What’s almost as scary as spooky season? College. Finding your niche and getting comfortable on campus takes time. Luckily, Ivy Tech Fort Wayne has a lot of extracurricular organizations ready to welcome you.

Harshman Hall, room 1630, serves as a ‘safe space’ for students, and it’s where you’ll find Perception is Perfection (PiP), a student organization led by Criminal Justice major Erik Mihavics.

“We will work with students so they can become leaders,” says Mihavics, PiP’s president. “We will find peoples’ strengths and make them better.”

What is PiP?

Mihavics first learned about the organization after speaking with Meg Yoquelet, the director of Disability Support Services (DSS). She and the Assistant Director of DSS, Kelsey Bickel, oversee the group. It’s an organization open to everyone that’s designed to promote social and cultural appreciation, understanding, and inclusivity for individuals with disabilities on campus and in the community.

“I joined because one of the things PiP does is that it takes the label ‘disability’ and squashes it,” says Mihavics. “I love that because I hate the label.”

Joining a PiP meeting, you’re surrounded by students of different backgrounds and majors ready to help you get through whatever challenges you’re facing or celebrate the wins in your life. That extra layer of encouragement is a big reason why General Studies major Kayleah Saylor became a member.

“I was homeschooled my whole life, and I wanted to have support to help navigate it all [college] with my hearing loss,” Saylor says. “I also wanted to help support my peers on their journey.” 

How does PiP help the campus and community?

While members greatly benefit from the friendships they form, each meeting is dedicated to discussing how they can spread the sense of belonging throughout Ivy Tech and Fort Wayne. The mission is to make sure everyone understands that their ideas matter and belong.

“PiP is floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee,” says Meghan Jansen, an Early Childhood Education major.

The organization offers so many opportunities to network, volunteer, and grow both personally and professionally, and members hope to inspire PiP to start on other college campuses as it gains momentum.

We will work with students so they can become leaders. We will find peoples’ strengths and make them better.

– Erik Mihavics | Perception is Perfection (PiP) President

The benefits of PiP are great—just take it from the members. In their own words, they share their experiences:

What are your favorite memories from PiP?

Saylor: “I have always had a ton of fun at our parties and events. As for a favorite memory, I think our disability awareness event we had in March is one of my favorites. It happened to be my birthday, and we all had fun teaching others about disabilities that people experience.”

Jansen: “My first favorite memory is when we went to Ivy Tech Warsaw. We were doing a Mario Kart competition before spring break; it was a blast! My second favorite memory is when we did the Treat Yourself Day where we watched Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle, had pizza and drinks, and played UNO!”

What would you say to someone who might be interested in joining PiP?

Mihavics: “I would advise them to join because we support each other, help each other when we are struggling, and we have a bunch of fun as a reward after studying, homework, and exams.”

Saylor: “I would say it's worth trying it out. This club has been a major support system for me, and I have gotten to meet some of my closest friends through PiP.”

What have you learned or taken away from being a part of PiP?

Mihavics: “I learned about how important it is to make sure you are surrounded with the right people.”

Saylor: “Just keep trying. Keep working. No matter what, you can get through whatever is coming your way and bogging you down. The only way to get through college, no matter what stage of life you are in, is through perseverance.”

Jansen: “What I would say is a big takeaway for me is how close we are and how much we care and support each other. Sometimes we celebrate or make certain PiP members feel better or welcome.”

PiP welcomes students from all walks of life, embracing unique cultural and identity perspectives. As Yoquelet puts it, “You want to join because no matter who you are, you belong.”

If you’re looking to promote inclusion and champion human rights, PiP is the organization for you. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, November 2 at 3 p.m. in Harshman Hall, room 1630. Can’t make it in person? There’s also the option to attend virtually. Meetings are held every other Thursday.

Learn more about PiP by visiting the organization’s page on IvyLife. You can also contact Meg Yoquelet at myoquelet@ivytech.edu or visit the DSS office.

This club has been a major support system for me, and I have gotten to meet some of my closest friends through PiP.

– Kayleah Saylor | Perception is Perfection (PiP) Member

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.