Khrystal Condon is the college’s new first-year academic advisor. Before she joined the Office of Student Success in February 2016, Khrystal worked as a learning specialist at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis. She also served as a programs coordinator, residence hall director and program assistant for the Center for Teaching and Learning at Lawrence. She studied animal science at University of Wisconsin – River Falls and received a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Study from Iowa State University.
What made you decide to get into this field? Is there one specific moment that inspired your career path?
“During the summer between my junior and senior year in my undergraduate program, I made the decision to stop pursuing graduate school for large animal veterinary medicine and instead pursued graduate work in higher education.”
“I remember the moment – I was taking an evening walk with my mom and telling her how I no longer enjoyed the competitiveness of vet school and that I really loved helping my peers in college. She asked me if I could help college students as my job and that is the moment I realized it was a possibility. I then applied to higher education graduate programs and chose Iowa State University’s M.Ed. program.”
Why did you choose to work at Oregon State/PHHS?
“I am very passionate about the opportunities that a large, public, heavily research-based institution can provide to ALL students. I firmly believe in OSU’s and the college’s mission. I have worked at public and private universities and honestly feel that public universities like OSU provide more students with an equitable and accessible education.”
“PHHS’s Vision 2025 has really become crucial in my work as an academic advisor. Of the outcomes outlined in Vision 2025, I am fondest of working to foster a culture of caring, compassion, balance and happiness. I feel that these forces have really shaped my personal life and I feel that it is something that I can do in my meetings with students and stakeholders across campus.”
What is your favorite part about working in the Office of Student Success so far?
“The people. Everyone in this office is fun to be around! We have really difficult situations that we work to resolve each and every day and I feel that we are very supportive of each other in this process. There is a palpable, positive energy in this office. We are deeply committed to helping students succeed.”
What do you believe is the greatest accomplishment you’ve had in your career so far?
“I am a proud first-generation college student who grew up in a rural, southwestern Wisconsin community on 40 acres with no cell reception and maybe just one television channel if we were lucky! Neither of my parents have a college education, but might be the smartest people I will ever know. We raised horses and beef cattle and I grew up knowing more about animals and the woods than I did about anything else. If you would have asked me 15 years ago today where I would have been, I would have told you: A large animal vet – somewhere in the backwoods of Wisconsin – probably preg-checking a Holstein cow.”
“My life has completely changed. I believe my greatest accomplishment in my career and in my life has been an ability to remain resilient and open to transition and change. I hope I can instill resiliency and an openness to change in the people I work with every day.”
How do you strive to change people’s lives with your work?
“Even though I only have 30 minutes or less with the students I meet with, I try to make sure they know I care about them – as the person they truly embody. Looking back, the people who made the greatest impact on my life were the people who I knew genuinely cared about the real me. They didn’t have to be my friend but they needed to care about who I was and what I wanted to do. Those were the people who made the greatest impact on my life. They were also the people who sometimes told me things I didn’t want to hear.”
What is the best advice you ever received, and who gave it?
“I’ve received a lot of good – and bad – advice over the years. I think the best advice I have received was and remains: Slow down, Khrystal. I am a doer and a thinker and my brain never really turns off so it is easy to bury myself in work and thought. I’ve started making myself step back from opportunities be it work, new projects, etc. and take more time to do nothing. It sounds strange, but it has been immensely rewarding. I enjoy my life more, feel much less stressed out and am a happier person. I hope more people think about slowing down in their work and thinking, as it can be a beneficial process. I’m not recommending laziness – I’m recommending a happy balance between work and rest.”
What advice would you like to give to students and young alums?
“Take care of yourself – physically and emotionally. No one else can do this for you. Seeking out a counselor was the best decision I ever made for myself. There were parts of me that felt ashamed that I couldn’t manage my mental health on my own. I’m glad I didn’t listen to those parts and sought out help when I needed it. Life will throw you curve balls and loop-de-loops. Make sure you are prepared by seeking out the support you deserve.”
What is one surprising thing about you that not many people know?
“I have a horse that I have owned since I was 10 years old. I stacked hay and drove a tractor all summer to earn him. His name is Tanner. He travelled to Oregon with me. We are inseparable – but he is not allowed to come to work with me.”
What are your favorite activities outside of work?
“The list is long. My activity of choice is trail riding with my horse. I also love hiking, camping, biking, swimming, fishing, playing tenor sax, crafting, reading, wine tasting and eating at yummy restaurants.”