Class of 2013
Major: Business Management
Favorite weekend activity: Hanging out with friends, working out, playing basketball, playing Xbox 360
Career Plans: Opening a business
"Johnson State has helped me figure out what I actually want to do: open my own business, maybe even open a restaurant.
Like a lot of high school students, Justin Reed wasn’t sure what he wanted to do after graduation, let alone with the rest of his life. And his family didn’t have much money left after sending his brother to school. So Justin really didn’t consider college.
But some friends encouraged him to take a look at Johnson State. And now he’s glad he did.
“In high school, I was unmotivated. But now I’m paying for college. It’s all on me, so I’m really motivated,” Justin says.
As a first-generation college student who grew up at the Boys and Girls Club, Justin understands the importance of college to his future. Johnson State has provided him with a sense of direction.
“The only major I really considered was business. I had no prior knowledge of it. I’ve discovered I'm not that bad at it; in fact, I’m pretty good,” Justin says. “I see myself using this degree. Johnson State has helped me figure out what I actually want to do: open my own business, maybe even open a restaurant. I worked in restaurants during high school, and I know people who’ve owned restaurants."
Johnson State’s hands-on business courses and internship requirements let Justin connect textbook material with the real world. In an Organizational Behavior and Management class, the students observed the college’s Financial Aid Office: its organization, culture, management and day-to-day operations.
“The project helped me get into business a little more and understand organizations,” Justin explains. “We observed the office and incorporated those observations into what we had studied in class. I was thinking about my own business, and how organizational issues would affect my employees. You really apply what you’ve learned.”
He also likes learning from faculty who have already owned successful businesses. “[Retired professor] Reed Fisher was my managerial accounting teacher. He talked about his business, how he ran it and how he used all these ratios and formulas to keep it running efficiently,” Justin says.
Johnson State’s location has helped Justin focus on academics. “I like that Johnson is close to home, but it’s out of the city. That helps me focus on my work,” he says. “And it’s a nice campus.”
But Justin doesn't just sit in his dorm room and study all day long. Johnson State has given him new opportunities to get involved in activities he never would have considered in high school.
As a resident assistant, he’s cultivated leadership skills, organizing pick-up basketball games and hikes to get students involved in campus life. He also ended up on the varsity lacrosse team - and he almost seems surprised by how much he likes it.
“They needed some lacrosse players, and I wanted to do something else,” he says. “Lacrosse is something new for me. I hadn't played it before. I picked it up and started learning. It was a good opportunity for me to try something new. I want to contribute a lot more to the team next year.”