Student Spotlight 2022: Tristan Whipps, USMC

Tell us about yourself.

I am from Eagan, Minnesota, and I served as an infantry foreign security forces advisor in the United States Marine Corps. I always wanted to join the military, but it wasn’t until ISIS showed a presence in my hometown that I joined the infantry as soon as I could. A fun fact about me is that even though I am from Minnesota, I’ve never played hockey or ever really skated. 

What was your educational background prior to attending WSP, and which of our courses did you attend? 

Before attending the humanities and business course at Syracuse University, I didn’t do an ounce of schooling outside of the military.

Why did you decide to participate in WSP this summer, and was there a shift in your confidence level from the first day of the course to the last day?

I wanted to experience the university I planned to attend and find or establish a community before I arrived on campus. On the first day of the course, my confidence was extremely low. I had written 60-page combat orders but had no idea what an academic paper looked like. I knew I could handle the workload but lacked confidence in my writing or academic analytical skills. My confidence on the final day was extremely high. It was a night and day shift from day one to the last days of the course. The professors gave invaluable feedback and genuinely wanted everyone to succeed while empowering us to do so. I knew I could perform at a level that they expected after that.

What were some key insights you gained during your courses, and what is your biggest takeaway?

The power of your network and the insights from professors about what they look for and expect from a student were important. Even getting to know the professors personally gave me the confidence to know that I am bound to succeed in academia. However, the most important thing I learned was knowing where to go for help. It was amazing to find out just how many resources are available, whether it’s for a class, degree path, or career opportunities.

In one word, how would you describe your overall experience?

Foundational. I’m not going to be cliché and say it was life-changing, but what I learned and the connections I made are the foundation I walked into the university with. I was set up for success well before starting classes.

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