hosted "Let's Get Life Smart" from 4:45 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22 in the Bovee University Center. The event was broken up into five sessions on the aforementioned topics, with the purpose of equipping students with tools needed for life after (and during) college.

SGA Registered Student Organization Growth & Development committee chair Mary Chiejina organized 'Let's Get Life Smart' after a year of preparation.

"I just want people to have the tools they need, so that they don't need to be stressed out - finance is one of the biggest things people worry about," Chiejina said. "We just want to make (resources) known so that people can feel at ease and actually focus on their classes." 

During the event, different organizations presented topic-specific workshops. The Financial Wellness Collaborative, which serves to help students navigate finances, hosted the budgeting and credit cards session.

"Who's supposed to teach you how to manage money?" said Anna Sheufelt, graduate assistant for the Financial Wellness Collaborative. "It's not something you're born knowing, and you can't necessarily rely on high schools to do it. Maybe your parents will help you, but not everybody's parents even have access to that information either." 

Overall turnout was pretty low, but students that did attend "Let's Get Life Smart" reported learning useful information.

"I think I've been very fortunate to have parents who have done a lot, but this event for people who are paying for everything on their own through college would be really helpful," said Indiana junior Brianna Hart. "I learned a lot in building my own credit and all that, and I think everything else is really helpful."

During the sessions, Student Employment Services and Success Advocates tabled to connect attendees to resources such as success coaches, who work with students to develop success skills.   

"There's always that awkwardness when you go to an event or a presentation and you get back and you're like, 'I didn't want to ask any questions, but at least I know who I can email,'" said Success Advocate Carrie McClure. "I think it opens people's eyes to the resources that we have and then they can figure out where to go from there."

Chiejina does not plan on organizing "Let's Get Life Smart" again, but she can see other organizations following and setting up similar events in the future.

"I think events like this where students can drop in and get the information they want and follow up with a campus resource is awesome," Sheufelt said. "I was really happy that Student Government did something like this, and I think there are ways to make any event bigger and better."