The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

‘I started college and right away, I didn’t have my mom’

First-gen student double majoring with plan to receive MBA in next five years
Britney Mitsules posing for a headshot.

Coming to college from the West Side, Britney Mitsules, senior marketing and management information systems double major, hoped she would have time to adjust to her new surroundings and figure out exactly what she wanted to study as a first-generation college student. But life immediately threw her a curveball.

On the first Friday of her freshman year, her mom died and completely changed her college experience.

“I started college and right away, I didn’t have my mom,” Mitsules said. “That was kind of the first big curveball and that led to a bunch of other things. I was like, ‘How am I going to pay for college now? How am I going to do this?’ I’m a first-gen student. How do I even navigate this?”

She had to overcome several new obstacles while being alone, as she knew very few people in Pullman at the time. She said she kept busy and told herself to push forward and make her mom proud.

She also found Carson’s Expanding Diverse Group Experiences program, which aims to help first-generation students with low socioeconomic backgrounds in their pursuit of a degree. Mitsules said EDGE awarded her with a $3,000-a-year scholarship for tuition, helping with one of the questions she asked herself after her mom’s death.

Stacey Smith-Colon, Carson EDGE program founding director and Mitsules’ advisor, has seen her dedication. She said Mitsules consistently goes above and beyond to find opportunities and take charge of her learning.

“What has impressed me most about Britney is her extraordinary resilience and sheer determination,” Smith-Colon said. “Britney has faced what I would say was much more than her fair share of adversity during her college years and she has met those challenges with courage, grace and hard work.”

Another avenue she dedicated her time to came from Greek Row. Rushing Alpha Chi Omega, she went from knowing a few faces here and there to having a large group of new potential friends.

“[Sorority life] has shaped me with having that band of sisters,” Mitsules said. “Going into this big school and not really knowing anyone [was scary] but then you go through recruitment and you get into a house. Automatically it’s like, ‘Holy cow. There are 60 girls who can be my potential friend.’”

With the sororities she talked to during rush week knowing about the situation with her mom, Mitsules said she felt respect during the recruitment process, so much so that they quickly bonded after she joined Alpha Chi Omega.

Now, she lives with six of her sorority sisters, and the group has stuck together for the better part of the last four years.

“It was pretty cool to have that type of family,” she said.

After originally wanting to pursue nursing, then history, Mitsules landed on something in Carson College as she had a natural interest in business. She said she quickly fell in love with marketing as she believes it is the most important piece of the business puzzle.

While at WSU, she has gotten several internships, including an on-campus internship with CDW-G where she worked with the University on specific information technology problems. While she enjoyed her time working in that internship, it was more related to sales than her interest in marketing.

Her most recent internship was a summer internship with PACCAR Parts as a product marketing intern in Renton, for which she worked on three separate projects, created marketing material for truck parts, designed and built a dashboard and produced documentation for a product launch.

“That was everything I wanted and more,” Mitsules said. “It was perfect. It was an awesome job.”

She said she is incredibly grateful for all the internship opportunities she has gotten, but with each accomplishment and acceptance, she is taken back to her freshman year.

“It’s a bittersweet moment: you get this awesome opportunity, but it’s like, ‘Oh, I can’t tell Mom,’” Mitsules said. “This whole journey has been pretty bittersweet. Everything has been awesome and I feel like I’ve worked really hard to get where I am now. But it’s also just unfortunate that I can’t be able to tell her everything that has happened.”

Ready to continue making her mom proud, she is graduating in May as a double major and hitting the ground running. She said she plans to work for a few years before returning to school to complete her Master of Business Administration.

Mitsules said she plans to stay in Washington after her graduation to get her foot in the door professionally. Eventually, she hopes to leave the state and get a change of scenery, hopefully somewhere warmer like Texas.

No matter what she does, Stacey-Colon said she has full confidence the senior will give it her all and find success where she lands.

“There is no doubt that Britney works hard at whatever she puts her mind to, but what has stood out to me most about her involvement is that she is very intentional about where she applies her time and energy,” Smith-Colon said. “Britney has chosen her commitments very carefully. To this end, she has dedicated her time and effort to things that matter to her and where her talents can also benefit others. This is one of the many reasons I believe Britney has succeeded.”

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About the Contributor
BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor
Brandon Willman is a junior multimedia journalism student from Vancouver, Washington. He started working as a sportswriter for the Daily Evergreen in Fall 2022 and worked as copy editor in spring 2023. Brandon was elected to be the Editor-in-chief starting in summer 2023 and served in the position from May 2023 to February 2024 before transitioning to the role of multimedia editor. He enjoys watching sports, backpacking, and watching horror movies.

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  • Dennis WalshMar 7, 2024 at 4:45 pm

    Awesome piece on Britney! Love it!