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Jayven Brandt

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Forming lifelong friendships through unique campus involvement.

Jayven Brandt came to Nebraska with a passion for music and soon discovered his dream to be an educator.
– Jayven Brandt –

I’ve been singing since I was in the fifth grade. Music has always been a core aspect of my personality, and it’s key for my mental health as well. My time in the Glenn Korff School of Music as a music education major helped me discover that I wanted to pursue teaching. I was interested in studying social justice, the social sciences and why people act the way they do. I switched my major to secondary social science education and added three minors—music, history and coaching. My college journey has had a lot of twists and turns, but I know that I’m on the right path.

Through his involvement on campus, Jayven has found a deep sense of belonging at Nebraska.

Campus size was one thing that drew me to Nebraska. I wanted a bigger university that provided the opportunity to meet new people every day. Coming into college, I didn’t have much of a social life or a consistent friend group. I knew that in order to build a supportive community, I needed to be willing to dive in headfirst. The first step was to introduce myself. I had to show the authentic me and let myself be vulnerable, which allowed me to develop and maintain true, special connections. I was intentional with my time and found people who were in a similar boat as me—super involved with busy schedules—but also willing to put in the effort to build a friendship. Through my involvement on campus, I’ve been able to form an inner circle of people I consider my family.

At the start of my freshman year, I got my foot in the door by auditioning for University Singers, the flagship music ensemble on campus. Then sophomore year came, and I hit the ground running. I became a resident assistant, which led to tons of opportunities for me to get involved on campus. I was an orientation leader for New Student Enrollment and peer mentor for the Office of Academic Success and Intercultural Services (OASIS). Currently, I’m employed as an academic assistant for the athletics department.

Jayven built a network of friends and mentors and made some unexpected connections along the way.
Jayven with network of friends

My partner during my resident assistant training course is now one of my best friends. The vice president of my choir is basically a family member to me, and he’s thousands of miles across the world teaching in Morocco right now. It’s amazing how these connections I’ve made are so random and unexpected yet so strong. I instantly clicked with Katie Kodad, the former program coordinator for OASIS. There’s so much we have in common; we have similar backgrounds, we were studying in the same program and we’re both outgoing people. I could go to her for anything, personal or professional. She’s provided so much wisdom that I’ll be able to take with me throughout my life.

The activities that I’m involved in have given me a purpose here on campus. Academics will always come first, but being involved has offered the chance for me to make an impact. I can’t imagine a world where I just get up and go to class and then go home. That’s not what college is to me. I’ve connected with people from so many different networks—from student government and advisory boards to the performing arts and even Greek life. I now see tons of familiar faces when I’m walking across campus.

“I knew that in order to build a supportive community, I needed to be willing to dive in headfirst.”

— Jayven Brandt

Jayven looks forward to making an impact as an educator and being a source of support for his future students.

I think my identity as a Black, pansexual educator makes me a key advocator for students. I have the opportunity to be a source of outspoken support for students who may not have many role models who look like them or relate to them. Growing up, I never had a teacher who was Black, let alone a Black woman. Then I came to college and took a journalism course taught by Trina Creighton, who is just amazing in her field. That was one of the most motivational moments for me.

I’ve always loved collaborating with people; taking individual ideas and combining them to create something cohesive. It sounds cheesy, but to me, that’s what college is truly about—utilizing diverse perspectives to make something unique. That’s what motivated me to be a teacher. It takes a certain level of self-discipline to be an educator, and I think all the leadership roles that I’ve held on campus have helped prepared me for that future. I’ve learned a lot about accountability and developing autonomy.

Brant with Herbie HuskerBrant in front of architecture hallBrant behind city union
As he reflects on his time at Nebraska, Jayven has some words of advice for incoming Huskers.

Your college experience is a lump of clay, and it will become what you make of it. The easiest way to make memories is to get involved. Put yourself out there and put yourself first. If you feel lost, I guarantee that it will not last forever.