I woke up on May 1, the decision day, and put on a Fitchburg State sweatshirt. I felt in my heart that this was where I was supposed to be.
Like many college-bound students, Miranda Gustin ‘23 experienced some indecision about where her path lay after finishing high school.
Gustin, majoring in political science with a minor in business and a concentration in American law, grew up in Leicester. As college approached, she was torn between Fitchburg State and heading farther away to Vermont.
“I woke up on May 1, the decision day, and put on a Fitchburg State sweatshirt,” she said. “I felt in my heart that this was where I was supposed to be.”
Three years later, Gustin still feels that way, and has left her mark on the school as a high-achieving student who is also deeply embedded in campus life.
It was in her first year that a friend took her to a meeting of the Fitchburg Activities Board, which organizes events on campus. “It started there,” Gustin said. “I ended up accidentally getting involved, and I fell in love with it.”
She was later elected president of that board, and also joined the Fitchburg Anti-Violence Education club, was elected secretary of the panhellenic society (comprising the university’s sorority chapters), and won a seat as a senator in the Student Government Association. Beyond those activities, she is a senior resident assistant in Aubuchon Hall, where she has lived her entire time at Fitchburg State.
Gustin said being a resident assistant has been a powerful experience, with challenges and rewards that include the importance of finding common ground. “It opened my eyes to different groups of people,” she said. “We all come here for an education, and finding something with each person I can connect with, I think that’s rewarding. Anywhere I go, I’m going to be with people I don’t know, and I’m going to need to find that connection.”
Gustin found a connection with the university’s Moot Court program, representing the university at the regional and national tournaments this year. That program was demanding but eye-opening, instilling a love of the law that she plans to explore in law school after completing her undergraduate degree.
One of the cumulative lessons Gustin has taken from her scope of engagement on campus is the importance of savoring down-time. “It’s hard at times, and I do find solace in carving out time for myself,” she said. “Any time I get to breathe, I do that. It’s a balancing act.”
But she wouldn’t have her college experience go any other way. “Fitchburg State is more than just an education to me,” she said. “I found a home here. I became a part of this university. I put my money into this, but I got more for my dollar than most people do. I gave a lot of myself, and I received more in the end.”