Transfer student Max Mauney urges students to make the most of their Ole Miss experience
Max Mauney, of Oxford, grew up loving two things: tennis and the University of Mississippi. He always pictured himself as an Ole Miss student – watching football games, walking across the Grove and joining a fraternity – but when he was recruited to play tennis at Meridian Community College, Mauney decided to take it.
“I went to Meridian following an opportunity and a passion, but in the back of my mind, I always knew Ole Miss was where I belonged,” said Mauney, a biochemistry major. “I wanted to return to the place I loved.”
He expected to come home to a familiar Oxford and just reenter his home community.
But his definition of community changed once he was on campus, where he was greeted by new faces, cultures and passions that challenged and widened his perspective.
“Ole Miss turned into its own little community that I never expected,” Mauney said. “Growing up here and going to school here is not what people would expect. It feels like two different towns.”
Mauney found his semester quickly filling with numerous activities, clubs, events and people. He could not get enough.
“From the start of my first semester here, I had a longing to get involved,” Mauney said. “I knew I would only be here two years, so I wanted to maximize my time and do as much as I could to gain different experiences and meet different people.”
Then came spring 2020, Mauney’s second semester at Ole Miss and the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was really hard for me when COVID hit and school was basically cancelled,” Mauney said. “I was sad that my Ole Miss experience was going to be cut even shorter than it already was. I knew I had to make it work, though.”
Mauney made up for lost time at the start of his senior year, diving deeper into opportunities to be involved. He became a member of Student Alumni Council, Who’s Who and Phi Beta Kappa honor society and volunteered with the Big Event.
He began working on his thesis for the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and felt as though he was back on track to making the most of his time at Ole Miss.
Having a hand in so many different groups and activities on campus exposed Mauney to a wide network of students and alumni who helped guide and encourage him.
“I have met a group of incredibly diverse people here,” Mauney said. “Every organization I am a part of has led me to meet some amazing students and alumni who have taken time to listen and helped me in my studies and my career path.”
Mauney believes the interconnectedness and people’s willingness to help is what makes the university so special. His transition into campus life could not have gone more smoothly.
One person with a particular influence in Mauney’s college career is Ken Thomas, associate dean for capstone at the Honors College.
“Max is very well-rounded and very grounded,” said Thomas, who helped set Mauney up with a research group for his thesis, which looked at the opioid crisis through the lens of biochemistry.
“He is curious about all opportunities and has a strong work ethic to follow things through to completion. His love for Ole Miss and his involvement is obvious.”
Mauney’s time at Ole Miss will always be defined by the relationships and experience he gained through making the most of his two years.
“Do not take your time here for granted,” he said. “I want everyone at Ole Miss to have the encouragement to stay involved that I did. I would not be in the position I am in today – applying to medical school and graduating with honors – if it weren’t for my peers, professors and activities.”
Story by Kathryn Albritton/College of Liberal Arts