Carter Marks is a junior business management and economics double major from St. Simons Island. This summer he served as an orientation leader—online. From First-Year Programs to Student Alumni Programs, Marks tries to build community at UGA and to above all “find ways to make sure students know that they are not alone, and together, we can … find those blessings in disguise to grow as a student body and institution.”
St. Simons Island
UGA New Student Orientation
Certificate in personal and organizational leadership
I chose to attend UGA because:
Of the community. When I visited the University of Georgia, I had an unofficial tour guide who walked me around campus. On this tour, we walked through North Campus, downtown and took a bus to the Niche on the Health Sciences Campus. The beautiful campus and outstanding food were great, but I distinctly remember walking from the Arch to Tate Student Center. As we walked down the metal stairs beside the Miller Learning Center, my tour guide stopped to say hey to a friend. I do not remember what they talked about, but I do remember that at that moment, I knew why I wanted to attend UGA—the community. It is so easy to see statistics and beautiful buildings, but what sold UGA to me was the people. The seemingly effortless community that I witnessed on that windy January day is what started my journey, and I have never looked back. A scholarship to any other university in the world would not change my mind about UGA. I have come to cherish this university and try to work towards making a difference at UGA. I want to make sure that students who come after me continue to see that community and make UGA the best that it can be.
What is your life philosophy? How do you live life to the fullest?
Everything happens for a reason. When I came to UGA, I thought of college as a way to escape my life story. I wanted to create a new path at UGA, but through my experience with Dawg Camp and numerous other organizations, I have realized the importance of my story and the stories of those around me.
Through the love and support of my community at Georgia, I have grown to know that I am not alone. Through the students, faculty and staff, I am supported in my struggles. I was reminded that I am a person who has the privilege of attending UGA, a person who has finally learned how to unconditionally love others, and a person who is not afraid to be himself.
Before his passing, my father told me that we may never know the blessings in disguise of why things happen, but we have to know that there is a reason behind it. Whether that be in six minutes, six months or six years, we have to believe that there is a reason behind it. I continue to be grateful for the blessings in my life and I am eternally grateful for the friendships and mentorships that I have had in my time at UGA.
I have so much of my story left to write. I now know how important it is to embrace my past, look at what my story is, and what my story will be. UGA has been an overwhelming highlight in my own story. I strive to find ways to make sure students know that they are not alone, and together, we can continue to find those blessings in disguise to grow as a student body and institution. In my personal life, I choose to seek those blessings. Countless coffee chats with friends and mentors allow me to see those blessings and see the community I have come to love at UGA.
Top university highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
When I look back on my experiences thus far at UGA, I could not possibly express how thankful I am for the friends and mentors that have empowered me to make the following highlights possible.
In the summer prior to my first year at UGA, I attended the extended orientation program, Dawg Camp. This first highlight of my collegiate career taught me the power of my story and allowed me to open my eyes to the thousands of opportunities that the University of Georgia provides us. This experience truly set off my collegiate career and led to multiple forms of involvement in my first year, including becoming a Dawg Camp counselor for the following summer. I could not be more grateful for the many powerful students I worked alongside, as well as my supervisor, Kaitlyn Shepard, who taught me the one phrase that I will always carry with me, “You can’t help but love someone once you know their story.”
As I have navigated life as a Bulldawg, I have involved myself in the following organizations:
- The Myers Community Council helped me discover my passion for connecting with students and providing a space for students to feel like they belong.
- Through First-Year Programs, I recognized the power of the student voice. I was a member of the first-year forum and, in my third year, was a peer leader for First-Year Connect.
- Model United Nations. In my third year, I served as the chief of staff for the team.
- Student Alumni Council is a space where student leaders get to cultivate student philanthropy, connect with alumni, and promote university traditions.
- Orientation Leader. In this role, I welcomed the UGA class of 2024 and transfer students to UGA. While the experience was mostly online, it has been so impactful in my life and personal growth.
- Institute for Leadership Advancement. This leadership certificate program allowed me to truly understand myself. Through personal development tests and surveys, I have been able to reflect on my time at UGA and translate those experiences into understanding my strengths, weaknesses and areas for growth.
What was it like being an orientation leader? What did you learn?
I remember sitting in my orientation session as a first-year student, saying, “there is no way I will ever do that.” But later, I was encouraged to apply. While I did not get accepted the first time I applied, I continued to think about the impact that I could make on first-year students, and I decided to apply again the next year. Soon enough, I found myself ringing the Chapel bell for the first time and I will forever remember that day as the happiest I have been at UGA.
One of the most disappointing days of my college career came when I received an email that orientation 2020 would no longer take place in person. This transition to an online orientation experience allowed our team to remember why we were there, for the students. Even though we did not get the experience we had hoped, we were so thankful that it happened at all. This summer taught me that everything happens for a reason, and while we may not see the blessings that come from unfortunate and unexpected situations, we have to believe that they are there.
My favorite things to do on campus are:
- Catch up with a friend I have not seen in a while at Tate Student Center.
- Play pick-up or intramural Ultimate Frisbee (pandemic health restrictions permitting)
- Study in the Terry College of Business
My favorite professor is:
Leah Carmichael. I had the pleasure of taking Advanced Political Simulations as an elective course. While it has nothing to do with my majors (management and economics), it was the most exciting, stimulating and engaging course I have taken at UGA. Every week we had a new topic of debate about various historical and present situations and we were able to act as characters from those topics. I am grateful that I added her class on the last day of add/drop.
My favorite place to study:
I have a rotation of three spaces.
- My all-time favorite is right by the Jittery Joe’s on the second floor of the Miller Learning Center.
- The first floor of the Tate Student Center in the Engagement, Leadership and Service area.
- Casey Commons in the Terry College of Business.
When I have free time, I like to:
- Go to Sandy Creek Park and play a round of disc golf
- Attend a University Union event.
- Play chess. I am definitely not amazing, but the “Queen’s Gambit” got me hooked.
Fun fact about me:
I got Tik Tok famous by accident. I was on Zoom with a student who was skiing during class and instantly became famous when somebody recorded his introduction and I happened to be right above him on the screen.
The craziest thing I’ve done is:
I am a superfan of the band “The Fray.” The Wednesday before a concert, my mother and I bought tickets and each booked a flight to Frisco, Texas, to watch them perform live. Attending this concert was quite spontaneous and also 100% worth it. Yes, we flew 900 miles to hear this band live. And yes, I would do it again.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with:
Issac Slade, lead singer of “The Fray.” I would love to chat with him about the lyrics of their songs.
If I knew I could not fail, I would:
Open a restaurant. I have truly loved working at a local burger restaurant in my hometown, so I would love to open a successful local restaurant.
If money was not a consideration, I would love to:
Go to Germany. I have always wanted to visit Europe, and after taking a few German classes at UGA, I would love to immerse myself in the culture.
What is your passion and how are you committed to pursuing it?
I have a passion for connecting with people. I have learned that I find deep joy in getting to connect with others, so I chose to pursue business to build on that. Post-college, I seek to continue to create a community wherever I go.
After graduation, I plan to:
Intern with Bank of America as an advisor development summer analyst. Ultimately, I hope to pursue a financial advisor career path. I have become passionate about Bank of America due to their continued commitment to support marginalized communities, and their demonstrated values of recognizing the power of their people and intentionality to promote corporate social responsibility throughout the business.
I #CommitTo: growth
I have learned that UGA is a place for growth. After UGA, I commit to continued growth to continue to build on what I have learned at UGA.