Anastasiia Kasianchuk currently works as a Resident Director at LCC for our Karklu Residence Hall. She is an LCC alumna, having graduated from LCC in 2020 with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology. Originally, she is from Zhytomyr, in the mid-west of Ukraine. We invited her to share her insights about her life at LCC through the years.
She first heard about LCC when she was in 7th grade when a representative from LCC made a presentation at her school. Anastasiia shares: “I remember thinking that a North American style university in Europe might be just the place for me, so I left my email address to sign up to receive recruitment materials. Funny enough, I didn't hear from anyone again until January of my senior year.” She admits that much of her success is due to her mother and grandmother playing an important role in her life and pushing her to put much effort to achieve her goals. Her mom was the one to convince her to apply to LCC so she would be closer to home. In her senior year, Anastasiia was an exchange student in the United States and was interested in continuing studies somewhere abroad, as well as emerging herself into other cultures. Apparently, she did not need much convincing to head to LCC, even though she got offers to study from other universities.
Before coming to Klaipėda, Anastasiia met with some Ukrainian LCC students to get a bit more information from actual students. She notes: “The more information I gathered, the more I favored LCC over other schools from which I received admission offers also. I was drawn by the promise of a diverse, but tight-knit community and that promise was fulfilled.”
The first time Anastasiia came to LCC was in 2016 during LCC’s celebration of its 25th Anniversary. She shared how LCC made a great first impression with a grandiose Community Day. “Imagine, besides enjoying the infamous hot dogs, games, and music, also being delighted with a celebratory cake and fireworks during your very first Community Day. You would rightly think LCC is the best university in the world!” Anastasiia was truly impressed with LCC at that point and was looking forward to the rest of the years and even including her graduation. Sadly, Anastasiia and her peers were the first LCC graduates who did not get to enjoy graduation in person due to pandemic restrictions.
After graduating in the Spring of 2020, Anastasiia needed to stay at LCC because of travel restrictions and borders being closed. She then began working as an Assistant Resident Director.
When she was able to go back to Ukraine, she started an internship at the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, which was truly an exciting experience for her. During her internship, she had a chance to deepen her knowledge in policies and issues concerning inclusivity, equality, sustainability, digitalization, and other topics in education, which has since changed her view toward public service.
When asked about the differences she had noticed here at LCC, she notes that it seems that there are more students from a variety of different countries than when she was a freshman in 2016. “We have so many more students from countries that were rarely represented on campus before. It’s great to see students be able to attend LCC with people from their own country to strengthen their cultural identity and to help ease them into this transformational international experience.”
During her time as an LCC student, Anastasiia was a Resident Assistant, a tutor at Student Success Center but also on the Honors List frequently. We asked her to share some tips on managing leadership positions, jobs, and studies. “You have to choose and focus on opportunities that bring you the most fulfillment and challenge you in the areas where you want to grow because you must love what you’re doing even when it’s hard…especially when it’s hard!”
Here are a couple of pieces of Anastasiia’s advice about managing studies and leadership positions for the current students who are or wish to be student leaders. First, look at the situation realistically. Be honest with yourself when your commitments become overwhelming and don’t align with your goals and interests – it’s smarter to back out and redirect your focus than to exhaust your resources on something that doesn’t have value to you. Next, use a planner to set your priorities and personal deadlines before the start of the week. If you have major conflicts in your schedules, discuss potential delays or changes with your professors and mentors ahead of time. You would be surprised at how open everyone is to meeting you halfway and finding a reasonable compromise. Lastly, find a good spot for studying, where you can get in the mode of being productive. It should be separate from places of rest or socialization. Speaking from personal experience, you can be an RA, a writing tutor, a receptionist, attend several events per week, foster many friendships, and still graduate with the highest academic award all at the same time!
For three of her student years at LCC, Anastasiia was a Resident Assistant. Now she is a Resident Director at our LCC Karklu Residence Hall. She admits that there are many more administrative tasks as RD than she knew about while being an RA, yet on the bright side, she enjoys the opportunity to mentor the RAs and the residents at Karklu. She feels grateful for a team that supports, cares, and inspires her.
What Anastasiia likes most about Klaipėda are the sea and the beaches. She feels like the location of the university plays a big part in building the community. “The beautiful beaches, the calm atmosphere, unique places like The Spit - it all helped create a sense of belonging and home for me here at LCC.” In her free time, she likes to go to the beach. She shared that being at the sea is one of her coping mechanisms. “It is at the sight of the boundless sea and at the sound of waves brushing against the shore that I find moments of peace.” While enjoying the beach, Anastasiia marvels at the creation of God. She shares, “Manifesting the majesty of our Lord, it reminds me of my smallness and His power so that my soul can take comfort in knowing He, who can calm every storm, is for me.” She also likes to spend quality time with her close friends, who help her through difficulties she faces. Anastasiia enjoys doing puzzles or working on DIY projects. She also loves to cook. She jokes that when she is cooking and not following the recipe closely, it makes her feel like a chef.
“For LCC’s 30th anniversary I wish them an even more good fortune to continue attracting talented individuals to this institution, from the students to the top staff and faculty. I wish LCC’s future growth to be able to comfortably accommodate more individuals than they already do. Most of all, I wish all at LCC never have to do remote work again, as we begin this transition back to normalcy.”
Pictures are from Anastasiia Kasianchuk's personal archive.