By Jabrea Jones
Apr 8, 2020
Toni Lumsey is used to change. Throughout her life, she’s moved to nine different schools and because of it, she’s learned about perseverance and staying open-minded. Through it all, Lumsey has stayed true to herself by finding her interests and fostering them by joining organizations that would help her to develop and indulge in activities related to them. In the following interview, she shares how she became interested in majoring in human resources and her experiences in social and academic organizations at Indiana State.
How did you become interested in your major? What do you hope to do with your degree?
LUMSEY: Okay, so it’s really funny. I became interested in my major because I love the show The Office, and they were always mean to the HR person and I was like ‘what?’ So, I began to look at all kinds of majors within an office realm and I thought HR had a big role in companies, so I was like maybe I could do that. And then I started to like making training programs, I like the workplace balance, and the organizational development and since I’ve been in my major and getting involved, I feel like it really fits me—helping employees.
What advice would you give to underclassmen in your major?
LUMSEY: For underclassmen in my major, I would definitely say to pay attention in classes, take notes, and buy the books. You’re going to need them later in life, even though they’re very expensive right now. Buy them, highlight in them, use them, because every book that we’ve used in this major is very important and you actually will end up reading it all.
How involved are you on campus? What are your roles on campus?
LUMSEY: I would say I’m heavily involved on campus. I’m always busy, I can’t catch my breath half the time, literally. I’m everywhere in every building. I served as a Blue Team Leader for two years. I’ve been on the Welcome Team, I’m a tour guide on campus. I’m also an ambassador for the Marketing Department and I’m the Vice President of my sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
What’s the hardest thing about your major and being involved in so many activities?
LUMSEY: I would say the hardest thing about my major is being able to keep up with all the concepts that we have. In the HR realm, there’s so many places that you could use an HR degree. Being able to go through all those things and being able to recognize what the problem is, the needs gaps, analyses, and then trying to help employees. There’s a lot going into it. The hardest thing about being involved in so many activities is time management and finding time to catch your breath! You must remember to take personal time for yourself and there is such a thing as too involved.
Tell me about your sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. What’s it like being in a sorority? Do you hold a position? If so, what are your responsibilities?
LUMSEY: As far as responsibilities, first, I am the programming chair so all of our events like during our Skee Week, which is a week where we do an event almost every day and all our programs throughout the year like national holidays, I help the president plan and execute all of the events and special impact days. I really like it. At first, I didn’t see myself in a sorority ever, and then when I came to college, I didn’t even know what NPHC was or real sororities, I’d only seen them on TV. So, when I came here, I was like, ‘Mm, you know, I see them, they look good. Let me try to see who they are.” Then I got interested in them and started doing a lot of service, doing well in classes. And finally, it was last semester that I got the opportunity to join my sorority.
Does Alpha Kappa Alpha have a rush week?
LUMSEY: That is more for the Panhellenic sororities; we do things a lot differently. We do hold informationals for those who think they might be interested in becoming members.
What advice would you give to those looking to join a sorority?
LUMSEY: For anyone who’s interested in any sorority, I would say do your research first, save your money, succeed in the classroom and then go out and serve your community. Don’t just say you are going to or don’t just do it for a couple hours, really find somewhere that you like to volunteer and commit to it.
What opportunities has your sorority given you (personal and professional)?
LUMSEY: As far as professional, I get the opportunity to meet women in my sorority that are developed professionally in their careers as well as in their family setting. Recently we had one of our sorority members come back and talk to us about budgeting and finances, and that has helped me build myself professionally. As for personally, all the members who have joined the sorority before me have mentored me and just have helped me build myself into a better person in all aspects. There was a lot of mentorship, and we were all taken in with open arms, they showed us the way into their sisterhood.