Undecided Major with a Future Full of Possibilities

Jennifer Rangel talks about how University College and a KC Scholars scholarship is helping her discover a career path
Student Jennifer Rangel portrait on UMKC campus in spring

Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about. 

Jennifer Rangel, '22

Hometown: Kansas City
High School: Shawnee Mission East High School
UMKC degree program: Undecided, University College

Why did you choose UMKC?

I chose UMKC because I wanted the diversity. I had attended a predominately white high school and I wanted to have the opportunity to meet other individuals with various backgrounds. I also wanted to be around others who shared the same ethnicity and heritage as me. I’m Hispanic.

UMKC Jennifer Rangel hanging out in her dorm.

Do you have any scholarships? What do they mean to you?

I have been a recipient of a few scholarships and am extremely grateful for the awards that have been given to me. However, there is a scholarship that means the most to me: I am a part of the first class of students to ever receive a KC Scholars scholarship. It has definitely changed my life and really granted me the opportunity to attend school. It has opened doors for me and took the stress of affordability off my shoulders. I have been able to network with a variety of other individuals through this organization and be a part of a few KC Scholars projects to help spread the word about the amazing opportunities they offer for many groups of people.

UMKC student Jennifer Rangel hangs out with friends.

Why did you choose your field of study?

I am currently a student of University College (UCollege) with an undeclared major. However, I have been looking into pursuing business marketing as it is something that I think would be a great fit for me and my interests. I enjoy graphic design and the creativity that comes along with it and while I have thought about studying graphic design in the art school, through UCollege, I have been able to learn more about myself to realize and understand that going the business route with design is something that I would be more interested in.

UMKC student Jennifer Rangel plays cards with her friends.

What are the challenges and benefits of UCollege?

UCollege definitely helps you take the time to learn more about yourself and use that information to determine the best fit for your future career. You might uncover information about yourself that you may not agree with or is hard to come to terms with, but it is part of the growing process.

The biggest benefit of being in the UCollege progam is that you can take the time and really decide what you want to do with your life and where you want to see yourself in your future career. It prevents you from choosing a major that you may still be unsure of and allows you to really think about what you enjoy doing. This program allows you to take your interests, your dislikes, your learning style and many other things into account when you are thinking about your career.

UMKC student Jennifer Rangel hangs out with friends.

Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself?

I have learned that I do not need to have a set plan for my life. I came into the fall semester of freshman year planning on majoring in computer science, something that I had never done before. I assumed that it would be something I would enjoy because I like technology and I like working with computers. I later learned that it was something I actually really disliked, and I realized that I solely chose that major because I was scared to go into a university undecided.

I had grown up always following a plan and having set paths that I planned on taking to be successful, so when my life was not going according to plan, I was scared. I did not like the idea of the unknown, not knowing what I was going to major in or do with my life. I did not like the feeling of being unprepared or not knowing what to expect. However, I have been able to use this experience in pushing myself to let go and not try to control everything, to see where life takes me and live by the phrase “what happens, happens.”

Are you a first-generation college student? If so, what does that mean to you?

Yes, and it means everything to me. It tells me that all my hard work in school throughout the years has paid off. I grew up being told by my family that I had so much potential and I was so smart. I knew that college was a must for me; I wanted to do something with my life and I knew that nothing was going to stop me from making this happen.

I am doing this alone, I did not have my parents to help prepare me for college, or to help me understand what to expect. I was determined and motivated and that was all I needed to push through. I am happy that I am going to be the first person in my family to get a degree. I am going to make my family proud, I am going to be an inspiration and an example for other first-generation students. It is not easy and there is a lot of pressure, but I am determined to be a part of the group of first-generation students that are changing the statistics and data set against us.

UMKC student Jennifer Rangel hangs out with friends.

Who do you admire most at UMKC and why?

I admire my pre-calculus professor, Kristin Kathman. She always sees the potential in her students and encourages the best work from each one. She loves joking around, which makes the class extremely enjoyable. My professor genuinely cares about the work that she is doing and it’s obvious. She refuses to let any one of her students struggle or fail her class. She knows what we are capable of and does what she can to help each of us individually. She has set a high standard for future professors, and it has allowed many of her students to create that academic relationship with her. She is definitely a professor that I will always admire and someone that I know I can always go to for anything.

What extracurricular activities are you involved in at UMKC?

I am a current executive board member for the National Society of Leadership and Success. I am the society events chair; my main job is to book rooms and ensure the events held for our members run smoothly. I get to work closely with a group of other students and I get to be part of a great organization.

UMKC student Jennifer Rangel hugs one of her friends.

What is one word that best describes you and why?

Determined. I am determined to accomplish a variety of things in regard to my academics, to meet new people and make new friendships, and I am determined to make the most that I can out of my time here at UMKC.



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Published: Apr 19, 2019