Bennett Writes Next Chapter

Bennett, Gianea

MOUNT OLIVE – Twenty seven year-old Gianea Bennett used to pass by the University of Mount Olive campus and dream. “It was a very beautiful place, but I knew I was too busy working, so I always put it out of my mind,” said Bennett. She eventually got tired of working at a job with few opportunities for promotion. “I knew I needed a college degree to make a better salary and to enrich myself as a human being. When the opportunity arrived, I chose to send an application to University of Mount Olive—the school I dreamed of attending.”

Bennett, a Goldsboro resident, enrolled in the English program at MOC. She worked her way up to a full schedule. “I only signed up for four classes in my first semester. The second semester I took five, the third, six. By then, I had no problem keeping up with everything.” She was further impressed with the College as a full time student. “My professors recognized me, and the small classroom size made it easy for me to get to know my classmates. I felt right at home in no time.”

Bennett knew she wanted to pursue a career in writing; however, she needed to focus on a specific field. “I submitted a short story to the student journal, The Trojan Voices. It was the first time one of my pieces had been selected to be published. This was definitely a dream come true. It helped me realize that I wanted to see more of my work published.” She later found herself serving as editor-in-chief of the student journal. “This was a very enlightening role, difficult, but enlightening. I’m happy that I decided to follow my gut and accept it. I would love to work in the publishing field in the future. I plan on moving to a bigger city where I can find more jobs in the field after I graduate.”

She was offered another role, an internship in the MOC Public Relations Office. “Working in the Public Relations Office has been a very powerful experience. I really enjoyed drafting press releases, interviewing students and writing the weekly column A Student’s Eye View in the Mount Olive Messenger. Also, listening to the different success stories of University of Mount Olive students and alumni has been very inspiring.”

Bennett continued to be an active member of the MOC community by serving as president of the Alpha Epsilon Lambda chapter of Sigma Tau Delta. “In the beginning, I had some doubts about this,” said Bennett. “I felt like I didn’t know what I was in for, but the other members and faculty advisors were extremely helpful and giving with their time. Sigma Tau Delta is one of the best organizations I have ever been a part of, and I just hope I made a good, lasting impression as president.”

She also became a writing coach for the Writing Center at MOC. “I had never tutored anyone before so I didn’t know what to expect. However, once the Center got up and moving, I had no problems at all. The best part of it all was seeing the results of a session. When a student came back with a paper they got an “A” on because they took the time to visit the Center, it made it all worthwhile.”

Bennett will graduate in May. She will become the first person in her immediate family to earn a college degree. “University of Mount Olive has definitely transformed my life. Years ago, I never imagined I’d be contemplating graduate school and moving to another city, but here I am making those plans. The entire experience has made me a better person overall. The friendships I’ve made, the things I’ve learned and the work that I’ve done at MOC will always be a source of strength for me in the future.”

Bennett will join approximately 360 other students at University of Mount Olive’s 59th spring commencement on Saturday, May 4th. Graduation exercises are scheduled for 2:00 p.m. in the George and Annie Dail Kornegay Arena.

University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The College, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Goldsboro, Research Triangle Park, Washington and Jacksonville.  For more information, visit