Fairmont native and chemistry major, Olivia Billings ’19, embraces the power of positivity.
Goodnight Scholars Program: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Olivia Billings: I am from Fairmont, North Carolina where I graduated from Fairmont High School. My immediate family is pretty small. Growing up, my older sister and I did everything together since we’re only a year and six days apart. For the majority of our lives we were joined at the hip, so once we started college, I took it upon myself to make sure we went to different schools. It started off as a little joke, but now I feel like that was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Not only has it forced me to be more responsible, but I have so many more opportunities and avenues for success that I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have gotten at Chapel Hill; the biggest and most important being a part of the Goodnight Scholars Program. Currently, I am majoring in chemistry.
How would you describe your experience in the Goodnight Scholars Program?
I absolutely love the Goodnight Scholars Program. I’ve always been more of a lone wolf when my sister wasn’t around. I do almost everything by myself and most of the time I’m okay with that, but it’s nice to have a small community of people that I can interact and connect with on a regular basis. This Program has offered me a lot of opportunities to step outside of my very comfortable comfort zone. Being able to sit in the same room as trailblazers and innovators has really inspired me to want to do more and be more. I spent almost my entire freshman year closed off from the rest of the campus, but the events and activities within the Program have given me the confidence to start branching out into other campus organizations during my sophomore year.
“Being able to sit in the same room as trailblazers and innovators has really inspired me to want to do more and be more.”
What does being a Goodnight Scholar mean to you?
To me, being a Goodnight Scholar is like being a sponge. You’re surrounded by so much wisdom, knowledge, and positivity that it’s almost impossible not to soak it up. Once you’re saturated with all that greatness, you can’t help but pass it on to everyone and everything you come in contact with. I feel that the staff sees so much potential within me that I sometimes can’t see in myself, but they continue to invest and pour into me, and I know that one day I’ll be able to do the same for someone else.
What will the next few years look like for you?
After graduating, I aspire to one day become a pharmacist and have a family of my own. I want to create programs for the kids in my hometown that promote positivity and emotional and educational support. I want to give them hope for their future and show them that someone actually does care about their well-being and wants them to succeed.
What advice would give to a new or prospective Goodnight Scholars about being involved at NC State and the Goodnight Scholars Program?
That it’s okay not to know or understand, but it’s not okay to act like you do. A lesson that I had to learn the hard way is that pride comes before a fall. There are plenty of people ready and willing to help, to make sure that you’re adjusting well and have all the resources you need to succeed. There is no need for you to feel like you can or should figure it all out on your own. I would also recommend to take advantage of as many opportunities as you can, whether they are educational or extracurricular, because a lot of opportunities are once in a lifetime experiences.