Meet Bethany Sloniker a School of Journalism and Strategic Communications graduate and new secretary to the unit. In this blog, Bethany talks about her Ball State journey from student to staff member and how she makes the most of her life as a young professional.

Could you share the personal journey that led you to become a Ball State staff member?

I just couldn’t get enough of Ball State! When I was a little girl, I knew Ball State was going to be my 2nd home. I came to school to go into teaching, hoping to be a teacher. But then I found that the School of Journalism and Strategic Communication was hiring a front desk worker. I’m still working in a school, and I’m enjoying my journey.

Any personal stories you’d like to share from your time at Ball State?

On my first day of college, Monday, August 22, 2017, there was a rare solar eclipse, spanning 14 states, including Muncie, IN. I was running a bit late to my ENG 103 class in the Robert Bell building, and I remember the weather being hot that day. The eclipse was starting at the same time my English class was, so everyone stopped what they were doing, came outside, and was standing outside staring at the sky. I went into Robert Bell all sweaty but everyone was gone, including my class and instructor. I didn’t know what my professor looked like, but I was too embarrassed to ask people “Are you Dr. Turnbull? Are you Dr. Turnbull?” Then, a lady offered her eclipse glasses (these special glasses that allow you to stare at the sun, they look like 3D glasses) to me which was really nice, and I got to witness the moon pass in front of the sun. The lady turned out to be Dr. Turnbull, my English professor, and she said, “We’ll go over syllabi at our next class meeting, we’re witnessing history today.”

Ball StateHow do you like to spend your free time?

In my free time, I like to spend time with my young cats, Rocko and Gizmo, they love being outdoors. I also enjoy making crafts, including sewing, florals, cross-stitching, and other DIYs. I love listening to and sharing music, as well as going to concerts with my friends. There’s something about singing loudly and jumping around that gives me a sense of happiness. I have quite a few plants around my home, including succulents, cacti, monsteras, and wandering tradescantia zebrina plants, and they are all thriving. I like to visit my parents and younger siblings – my family is really cool and fun to visit with. I also enjoy watching movies and playing video games, including Nintendo, Playstation, and Xbox.

What has been the proudest moment in your academic career so far?

The proudest moment in my academic career would be finishing my student teaching. I student taught at Grissom Elementary, Muncie, IN, in 1st grade. When you student teach, you go during the school day, every day, just like a normal educator would. I learned more from those students than the students probably learned from me.

How did you get involved at Ball State?

I was a BSU Cardinal from Fall 2017 to Spring 2021, Class of ’21, and majored in Elementary Education with a concentration in Language Arts. I was a commuter, living at home with my parents for my first 3 years. My drive was 30 mins long! For all 4 years of my school career, I was involved in the Ball State University Pride of Mid-America Marching Band. I played the baritone and was also section leader for 2 years, and on the POMA social media team for 3 years. I was also a member of the co-ed fraternity Kappa Kappa Psi, the National Honorary Band Service Fraternity. We did a lot of volunteer service projects for the BSU Bands. I took part in the Ball State Cardinal Pep Band, playing at home basketball games and occasionally traveling with the teams. I was also a 21st-Century Scholar student, and I’m so thankful for the scholarships I received to complete college.

If you could talk to your freshman self, what advice would you give?

First, pay attention to where the buses are going! You don’t want to get on the wrong bus and be late for your class. Second, go to BSU events! The majority of the time, you’ll get free swag everywhere you go. Third, don’t forget to charge your laptop every night! You don’t want a dying computer in class. Also, try to print your work out ahead of your class time, so you’re not scrambling to a printer. Fourth, if you’re commuting, try to pack snacks in your backpack so you’re not spending little amounts of money throughout the year! Fifth, try to be extra nice to the BSU employees, and they’ll serve you well. You get what you give. Finally, make lots of friends by joining a club or a group! I had 200+ friends when I was in the marching band, and we made lots of memories. Think of a hobby you like and join. All clubs are welcoming and it’s never too late to join a club or organization.

Did you have a favorite place on campus?

My favorite place on campus is the Quad. Being out and walking through the trees is so relaxing. I like to take walks and visit Benny, listening to the quieter part of campus. My favorite place to get food is Woodworth Dining, they have a nacho bowl that just hits the spot every time.

Can you share one thing that people don’t typically know about you?

My favorite Animal Crossing character is Roald (the blue penguin), my favorite Pokemon is Snorlax, and my favorite Stardew Valley character and animal is Shane and the sheep.

What advice would you give to current students about life after graduation?

Once you graduate, you don’t want to wait to get a start on your career. Start job searching during your last semester, so you’re ready to work right out of school. I also want to recognize that after graduation, life can get a little sad because you might move away from Muncie and some of your best friends have moved far to start their lives. You might want to try staying connected to the things that BSU has brought you by staying in contact with your people, visiting Muncie for athletic or alumni events, and also finding hobbies you enjoy to keep an adventurous life. Lastly, save save save! I didn’t realize how important retirement is until I graduated, so saving that money will change everything!

Any parting words of wisdom?

Do the best you can do, be humble, and it’s okay to do things for yourself. You’ll have to step out of your comfort zone after graduation, but everything will be alright.

Interested in an experience like Bethany’s? Check out the Ball State Alumni Association.

Want to share your story? Feel free to submit it using our story submission form.