Over winter break, Christian Jones, a soon-to-be-graduate of the IUP Hospitality Management Department, visited his previous high school’s Family and Consumer
class, Human Development class, and Nutrition classes to speak about his college experience.
Throughout the day, Jones
spoke to a total of six classes varying in grades from freshman to senior. He discussed with students his own maturation and growth from being a self-proclaimed “lazy” student in high school to a focused, dedicated, and hard-working college student-athlete.
“I really believe that higher education is all about finding out who you are and developing that person into the best you can be. Honestly, I didn’t apply myself in high school, but when I got to college I ‘flipped a switch’ and realized to be successful
I had to refocus and reform myself,” stated Jones.
Throughout his presentation and discussion, Jones stressed the importance of developing core values. He shared with the students that his core values were attitude, consistency, optimism, respect, willingness, and teamwork. Jones then transitioned into
sharing how these core values, or whatever core values you decide are important, are how you build your life into the life you want.
“I used the metaphor of a building block pyramid—the top is where you want to be; but, if you don’t have a solid foundation of values and skills, you can never get to the top. A building is only as strong as the foundation you build
it on,” shared Jones with the students.
Jones also said, “Though I believe all the values I shared with the students are important, I really stressed the importance of consistency and willingness. If they choose any of those values, those two should be in their tool box. Consistency is key
to any type of success. Willingness is also important; willingness to succeed, but also to fail. There are going to be times when things don’t work out, and one must adapt.”
When asked if there was anything that surprised him about his visit, Jones responded that he was surprised by their willingness to listen. “You could tell that they were really processing and taking to heart what I had to say. I think that some of this
may be because I am from Laurel Highlands. It wasn’t too long ago that I was sitting in their seats.”
Besides being a student and track and field athlete, Jones is also a certified personal development coach and public speaker. He was certified in summer 2019 through the John Maxwell Team and has been doing coaching calls and coaching
programs since, working with people on an eight-week course to assist them in reaching their potential.
Christian Jones is looking forward to doing more speaking engagements at other local high schools. He has also been invited back to Laurel Highlands High School to speak to the senior class. As of right now, Jones has no immediate
plans after graduating, but is looking forward to the future.
The Department of Hospitality Management is the premier hotel, restaurant, tourism, and special event undergraduate program in the region and the largest program in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The Department of Hospitality Management
is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA).