Submitted by Victoria Yarbrough ('20)
How has your education at Cabrini shaped you into who you are today?
I transferred in with a good sense of who I was academically, and then my experiences at Cabrini played a large role in sharpening my emotional intelligence. Cabrini showed me a lot about doing, moving, and speaking from the heart. I’ve done a lot of maturing at Cabrini and am continually honored to have it serve as the gateway to my adulthood.
Why did you choose to transfer to Cabrini?
I remember going to the transfer fair at my community college. I will always tell the story of walking up to the Cabrini table and instantly feeling at home because while other tables were filled with keychains, pamphlets, lollipops, and papers, Cabrini’s table did not have such frills. I will never forget the Cabrini Admissions Counselor, who spoke to me from a real place about how Cabrini educates from the heart. He answered all my questions and would continue to work with me throughout my entire application process. I felt looked after and not thrown to the wolves.
The transfer from community college was seamless. Cabrini accepted all my previous credits and made me feel a part of every step in the process. Transferring can be difficult and scary, so having access to that type of efficiency and support truly sealed the deal for me. I would later come to understand that Cabrini is just like that. I can honestly say that Cabrini strives to put systems in place to help you through nearly anything. Although Cabrini is relatively small compared to most schools, it has the offerings of a really large institution. Every administrative department works hard to help you. I was also attracted to the number of organizations and activities available. When that was paired with the beautiful campus, I knew I was home.
When you enrolled as a transfer student, did you ever envision that you would be the Cabrini Class of 2020 Valedictorian?
Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would be the 2020 Valedictorian! I didn’t even think that I was eligible because I was a transfer student. I was completely stunned when I was invited to apply. It meant so much that someone like me, who did not get to enjoy the many privileges and experiences that come along with attending a university for 4 straight years, was able to come in and soar. That trajectory indicates two things: The first is that it does not matter where or how you start when it comes to this college thing. It’s how you finish. You have the power to control your matriculation; you just have to push. The second is that Cabrini values all stories and does its best to create environments where they can be heard. My experiences at Cabrini, however short, mattered to the university just as much as everyone else's, and that is something I will never forget.
Can you recall and describe Commencement day a little bit -
I am grateful to have had a commencement at all, what with all that went on in 2020! It was unconventional, to say the least, but I was very appreciative of Cabrini’s efforts to have a ceremony despite everything still. Many schools just canceled their commencements and left it at that. People really put their heads together on our behalf.
I was nervous about speaking at first, but once I began, all nervousness just flooded away. I felt so emotionally connected to what I had written that I just let myself become the conduit for my words. I was able to speak from the heart, and I understood that at that moment, not much could go wrong because I was doing just that.
Aside from being Valedictorian, what stands out most to you about your Cabrini experience?
The dedication and passion of the professors and faculty. I appreciated being around professors who deeply loved what they do. I loved learning at Cabrini. I loved the discourse that took place in all my classes. The humanities and social sciences department will forever hold a special space in my heart! I also got to know the faculty and learn how their roles make Cabrini what it is just as much as everyone else’s. I got to be around great examples of adults who truly care about Cabrini’s well-being.
Can you talk a little bit about why you chose to continue your education at Cabrini in the Master of Science in Leadership Program?
It felt natural to continue my education with Cabrini. I loved it so much and knew that I could spend two more years there with ease. The Master of Science in Leadership Program spoke directly to my interests and academic desires. I wanted to be a part of a program that would equip me no matter where I may end up next. The MSL is giving me the tools that will apply to nearly any environment. Being an effective/communicative leader who leads with the heart will forever be useful in a corporate setting or my own personal endeavors. When what I am learning now is paired with all that I have been given during my undergraduate experience, I know that it creates a powerful combination.