JMU News

Willing to listen

JMU senior offers to lend an ear to those who need it

by Janet Smith


SUMMARY: Allison Wilkin, a senior sport and recreation management major, volunteers to be a sounding board for JMU students who are still finding their way on the college scene.

Allison Wilkin knows the ungrounded feeling that often comes when someone is new on campus. Add to that feeling the uncharted uncertainty that accompanies a global pandemic, and you’ve got quite a stew of emotions.

Rather than bemoan the situation, Wilkin, a senior sport and recreation management major, decided to volunteer as a sounding board for JMU students, particularly freshmen and sophomores, who are still finding their way on the college scene. Posting on the JMU Parents Facebook account, Wilkin wrote: “I’m a fifth year who will be graduating in December. If your duke is struggling with the transition online, being away from home, feeling like they don’t fit in, etc please message me! I would love to be there to listen and support them where I can.”

Wilkin, a Woodstock, Virginia, native who transferred from Lord Fairfax Community College, said that while she believed the university was the right fit for her, it took a while to find her place at JMU. At one point, she even questioned her decision to enroll at the university.

An opportunity to be the manager for Club Baseball made all the difference in her satisfaction at JMU. Building on her interest in baseball—she was a summer intern with the Clover Hill Bucks of the Rockingham County Baseball League—Wilkin found her niche.

“Staying at JMU was the best decision I’ve made,” Wilkin said.

Now she wants to help other students by simply listening, and when appropriate, sharing her experience with them. “We’re all so young, and trying to figure out the world ourselves while people that we look up to are also trying to figure out the world in COVID. I just wanted to make sure people here knew I hear you, I see you, I am you and I’m here for you,” Wilkin said.

So far, one student has contacted Wilkin as a result of her post. Parents have applauded Wilkin’s generosity with more than 600 “likes” and many comments.

“We will all get through this,” Wilkin wrote in her post to JMU parents. “Support, kindness, and understanding are extremely important during these times.”

How are you showing support, kindness and understanding these days? We would love to hear your stories! Email

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Published: Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Last Updated: Thursday, October 15, 2020

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