Try a little bit of everything: Auburn sophomore's advice to fellow students
When she stepped on Auburn University’s campus for the first time as a student, Eufaula native Georgia Mock didn’t know what to expect.
She was an accomplished leader in high school, serving as an Alabama Girls State delegate, Student Government Association senior class secretary, Distributive Education Clubs of America chapter president and was even inducted into the Eufaula High School Hall of Fame. Despite these experiences, she was unsure about what college life on the Plains would entail.
“Auburn was so big compared to what I thought I wanted,” Mock said. “I really had to step out of my comfort zone, and it was something I was kind of scared to do, but I also encourage students to at least try.”
Mock started getting involved early in her college career, joining the first-year advisory group, Freshman Forum, within a few months after arriving on campus.
“I got selected to be on Forum within the first two or three months of being at Auburn, and I was really excited about it,” Mock said. “I didn’t know what to expect. It ended up being a wonderful experience.”
While serving on Freshman Forum, Mock represented her fellow freshmen, gathering feedback about various issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on students’ mental health. She and roughly 40 other members of Freshman Forum each represented between 100-200 students.
Mock—the recipient of the Fearless and True Scholarship, All Auburn Leadership Scholarship and Susan Delony Memorial Endowed Scholarship—didn’t stop with Freshman Forum. By the end of 2020, she was elected to be the director of internal communications for Auburn’s Student Government Association, or SGA.
“Through things like SGA, Greek life and other activities, I met some of the best people who made Auburn feel like home,” Mock explained.
After one short year at Auburn, Mock feels like she has found a crucial key to help bring success to her and other students.
“The best thing I ever did, and what I would encourage every student coming into Auburn to do, is to get involved in every way possible,” said Mock, who also works part time for the Auburn Alumni Association. “I had so many opportunities presented to me, even through COVID and things like that. I would just encourage anybody, even if it may not be something you know that much about or you don't know many people joining it, give it a try, apply. You never know what's going to happen.”
She realizes it might not be the easiest task for everyone, but it was an important step in her college career.
“Everybody's in the same boat,” she said. “Everybody's a little nervous about coming and trying to meet people. So, I would just really encourage, if anything, people to just get out there, get involved, introduce yourself to people. Get to know your professors and just really be personal with everybody that you meet.”
Getting involved in campus organizations didn’t just help Mock find new opportunities, but it also helped her make some great friends. That effort included Mock joining the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority.
“I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in Greek life, and I met a girl on day one and hit it off. We’ve been best friends ever since,” Mock said. “Then, her roommate actually ended up being another one of my best friends. Coming back to Eufaula for the summer, it’s weird being without them every day, but they’re people who were meant to be in my life from the start and hopefully they'll be there until we finish.”
A new home, a new family
Auburn was not originally part of the plan for Mock, who initially intended to attend Troy University. Coming from the small town of Eufaula, she figured Troy would be a nice fit with its similar small-town feel and its proximity to home.
“I even had a roommate—I had a dorm booked and everything before I was about to go [to Troy],” Mock said.
Mock made up her mind and was ready to start her college career at Troy, but one day, her mother, Jennifer, suggested she visit Auburn, “just to make sure.” That trip to campus proved to be well worth it and changed everything for Mock.
“I just knew when I went, Auburn was where I was supposed to be,” said Mock, whose maternal grandmother, Eve Simpkins, and father, Duane Mock, are Auburn alumni. “It was just like a feeling, you know?
“Everybody tells you, ‘You just kind of know,’ but when I stepped on campus, I told my dad, ‘I don’t want to go to Troy anymore.’ It was a very last-minute decision, but it ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve made so far in my life.” One year into her college experience, Mock said she already feels that sense of family that so many speak about at Auburn.
“To be a part of the Auburn Family really just means community to me,” she said. “No matter what you’re doing, no matter if it’s SGA, Greek life or whatever it is—somebody at Auburn is going to know you and they’re always going to have your back.”
She added that, “The professors, the other students, the people that you meet all want you to succeed. You have people who make you feel at home.”
Finding her passion
Just as her decision to come to Auburn wasn’t her initial choice, neither was her major—pre-speech, language and hearing sciences in the College of Liberal Arts.
“It was not something I always wanted to do. I would be lying if I said I did,” Mock said. “I came in doing marketing and thought about physical therapy for a while, and then I ended up observing a speech pathologist and changed my major. It was actually right when I got back from shadowing.”
Spending time with the speech pathologist reminded Mock of her first steps on Auburn’s campus—she just knew it was what she should be doing.
“It is a big ask of an 18-year-old to tell you what they want to do for the rest of their life and stick with that through four years of finding their own identity outside of their hometown,” Mock said. “I thought I knew what major I would stick with and ended up exploring my options and finding the career path that was the best fit for me and my personality.”
Mock said she has now started making plans for the rest of her time at Auburn and post-grad. This fall, she will be taking classes to help her to learn about audiology and building relationships with patients.
Next May, Mock intends on applying to the pre-speech, language and hearing undergraduate program, but her plans don’t stop there.
“I’m hopefully going to get my master’s, because I think it's really important nowadays to have those credentials,” Mock said. “I really would like to work in a hospital setting, or even work in the school system. I want to just try it out that way and take it day by day.”