Gantt Thomas: the Opportunity to Learn Via Experience
“I was looking for schools to transfer to and I saw a billboard,” states Brunswick, Ga., native Gantt Thomas.
Thomas was a student at the College of Coastal Georgia when he felt the need to branch out. After seeing a billboard sporting a lovely mix of orange and blue, he did some research and found that Clayton State University was a perfect fit for him. After getting rejected on his first application attempt, Thomas appealed and was accepted as a transfer student in fall 2012.
“I always wanted a college experience that allowed me the opportunity to learn via experience. I’ve also strongly desired to see what opportunities were available and use them to expand my possibilities,” comments Thomas. And boy did he take advantage of Clayton State!
Thomas was offered a job almost immediately upon his arrival in Morrow. He is still in his position as Social Media Student Assistant in the External Relations Division. He is also the Lead Resident Assistant for Laker Hall with the Department of Housing and Residence Life, and a Peer Learning Intern for Professor of Film and Media Studies Dr. Virginia Bonner.
“Ciji Fox has been a huge encouragement to me. She and John Shiffert have been a source of inspiration in ways that I’m sure they don’t even notice,” proclaims Thomas. “But working in Housing and Residence Life has probably been the most impactful department where I’ve worked.”
His love for housing shows in the numerous awards he’s won in the department. He received the honor of RA of the Year for 2013-2014 and won the Resident Engagement Award and the “MVP” award. He also took the opportunity to present at the annual Georgia Resident Assistant Seminar in 2014 with fellow coworkers Shyilik Adams and Sara Diggins.
But Thomas doesn’t just shine in Student Affairs; he excels in his academics as well.
“Although it’s always challenging, taking classes with Dr. Virginia Bonner has offered a wealth of knowledge I hadn’t gained before coming to Clayton State,” comments Thomas.
He states that working as an intern has taught him many things including when to know he’s taken on too much responsibility. He explains that he is thankful for the opportunity since it has allowed him to polish his public speaking skills and interpersonal communication.
“It’s allowed me to grow up in a sense and take ownership of my own successes and failures,” explains Thomas.
Planning to graduate in fall 2015, Thomas feels sad to see his time with Clayton State coming to a close.
“I’ve learned lessons that I couldn’t have continued my life journey without. This has undoubtedly been the most terrifyingly beautiful experience in my life to date,” he expresses, “I’m glad I saw that billboard and decided to follow my gut.”