Margarita Pavlovič has been on staff at LCC International University, but started her journey at LCC as a Business Administration student. Later she joined the LCC community as an employee in the Career Development Center, and now successfully leads the Student Life department. Apart from being a wife and mother, Margarita is a learner who strongly believes in holistic student development and growth. Having a decade of experience in Higher Education, she discussed what it was like to be a student at LCC back in the 90s, how the student experience has changed over the years, and the perks of being part of the higher-ed industry.
Vice President of Student Life at LCC, Margarita Pavlovič, defines herself as a learner, hungry for knowledge, personal development, and one that constantly is inspired by being in an academic environment. Margarita describes the decision to attend LCC as the Providence of God. There is no logical explanation. “I wanted something fresh and new, futuristic. These three criteria, I associated with LCC at the time,” reflects Margarita. She was impressed by the teaching model at the university, the relationships with the professors, the learning process, and the fascinating discussions with like-minded people. Market economy and marketing courses - these topics seemed futuristic, forward thinking to me and were not what people were discussing and practicing after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Additionally, back in that time, pursuing a degree in a foreign country was not an option. However, Margarita felt that the North American liberal arts education model used by LCC was the perfect fit to build critical thinking and study in an international atmosphere. While Margarita was studying Business Administration, her only option to go abroad and experience life outside Lithuanian borders was with the ‘Work and Travel’ program, paying a big amount of money upfront. But in 1997, Margarita got an opportunity to go abroad for work to pick strawberries in the United Kingdom. “That was our main activity almost every single summer. We would go to different places and pick strawberries and raspberries. It was a great reminder of the actual value of a degree, and made me realize what I wanted to do with my life,” remembers Margarita.
After graduation, Pavlovič started working in the HR sector for Lithuanian Railways. Spending five years in HR she realized there was little room for improvement in her current role, and as a constant learner, she sought for more and found herself leaning in the direction of the education sphere. After receiving a job offer, and going through the hiring process, Margarita became an employee at LCC in 2008, starting in the Career Development Center. At that time, Margarita’s day-to-day tasks included helping students find internships, summer work, communicating with various companies, connecting students with them, expanding the network overall, and organizing various events. She says, “Planning starts with self-discovery. What do I enjoy doing? What are my skills and talents? Am I a math person? A people person? It’s important to know these to help understand career planning.” Apart from being busy working at LCC, Margarita was also pursuing a Master’s degree in Adult Education Management, to build a relevant skill set for her career: career design, lifelong learning, and experiential learning. Spending half a decade in the Career Development Center equipped Margarita with a lot of great skills and experiences, but quickly she was chosen as a VP for Student Life, where she successfully continues creating magic in education. Although her first year as VP was quite difficult, she enjoyed managing a team of like-minded colleagues. Margarita is always on-the-go, almost half of her time is absorbed by meetings, sharing insights with the team, and providing feedback. “I am a liberal leader, who takes in everyone’s opinions. Discussing the direction of LCC, where we see the Student Life division in a year, where it is going. These are important areas to consider in terms of deciding upon the strategy,” she commented. What is Margarita’s favorite part of the job? She mentioned that her team is the most rewarding part. “To have people who are motivated by their work, are always keen to discuss ideas, and address issues - this is the most important thing to me.”
Hard work does not come without challenges. Margarita Pavlovič sees challenges as opportunities for growth. She mentions the pandemic as a huge challenge, difficult psychologically, but she is confident that we came out stronger and learned how to reflect on this particular situation. “It’s the focus on the positives that keeps me going. I try to keep a philosophy that the things you focus on consciously, multiply. Of course there are difficulties, but choosing your own intention and interpretation makes a difference,” says Margarita. Providing support and growth to students can also be a challenge, but the team maintains a mindset of working alongside and supporting them. Supporting the holistic approach in education, she views students not just as students, but as people, taking care of all the areas of student wellness: financial security, social, and academic areas. Reflecting on her thirteen years at LCC, as a student and employee, Margarita witnessed a decade of changes, like the shifts in student mental health, resilience, interests, the way they act, and express opinions.
Apart from work, Margarita is an active learner, constantly led by curiosity, and named studying as her favorite activity. On top of her work, Margarita is a huge health and wellness enthusiast, which led her to pursue another Bachelor’s degree in Health Science. In the future, Margarita would like to be more involved in the health and wellness industry, and look for answers on how people can use nutrition as medicine.