College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Major: Exploratory Studies
Hometown: Raleigh, NC
Growing up in a family on the move, Olivia Allen always had to find her own ways to call new places home. But that was never easier for her to do than at Butler University.
“One of the biggest reasons for that is my advisor, Jan Ruston. I’m seeing her almost every week now,” Allen says. “When I felt too overwhelmed, I went into her office and said: ‘You’re my mom away from home now. Help me get my life into shape.’”
Originally an Austin, Texas native, Olivia attended high school in North Carolina. An avid swimmer most of her life, she’s now making a splash on Butler’s swim team.
But how can a Division-I athlete who set two school records within her first year on the team feel as if she needs help to get her life into shape?
“I have no idea what I want to do for a career,” Allen says.
And she’s okay with that for now. After turning to resources on campus for guidance, such as Internship and Career Services, or her advisor-mom hybrid Jan, she’s realized that most people around her don’t know what they want to do, either.
Even, or most especially, if they pretend to.
“What I do have now that I didn’t have a year or two ago is a much clearer sense of what I don’t want to do, and I credit the way Butler throws you into different classes for that,” Allen says. “They give you the freedom to explore interests while also introducing you with new ideas in a first-year seminar course, for example.”
So far, it’s working. Her increasing interest in the sciences has inclined her to choose the Healthcare and Business major with a Spanish minor. Between athletics and academics, each day is filled with a new set of demands and challenges.
“My family and teammates keep me grounded by reminding me it’s okay to be uncertain and to fail,” Allen says. “Test scores don’t define me as long as I don’t let everything come crashing down.”
Which means it is time for the analogy that every reader knew was coming: no matter what life throws at her, Olivia, just like Dory, keeps on swimming.