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Fontbonne University

Andrew – Leaving Home for the First Time

by Fontbonne University on October 10, 2008

in Academics,Campus Community,Organizations, Activities & Events

The last few weeks of summer were particularly emotionally charged, to say in the least. Friendships that had been growing since grade school, middle school, high school, and even for just that summer now had to face the difficult challenge of saying good-bye. It was a tough time for all of us in my circle of friends, but for myself, it was more difficult than most. For while most of my friends were going out to state schools, only a few hours away at most, I faced a thirteen-hour drive out to my new school, my new future: Fontbonne University. Yes, unlike some 99% of the rest of this school, I’m not quite ‘local’. I came all the way out from Rochester, New York (which is like NYC, except 6 hours west and roughly 40 times smaller, so it’s not like NYC at all) just to attend this little liberal arts college of some 2,000 students.

The first question most people around campus ask me when they find out I’m so far from home is “how did you end up out here?” My standard reply is “it was an accident”, but my decision to come to Fontbonne was in no way accidental. My train of thought for selecting Fontbonne started with my junior year of high school, before even hearing about this school, when I took an introductory course on Advertising and fell in love with the business and the art form behind it. Having a major in mind helped my college search immensely, especially considering that most colleges around the nation only offered “business in marketing” or “graphic design”. But I had it set in my head that somewhere, somewhere, someone had to have the good idea to combine these two concepts into a single major that I could study.

Fontbonne came to me when some long-time friends of my family who happen to live right off of Clayton road mentioned a little school nearby that, if memory served them correctly, may have what I was looking for. I had visited St. Louis several times before and figured it couldn’t hurt to take a visit, so the summer of my junior year, I flew right over the Arch and into the discovery I had been hoping for. When I arrived at Fontbonne for my first time, I was given a tour by Michelle Palumbo, my admissions counselor.

What sold me, however, was when Michelle broke out the syllabus for the Advertising major. I couldn’t have been happier with what I saw: classes in business/marketing and graphic design! Finally, someone got it right!

My decision came down, after a while, to Fontbonne University, roughly 13 hours of driving away from home, and Syracuse University’s New House program, roughly one hour of driving. I choose Fontbonne for the following reasons; first, I decided I preferred the small campus. I would later confirm this on a visit home, where I would stop at the University at Buffalo, a campus with approximately 27,000 students. While there, I was so totally overwhelmed; I felt like I was trying to navigate a city, rather than a campus. It was a metropolitan area rather than an academic environment. I was eager to return back to Fontbonne, where I could cross the campus in five minutes at a slow stroll and run in to at least five people I knew. Secondly, not only is Fontbonne warmer socially, but it’s just warmer physically, too! Every now and then I’ll check Weather.com and laugh at the twenty degree difference between here and my home in New York. And finally, I simply preferred Fontbonne’s outlook towards its students. Here, I feel in every class as though I matter, as though my professors are individuals who dedicate themselves towards helping me achieve personal success. This is a feeling I could never get in a lecture hall of 300 kids!

I know I made the right choice in selecting little Fontbonne University. Beyond loving the campus, the people, and the education I receive here, I’m also in love with the city that holds this campus: St. Louis. Its rich history fascinates me still, and I’m still taking delight in experiencing the new sights, sounds, and tastes of the Gateway City. Sometimes, I get overwhelmed just trying to figure out how I’ll ever manage to experience all this city has to offer! Of course, then I recall that I’ll have at least four years here, and maybe if I plan well enough, I’ll manage to fit everything in during that time frame. Even though Fontbonne may be dwarfed compared to St. Louis, both hold immense opportunities that I fully plan to take advantage of.

Adapting to this new school was no problem. I’ve always thought people of the mid-west were in general friendlier than north-eastern folks, and so far I’d say that’s held true. I got involved in a variety of extracurricular activities — cross country/track, the Fontbonne Music Club, the Fontbonne University College Democrats, and the Dedicated Semester Events — and through this I’ve met a plethora of exciting people who have made me feel both welcomed and accepted.
Now half-way in to the first semester, I couldn’t be happier. Everything is running smoothly for me; my schedule works out, my classes are amazing, I even picked up a second major (in sociology)! I work hard, and my hard work is repaid with the feeling of success. Sure, there are times I miss my friends from my home of old; but at the same time I’m having such a great time making new friends in what I now call my home: Fontbonne University. 

You can also check out Fontbonne’s Majors, our Dedicated Semester, Advertising, Student Organizations and Sociology

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachael October 10, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Thanks for the information…I bookmarked your site, and I appreciate your time and effort to make your blog a success!

Ntombi October 23, 2008 at 12:13 pm

I can relate to what your saying Andrew I have uncounted similar experiences as a South African varsity freshman. You happen to reflect most of the staff I’ve been through; there seems to be a link of thought. I also happen to travel a 13 hour drive from Rhodes University to home, just like you from Fontbonne University to New York. I’m in one of the smallest varsities in SA; I went to Rhodes for a specific course; and you did the same when you choose your varsity. Wow I’m blown away by the fact that you’re making new friends and I finding it easy to adjust and call Fontbonne University your new home away from home. This is just how I feel about Rhodes University and it inspires me to know that there are some first years around the globe sharing the same experiences as me.
I too have been blogging about first year challenges and experiences check it out on gspotinformer.

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Students writing for Real Life at Fontbonne are paid a small fee for each post by the university.