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Her Campus Writer and UCF Majorette: Meet Claire Jennings

HCUCF: Why did you decide to come to UCF?

Claire: When I was a senior, I initially had no interest in UCF. I foolishly listened to the people who told me it was a party school, so I thought I wouldn’t fit in. But later on in my senior year, I visited campus and felt very welcome. Every person I met was kind and helpful, and I fell in love with the atmosphere. Also, UCF has a baton twirling team, which was a huge factor in my decision to come here. Now in my junior year, I feel like UCF is my home and I was meant to come here.


HCUCF: What are you involved in on campus? 

Claire: Most of my involvement comes from the Marching Knights, The Student Union, and Her Campus. The Marching Knights are UCF’s marching band, and I am a majorette. Majorette is an old fashioned term for baton twirler. Baton twirling is a really big part of my life. I started twirling competitively when I was 9. That seems like a long time, but most people start even earlier. For baton twirlers, twirling in college is pretty much the end goal aside from being a coach. I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to twirl for UCF. It’s an entirely different experience than twirling competitively, and I have loved every second of it. The Marching Knights are also an incredible organization rich with tradition, and I would say being in a college band is easily the coolest thing I’ve ever done.

The Student Union is my on-campus home. I’ve been working for the SU for about a year and a half, and I’ve spent almost a year in my current position. Right now I oversee the Information Desk on the first floor, and I help lead the Guest Services team. If you go to the UCF Student Union website and click “contact,” you’ll see my face, which is really weird and awesome. Working for the SU is much more than a job. I feel like I joined a big family when I was hired. I have made so many friends here, and it’s definitely the best job I’ve ever had.

Obviously, I’m also a Her Campus writer! Writing for Her Campus has not only been loads of fun, but it has also really helped me keep a level head while navigating college life. Writing is a big stress reliever for me, and Her Campus has taught me how to channel my thoughts and feelings in a positive way. Writing for Her Campus has also given me a sense of self confidence I never had before. When my first article was published, I didn’t even want people to read it. Now, I love when people read and share my articles. I have found my voice, and it feels great!

HCUCF: How has UCF made you a leader?

Claire: UCF has provided me with endless leadership opportunities. I was in the LEAD Scholars program for two years, which really helped me develop my leadership style. I also got to be a peer mentor for LEAD, which opened even more doors for me. I loved being able to walk side by side with freshman as their support system, and help them avoid some of the mistakes I made my freshman year. I’m a very relationship-oriented leader, so I felt like being a peer mentor was a very valuable learning experience.

When I was a peer mentor, I met some people who worked for the Student Union, and they encouraged me to apply. I’m so glad I did! I spent a semester as a Guest Services Associate, and then I moved to being a Guest Services Supervisor at the Information Desk. I got to interact with so many different people and really develop my communication skills. After a semester as a GSS, I got the job I have now, which is Senior Information Desk Manager. Through this role, I have learned so much about team dynamics, organization, and so much more.

The Marching Knights have also taught me how to be an effective leader, because I have spent the last two years as a Majorette captain! This leadership experience is a lot different than any other leadership role I’ve had. With the majorettes, I work with people in very high-stress situations and often have to improvise. I am also leading my peers, which can be awkward at times. I even wrote an article about it (http://www.hercampus.com/school/ucf/struggles-supervising-your-peers). Being captain has made me more patient and has taught me lots of skills that I think will follow me into other areas of life. I would also love to be a coach when I’m older, so being captain has given me a little glimpse of what that might be like.


HCUCF: What are your goals and aspirations for the future? What are your hobbies?

Claire: Right now I am pursuing a Psychology degree so I can be a Child Life Specialist! It has taken me a few major changes to figure out what’s right for me, but now I am so excited about my future career. I can’t wait to work with children every day. Just thinking about it makes me so happy!

Outside of school, work, twirling, and writing, I mostly like spending time with my friends and family. I love going to new places and trying new restaurants with them. I’m on a traveling kick right now, and I am trying to save some money so I can take road trips with my friends and go on more mini vacations. I also love taking pictures of animals, especially my two adorable doggies. I have about 4,000 photos on my phone right now and it’s safe to assume 3,000 of them are my dogs (Feel free to follow Bentley_and_jolly on Instagram). I love them so much!


HCUCF: Is there anything else we should know about you?

Claire: I am a diehard sloth enthusiast. Like, Kristen Bell level.

I am super short (4’10), but I always feel like I’m the same height as everyone else until I see myself in pictures.

I love baths, candles, and John Mayer. Typical, right? But really, John gets me.

I am happiest with a baton in my hand.  

Jillian James is a senior at the University of Central Florida. She is majoring in Writing and Rhetoric and minoring in Mass Communication (because apparently you can’t minor in Beyoncé studies). Her favorite food is free because she is a college student and the two loves of her life are Ben and Jerry (of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream fame). If she’s not writing or reading she is probably watching The Office or waiting in line at Starbucks. She loves to show off her dance moves in “inappropriate” places like the grocery store. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @Jillianrosej, where she frequently posts things that make people think that she has her life together. 
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