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Meet Abby Sheitlin

There is no simple phrase to describe Abby Scheitlin. Yes, she is a fourth year dance student, but that doesn’t say enough—not nearly enough. Describing Scheitlin gets complicated, beginning with her major. In addition to dance, she is also obtaining an option in science. It doesn’t stop there either, as Scheitlin plans to earn minors both in chemistry and biology, with a major in dance by the time she leaves The Beach. Her ultimate educational goal is medical school—once she sees where dance takes her.

Scheitlin entered CSULB with great credentials. In high school, she was a brilliant student and a member of the precision dance team. When asked if she played an instrument as well as danced, she said she plays the piano—oh, and she gave piano lessons to youngsters during high school. When she graduated as a class valedictorian, she applied for CSULB’s President’s Scholars Program. She was not accepted as a President’s Scholar, but she fell in love with The Beach and auditioned and was accepted into the award-winning dance program.

At The Beach, Scheitlin is active with many dance performances and the endless hours of practice that implies. Not content to be just an intelligent student in a time-consuming major, Scheitlin is now in her third year as a resident assistant (RA) in the campus residence halls. To appreciate the commitment, one must understand that an RA must be available to her/his residents 24/7 for all sorts of situations—ranging from the frivolous to the very serious. They have required office hours, rounds to make, a “student family” to get to know and care about, detailed projects to plan and orchestrate and an entire staff of RA compatriots to assist as necessary. Being an RA requires time, energy and a large emotional reserve. According to one definition, an RA has to be caring, patient, knowledgeable, capable of thinking on her/his feet and making good decisions, a person who doesn’t take slights personally, a good listener and a person who is excellent with time management. By all accounts Scheitlin is a great RA, but two questions come to mind, “Why do this job, and does she have time for a life?”

Abby Scheitlin
Abby Scheitlin

To answer these questions, Scheitlin is exactly the right type of person to be an RA. She is all about helping people. She wants to be a doctor so she can help people, or as she says, “We’re here on earth to help people, what other reason would there be?” She also says she definitely has a life—she has lots of friends and a loving family. Dance is for her soul and her RA experience has made her grow as a person.

Scheitlin recently began volunteer work at St. Mary’s Medical Center. She said, “This is to dabble a little into the medical field to see how that might fit later into my life.” More probably, it is part of her time management strategy. She said,“Give me one thing to do, it might get done; but give me a dozen things to do and they all get done.” She proves daily the old adage, if you want something to get done, give it to a busy person. —Olin is director of Housing and Residential Life.