A timeless conundrum faced students as they returned to school this fall: Will I join a club or activity? If so, which ones?
Anna Boykis, Class of 2024, is majoring in management information systems and is currently enrolled in the accelerated 4+1 master’s program. Boykis has been involved in many clubs and activities during her time at Temple and is a Diamond Peer Teacher, a Fox Honors Peer Advisor and a member of the Fox Business Honors Student Association. Boykis’ busy schedule comes from a passion for data analytics and a desire to help others.
“If there’s anything I want to do in life, it’s to use technology for a good purpose,” says Boykis. “I want to share that technical skillset and sense of purpose that I’ve been able to develop in a major that I’m passionate about.”
As a member of Temple’s student-run Optimize Consulting Group, Boykis offered IT solutions to local nonprofits in the area. As an intern for LocalMember.Co, Boykis helped create a digital footprint for over a 100 local businesses impacted by COVID.
Beyond assisting nonprofits and local businesses, Boykis mentors several students in her Business Honors Society and the Association for Information Systems (AIS). Boykis has a background in rhythmic gymnastics both as a competitor and as a coach, and has since been able to bring lessons learned on the mat into her advising role.
“What works for Student A might not work for Student B, and you have to adjust for that on the fly and see what people will respond to,” says Boykis. “Without coaching gymnastics, I may have lacked that perspective.”
Boykis credits her discipline and drive in part to various mentors who have made an impact on her life. Often our first mentors are from home, and as a first-generation college student in her family, Boykis expressed deep gratitude for being raised by two hard-working immigrant parents.
“I remember when I was younger my parents taught each other how to code from one of those big textbooks from the local library,” says Boykis. “Now they are both statistical programmers working in the Pharmaceuticals space. My drive comes from them and no matter what I do, I want to make them proud.”
Boykis also credits her gymnastics coach, Natasha, who worked with her to overcome various shortcomings when she was new to the sport, as well as faculty mentors at the Fox School that have taken her under their wing.
“It was such an honor having Professor (Mart) Doyle in my introductory MIS course,” says Boykis. “He guided me through everything from joining a student professional organization to talking me through what my prospective career could look like. I’m incredibly grateful for that and his role in my life as a mentor.”
Mentors are excellent resources for those seeking advice and reassurance in a time of uncertainty. Boykis offers some advice for students interested in joining clubs and activities but aren’t sure where to start.
“People tend to undermine themselves and undervalue their worth, and it makes me so sad,” says Boykis. “I love to help people see their worth and see that their skills are important.”
Boykis encourages students to feel less intimidated by new opportunities or people who appear more composed and active than others.
“It would have been comforting to know that people don’t need to have everything figured out in order to get involved,” says Boykis. “Now that I’m on that side, I’m still me. Even if you have an inkling to get into something, just try it and lead with curiosity. Never suppress that spirit with fear.”
Another piece of advice she offers is to follow your interests, even if they may seem to be outside of your academic path. Boykis has worked as a model outside of school, and has walked for the Project Runway All-Star winner Anthony Williams.
“It was an eye-opening experience,” says Boykis. “Exploring another industry has been exciting. People can have multifaceted interests and still get involved professionally.”
Boykis suggests handwriting notes and making physical lists to avoid forgetting important information. She also adds that filling out digital calendars help to visualize your availability in order to avoid overextending yourself. It is important to consider how overworking can lead to burnout and have negative mental health impacts.
“I’m interested in so many things, so I figure out how to make it work,” says Boykis. “Remember that we’re all humans at the end of the day. Make sure to always leave time for self care, self reflection and relaxation.”