Elise Michaux never considered college when she was in high school. She considered it far-fetched considering she wasn’t the best at school.
However, Michaux, now the director of student leadership and involvement at Seton Hill University, never gave up.
Starting in high school, Michaux believed it was about having fun and doing your own thing. President of student council, her class and the Girls Athletic Club, Michaux decided to give college a try after her Senior English teacher told her that she will attend college because she is smart.
Michaux attended a college fair and saw a Slippery Rock pennant that caught her eye.
“Slippery Rock, I just thought that name was cool,” Michaux said.
Wanting the pennant, Michaux returned back to the table to learn more about the university. Intrigued, she applied to Slippery Rock and currently has the pennant hanging in her office.
Michaux knew that she had obstacles to overcome in college. She was close to academic probation and decided to declare a major in Secondary English Education.
Similar to her involvement in high school, Michaux was part of the Student Government Association, University Program Board and a FYRST Peer mentor.
“When I first stepped on [Slippery Rock’s] campus, I knew I was home,” Michaux said.
Not sure what she wanted to do, Michaux said that her friends saw her leadership skills before she saw them in herself.
However, Michaux came to realize that she loved helping students acclimate to the college experience and that she loved Slippery Rock.
Senior year of college, Michaux realized she didn’t want to pursue Secondary English Education as her Masters, and changed to study student affairs in higher education, which led her to her success today.
“When you find yourself discouraged, no matter what you face, you have what it takes to overcome,” Michaux said.
To encourage herself and others, Michaux posts inspirational quotes on her Instagram @elise.michaux.
During her talk to students and faculty, Michaux had the audience engage in a meditation type practice to imagine their end goals and how they plan to get there.
Dubbing herself “the encourager” in 2019, Michaux encouraged the students to believe in themselves and what they have, joking that she is kind of “adulting” and that her parents were in the audience as a safety measure.
Receiving a laugh from the crowd and an overjoyed reaction from her parents, Michaux expressed how difficulties prepare those for what’s next.
What’s next for Michaux is her doctorate, she hopes.
“Believe in yourself and what you have,” Michaux said.
Graduating Slippery Rock in 2013 with the skills she obtained, Michaux knew that she wanted to be speaker someday, telling God that is what she wanted.
In the summer of 2019, Michaux spoke at Duquesne University and West Virginia University at the Folks of Colored Leadership Summit.
Michaux’s dream is to get the chance to do a TED Talk.
“I am living proof, no matter what it looks like, keep fighting the good fight,” Michaux said.
Wanting to spread that encouragement and message, Michaux tells her students that what they are now and what they feel is unique to them.
“[It’s] part of their purpose, their magic,” Michaux said.
Working almost five years at Seton Hill University, Michaux had the opportunity to watch students grow up in front of her.
“It’s very rewarding,” Michaux said. “I don’t have any kids, but I feel like I have a lot.”
Michaux said that your journey is unique to yourself. Encouraging others to try things outside of their comfort zone and to make mistakes, just as she did.
However, Michaux now loves her line of work, and staying true to her website tagline, has “a unique take on the ordinary.”