Brandywine Student Spotlight: Emily Suda

Emily Suda smiling

Emily Suda

Credit: Penn State

Year: First

Major: Human Development and Family Studies

Involvement: Manager, Brandywine Hype Squad

Brandywine: What was your deciding factor in coming to Penn State Brandywine?

Suda: My sister, Natalie Suda (third-year psychology major), inspired me to attend Brandywine when she gave me a campus tour. It really helped me make the decision fast because I was able to see Brandywine from her perspective.

Brandywine: How did you choose your major?

Suda: When I was at New Student Orientation in June, I remember someone going over the different majors and talking about the human development and family studies major. Since I’m interested in learning about why people act the way they do and why they have certain mannerisms, I thought the major was a good fit for me. It fits all the criteria of what I was looking for.

Brandywine: What challenges have you faced at Brandywine, if any?

Suda: I have faced many challenges since attending Penn State, such as environmental changes, friendships coming and going, and learning when it's time to ask for help from professors and other students as well. As the semester progresses, I’m learning to adapt and overcome these challenges.

Brandywine: Who at Brandywine has supported you, and how?

Suda: Elizabeth Parrett, the student disability resources coordinator, has been helping me juggle my accommodations and find what I need to have a good balance. Natalie has helped coach me with balancing my priorities. My friend group has worked with me and given me the best advice for friendships and classwork. All my professors have been supportive by just having faith in me and encouraging me to do my best. The dance captains on the Hype Squad have been very supportive as well by helping me feel involved in any way possible.

Brandywine: What made you interested in joining the Brandywine Hype Squad? What do you enjoy most about it?

Suda: I learned about the Hype Squad through the Student Involvement Fair in August. While walking around, I heard someone say, “No tumbling needed,” and it instantly caught my attention. I wrote down my contact information and went to the first practice to see if it was something I’d be interested in.

I love cheering for Penn State. I’ve learned a lot being on the Hype Squad, too. I didn’t know anything about volleyball until I went to cheer at a volleyball game. I was recently promoted to manager of the team to help the students make sure they’re prepared for games. I really loved how they were so welcoming.

Brandywine: As a first-year student, how have you been adjusting to college life?

Suda: Adjusting to college life has been a challenge as I’m learning to be more independent. I was assigned to a paraprofessional from sixth through 10th grade because I have epilepsy; I was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was six years old. It’s been a struggle, but I’ve been able to get through it with medicine changes and hospital visits here and there, and my family has been there throughout the whole journey. I still struggle with it today, and that's why I needed a little extra help. I want others out there on campus to know it is okay to ask for help if you need it. Don’t be scared. It’s okay to be different and stand out from the crowd.

Brandywine: With your involvement at Brandywine, how has your time on campus been impacted?

Suda: I’ve learned that time is key when it comes to Brandywine. You have to use it wisely or it will just run out, and then you won't have the time. I love socializing with my friends and stuff, but I think it’s very important that if you balance friends and doing work at the same time, you can get two things done at once.

At the end of the day, the only opinions that matter are from the people who are there to support you through your journey no matter what struggles you deal with.

—Emily Suda , first-year human development and family studies student, Penn State Brandywine

Brandywine: What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned at Brandywine?

Suda: The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is to never let anyone bring you down because it’s not worth the time or energy. If they have nothing nice to say, then that's their opinion. At the end of the day, the only opinions that matter are from the people who are there to support you through your journey no matter what struggles you deal with.