University Park, IL,
14:19 PM

Stepping outside your comfort zone at GSU


For Rachel Beckmann, who is graduating with her degree in English from Governors State University (GSU),  being a Jaguar meant stepping outside her comfort zone.

She started her tenure at GSU unsure about her future. Now, as she prepares to graduate Magna Cum Laude in May, she said GSU has helped her mold a vision for where she wants to be and has prepared her with experiences of a lifetime. 

GSU Newsroom: What Drew You To GSU?

Beckmann:  After graduating from Peotone High School in May 2018 I knew that college was a natural next step for me to take. Coming from a small town, I didn’t want to go away for college, and Governors State University offered the opportunity for me to stay close to home and save some money rather than going to some larger school.

GSU Newsroom: What conversations that started at GSU will you continue into your workplace?

Beckmann:  As a freshman at Governors State, I was encouraged to reach outside of my comfort zone. By doing this, it allowed me to build a solid portfolio by the time that graduation rolled around. Because of the supportive faculty and staff, I feel that I am well-prepared for my career post-graduation.

GSU Newsroom: What does being a Jaguar mean to you?

Beckmann: To me, being a student at Governors State University means stepping outside of your comfort zone. When I was a freshman, I wouldn’t ever had imagined that I would achieve all that I have done since beginning as a freshman here in Fall 2018. Through the support of my mentors and the Honors Program co-curriculum, I have stepped outside of my comfort zone completely which has resulted in experiences of a lifetime.

GSU Newsroom:  Top two GSU Experiences?

Beckmann: I can’t just choose two! Presenting my creative writing and photography project at a National Conference—namely, the National Honors Collegiate Council Conference—for the GSU Honors Program, being able to inspire other honors program students to do the same and winning first-place in the visual arts poster category.

Creating two Reconstructed Journals from beginning to finish as the graphic designer and Vice President of Reconstructed, as well as revamping the website.

Being a part of brand development in the GSU marketing office as a photographer for the GSU brand and writer for The Agora

GSU Newsroom: What are some challenges at GSU and how did the university help you to overcome them?

Beckmann: When I first got to Governors State, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I settled on my major as psychology because it was interesting enough and had a realistic outlook, but I knew that I was missing something there. Through the support of several mentors including Professor Laura White, Sarah Hirsch, and Dr. Alli Cipra, I eventually found my calling for becoming an English major, with minors in marketing and psychology.

GSU Newsroom:  How did GSU prepare you for working in the post-Covid-19 world?

Beckmann: Governors State helped me adapt to an ever-changing environment, adapting to circumstances as they come my way. Because of this, I feel that I got comfortable with managing my work efforts while remote.

GSU Newsroom: What’s next after graduation?

Beckmann: I will be graduating Magna Cum Laude this May and will go on to the Communication, Media, & Performance Program at GSU to become a brand creator. In the meantime, I plan to work with LifeTouch and GradImages until the fall, when I will become a graduate assistant at GSU during my graduate studies for the Division of Education.