Amazing Students

Sydney Guion

Sydney Guion. (Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA)

Hometown: Wilmington, NC

Degree objective: Major: Public Relations; Minors: Sociology, Spanish, Theatre

Expected graduation: May 2022

Other degrees: Not a degree but I take ASL classes as well.

Fun fact about me: I am SCUBA certified and can play six-plus instruments: flute, piccolo, trombone, euphonium, percussion, ukulele.

Current employment: UGA Visitors Center tour leader

How did you decide to come to UGA?
Before coming to UGA I had visited about 20 colleges before starting my college tour process. When I selected the five schools I ended up applying to, based on location and major, I toured them after being accepted. Some of the schools had an energy of “We’re great. You’re great. Let’s be great together.” Which is nice but felt like an exclusive club of some sort. When I toured UGA my senior year of high school I immediately felt this inclusive and inviting energy saying “You’re great, come help make this place better.” And that outreach and encouragement for me to be a part of this school and have a hands-on role of what makes this a truly awesome school let me know that this school was where I was meant to go.

How did you choose your major?
In high school I was really involved in DECA, which is a business and entrepreneurship organization. My freshman year, I made it all the way to international competition and fell in love with it. From that point on I tried many different events and found great success in business services marketing. When it came time to apply to colleges, I looked at jobs and subject areas that matched what I did during my years with DECA. After narrowing it down I saw that public relations was going to be the best way to combine my business experience from DECA with my creativity.

After deciding that, I wanted to keep practicing my Spanish having started learning at 4 years old. I later took a sociology class and fell in love with the subject and added it as a minor. Last but not least, after participating in University Union’s “Rocky Horror Picture Show” as a sophomore my passion for acting was reignited and I added that minor to my collection. Additionally, after discovering there was room in my schedule, I began taking ASL classes as to better understand that culture and learning that language to do my part in making the world more accessible for deaf and hard of hearing people.

What has surprised you about UGA or defied your expectations?
One thing that really surprised me about the University of Georgia is its really healthy work-life balance. When I was in high school and heard about college, I would hear nightmare scenarios of people paying for quizlets with false information, not having anyone to help you study, and the environment being really toxic and unsupportive. After hearing that I was a little worried about whether or not I would be able to find a place to escape that environment. And I did.

Here at UGA the environment is so welcoming and full of students, faculty and staff who want you to succeed and support you along the way. UGA fosters an environment that helps me cultivate my skills in a way I was unsure that I would find in college. I feel supported and empowered here and feel like I am on the track to long-term success.

Undergraduate student and tour leader Sydney Guion leads a group of prospective students and their families around North Campus. (Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA)

What are your top UGA highlights?

  1. The UGA vs. Notre Dame football game. I was up for 21 hours that day and it was an awesome experience. I woke up at 5 a.m. to be out and ready for College Gameday with the Spike Squad. Not only did I get to stay in the Coca-Cola section, but I got to meet Rick Flair and fellow Grady student Maria Taylor. (A clip of me from that day was on the College Gameday intro for the whole season.) Then I got to go to my first ever UGA tailgate (I am usually too busy with Spike Squad duties for that). I also said hi to a family I gave a tour to the day before while in all my spike squad glory. After that I waited for the gates to open and spent the entire game in the front row. I sang with my friends during the halftime show on that faithful 21st night of September. After I got home that night my head hit the pillow at 2 a.m. ending a day I will not soon forget.
  2. My time as a camper at Dawg Camp Discovery was one for the books! As an out-of-state student with a super late orientation time I was really worried that I would struggle to meet people at UGA. But after that amazing weekend I was 100% sure I was in the right place. This experience set me up to do so many fun things at UGA like intramural sports, SGA First Year Programs, and so much more.
  3. Being a UGA tour guide is a really important part of my UGA experience. I feel like this place has done so much for me and getting to share that every day as a tour guide is phenomenal. The day I got the call my now boss offered me the job and I said “really?!” with so much enthusiasm and he calmly replied, “Yes, that would be a mean joke wouldn’t it?” I don’t know what I said after that, but I know my trajectory here at UGA was forever altered by that moment and all the amazing moments I have had with prospective students and their families.

What advice would you give to your younger self (about college/success)?
Overall, I am proud of the decision I made when I was younger, but the one piece of advice I would give myself is to let go of expectations. Anticipation and excitement are all great, but I think we can really limit ourselves by binding our happiness or our goals to a singular expectation. I think instead we should be more open to all the opportunities that can unfold that we could never predict. By clinging to an expectation or a set of them we put on blinders and are closed off to really amazing things that may fall into our laps.

What is your passion and how are you committed to pursuing it?
My passion is creativity. I love creating and sharing art and the process of inspiring and being inspired by others. I am not picky about the art form; the beauty and the connection are what I truly value. I plan on immersing myself in diverse situations and scenarios to find new and inspiring ideas and see the lives of others to better inform my perspective. I want to find creative solutions to problems both in my life and in the lives of others. I want to find creative ways to help people express themselves and be heard.

I plan on committing to this passion by living my life creatively.  I plan on prioritizing the unique desires and dreams I have over what may be “typical” or “conventional” in order to best serve myself and those around me.