USM encourages girls to pursue higher education

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Southern Miss gave a group of young ladies from several area high schools a taste of what higher education life is like. After a tour of the Long Beach campus, the girls said they realized they'd had the wrong idea about what college was like.

"I'm kind of scared to go off to college by myself," Brianna Pinkston of Bay High said. "It seems like a little easier than I really thought it was."

"I guess I thought in my mind that a college class was going to be, like, super scary and crazy and hard," said Annie Neighbors of Long Beach High. "I realized it's not as different as high school classes are. It is harder, but it's still not as terrifying as I thought it would be."

USM's Women and Gender Studies program invited high school juniors and seniors to its "Day At Southern Miss." The girls toured the campus, sat in on classes and met with faculty in hopes that they'll be inspired to continue their education.

"Maybe it's not something that they're interested in so it's about inspiration and also empowerment especially for female students," said Marie Leonard, Coordinator. "We know that for example mentoring is a big part of why female students will go to college and stay in college."

It's also a day to get the girls thinking about career fields.

"I had never thought about being a social worker, but after doing the lecture with the social worker, I really thinking about that," said Neighbors. "I never thought about being a nurse, but I'm thinking about doing that. I don't know what I want to be anymore. It's not in a bad way, it's in a good way."

This was USM's third year to hold the event.

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