Out-of-State Shockers: Andruw Hoopes

Abby Otten, Nataleigh Holguin and Andruw Hoopes.Matt Crow/Undergraduate Admissions
Shockers Abby Otten, Nataleigh Holguin and Andruw Hoopes during a Discover Wichita State event in Tulsa, Oklahoma.


I grew up near the small no stoplight town of Garber, Oklahoma which has a population of around eight hundred (or much to my surprise close to the capacity of Shocker Hall). My high school class consisted of about 25 students, and I wouldn’t change my experiences for anything. College wasn’t a given in my hometown so when I had to start my college search process, to say it was overwhelming was an understatement.

I first visited Wichita State in the fall of 2019 during my senior year of high school and from the second I set foot on campus I knew I could be successful here. I had toured a number of other universities, so when the time came to make my decision I did what I knew best to do, make a pros and cons list. Every university I was considering had something to offer so naturally I was faced with a choice. Do I make the safe choice and go to a university that would have a number of recognizable faces and was only 45 minutes from home or do I take the chance and go out of state to a university that is slightly farther away, and let me tell you my choice was the best decision that I could have made. 

Attending Wichita State would set off a chain of amazing opportunities, allow me to meet incredible people, and most of all get a world-class education. First and foremost on the minds of many students, particularly those coming from a smaller school, are what were classes like. Simply stated, it was an adjustment, but college is for growth and development.

I was cautious about entering into student organizations at first, but I found my home at the Office of Admissions. I began volunteering for the Student Ambassador Society, an organization focused on making the college search process as simple as possible for prospective students. I realized that I really enjoyed the admissions work and began working as a Shocker Navigator giving campus tours to those same types of students I had been working with in the Student Ambassador Society.

My first year was not without the typical fears of an out-of-state student, whether it was homesickness, questioning the decision to go out of state, or just plain boredom. I can assure you that I had all of those feelings and more, but deep down I knew that I had made the right decision and I could not wait to be back in Wichita after my first year on campus.

My second year at Wichita State was when my involvement exploded. I became a senator for the Student Government Association, advocating for students on campus, eventually working my way up to become a committee chairman and the Chief of Staff for the entire Student Government Association. I joined one of our Interfraternity Council (IFC) fraternities, Farmhouse, and took advantage of every possible opportunity that arose out of that. I also went on to be a founding member of a few clubs. Getting involved was never a challenge and I was able to continue giving campus tours a few times a week and balance all of that with my class schedule and an occasional visit back home to Oklahoma.

Andruw Hoopes with Ron Estes, U.S. representative for the 4th congressional district of Kansas.Photo courtesy of Andruw Hoopes
Andruw Hoopes with Ron Estes, U.S. representative for the 4th congressional district of Kansas.


My third year at Wichita State saw me continuing in my degree path, continuing my involvement in student organizations and even took me away to Washington D.C. through the Political Science Department internship program where I worked for a member of Congress in his Washington D.C. office answering constituent calls, writing memos, and perhaps my favorite task using my skills that I had developed as a Shocker Navigator - giving tours of the United States Capitol. 

Now, as I sit here finishing this blog post, I can’t help but wonder how my life would have been different had I not taken the chance, moved to a new state, gotten involved, and worked on a degree in areas that I was passionate about. Not to say that no challenges existed, but all of these opportunities were open to me from making one simple choice, and as I think of my future after graduation I will think fondly of my time at Wichita State and the memories, opportunities, and education that it has provided me. 


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