Bulldog Blog

News and Views from the University of Redlands

Seeking an education beyond the classroom

Collin O'Connor stands in Hunsaker Plaza.
Business administration major Collin O'Connor '22 has been a student employee in three departments—Admissions, Event Services, and Alumni and Community Relations—which has fueled his interest in working in higher education. (Photo by Coco McKown '04, '10)

As a business administration student at the University of Redlands, Collin O’Connor knows that diversifying an investment portfolio makes business sense. But he has taken this approach one step further and has applied it to his life on the Redlands campus, where he has held a variety of positions in the Office of Admissions, Event Services, and Alumni and Community Relations.

“My involvement on campus has a lot to do with the jobs I’ve had here,” he says. “What I’ve gained is an interest in working in higher education. I want to give back to the University.”

As an Admissions Bulldog Ambassador, O’Connor leads prospective students on campus tours. As an Event Services student employee, he has witnessed what goes on behind the scenes to prepare a location for a guest speaker, reception, or student organization. Working as an office assistant for Alumni and Community Relations, he greets visitors and completes various administrative tasks.

Additionally, he gets to apply his growing business knowledge in different ways to each position. O’Connor chose the business administration major because he felt it would provide the most opportunities after college while enabling him to establish a network of connections. During a recent organizational consulting class, he worked with Alumni and Community Relations to figure out how the office could increase interactions with young alumni.

Being a student employee has been one of the highlights of O’Connors’s time on campus. He credits his colleagues, saying they’ve given him an education that couldn’t have come from a textbook. “At any college, you expect to have good relationships with faculty, but not every school has great staff members and administration,” he says. “I know I can go in, sit down with them, and ask them for advice. There’s a real student-first mentality.”

O’Connors’s advisor, Professor Scott Randolph, has been instrumental to his professional pursuits, guiding him through the process of finding jobs, making connections, and fine-tuning his resume. Randolph’s door is always open, and O’Connor says this is typical of Redlands faculty members—they respond to emails on the weekends and make sure students have a place to go over holiday breaks.

This sense of community has enabled O’Connor to build a support group that consists of professors, staff members, and fellow students. His activities in the Kappa Sigma Sigma fraternity and the Maroon and Grey Student Ambassadors have led to meetings with alumni and members of the Board of Trustees.

Striking a balance between academics, work, and social engagements is something O’Connor has had to learn how to do. “From all of this, I’ve learned how important time management is and that I’m able to juggle a lot more than I initially thought. As a result, I know I can be a leader; I can step into different roles and balance my responsibilities while still having a great college experience.”

O’Connor has a feeling this skill will serve him well in his future. The son of two school principals, O’Connor knows that education is valuable and feels Redlands has helped prepare him for what’s to come—whether that’s a career in business, education, or technology.

“I’ve learned that when the road turns, I need to turn with it,” he says. “As much as money drives things, I know that it doesn’t buy happiness, and I’m comfortable with that. Education is the best investment, and I feel secure in knowing that a Redlands degree will take me places.”

Learn more about studying business administration or planning your event at the U of R.