Ten Things I’m Thankful for

Thanksgiving is just one week away!  It’s probably my second- or third-favorite holiday; I can’t decide between it and Easter.  Anyway, now is a great time of the year to count your blessings, so to speak.  I know it’s nearly the end of the semester, you’re probably exhausted, and you’re looking forward to some time with family…but in these busy moments, I think it’s especially important to look at yourself with a positive outlook.  In a world of negativity and brokenness, we, Fontbonne as a community, can spread some counter-feelings of optimism, respect, and encouragement.  And what’s a great way to start on that track?  Look inward, outward, and all around you, and see what’s good in your life.  I’d like to encourage you to make a list of your own in the next few weeks; maybe it would be appropriate for in between studying for finals…a nice way to take a breath, relax, and appreciate everything a little more fully.  It can be as short and simple as you like!

So here’s my “top 10” list of things I’m thankful for, in no particular order, by the way!

  1. Fontbonne:  I love the faculty, staff, my fellow students, the opportunities to pursue one’s passion and “serve the dear neighbor”, and the entire atmosphere in general.  Even on days when I’m really tired and just not feeling too upbeat, my mood ends up brightening by being on campus, going to class, and knowing I’m surrounded by wonderful, supportive people.
  2. My family & friends:  My parents, brother, godparents, and other friends (young and old) bring me so much joy.  They’re patient, kind, loving, encouraging, funny, and genuinely interested in hearing about the latest topic or subject I’ve covered in class.  I may not have a huge social web, but the relationships I have with my relatives and companions are deep and permanent.
  3. My horses:  Dear, sweet little Pearl-baby and Blondie-girl, who have been so cooperative and easygoing about my lack of time for them since school started.  They’re happy to just be groomed, petted, hugged, loved on, and told how much they mean to me.  Owning a horse is so much more than riding; in fact, it’s really quite irrelevant to me.  I think it’s way more important to have a strong relationship, built on trust and respect, than a surface level “hop on and ride off into the sunset” sort of thing.
  4. Good health:  I’m grateful for the ability to exercise every day and not be compromised in any way by injuries or illnesses.  My first semester at Fontbonne is nearly over, and I have not gotten so much as a sneeze, which I’m pretty proud of…especially considering how little sleep I’ve recently been getting!
  5. Freedom:  I’m thankful for all of the men and women who have served or are currently serving in our military, protecting and preserving my rights.  I’m really glad for my, your, and everyone else’s ability to voice their opinions and beliefs.  Now more than ever, we need to ensure this right does not get lost or suppressed for anyone; but even more importantly, we need to be civil and respectful when speaking with someone who may hold a different set of beliefs.
  6. Faith:  This ties into #5 above (freedom).  Every Sunday morning, I can go to church with my family to experience communion and fellowship with other believers.  I can be refreshed for the coming week, forgiven of my sins, receive the Lord’s Supper, and encouraged to live a life of grace and love.  My right to worship is not infringed upon, and for that I am appreciative.
  7. Sunrises & sunsets:  For all the darkness and gloom surrounding winter, you have to admit we have some of the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets.  Colors of red, orange, golden, blue, pink, purple, and more set the sky on fire and always make me hopeful for the day ahead.  In that quiet stillness, there is peace to be found.
  8. Home sweet home:  I have a roof over my head, heat and air-conditioning for all seasons, abundant clothing, running water, electricity, Internet service, and so many other creature comforts.  We take these for granted far too much.  Remember that there are millions of people all around the world who do not and may never experience these everyday conveniences.
  9. Food:  Once again, just how many people do you think do not have access to quality food and water like we do?  I’m not trying to shame you for enjoying the bountiful feast your mom or grandma prepares for Thanksgiving…I think it’s one of the best times to come together as a family for fellowship and yummy goodness.  But maybe after that final piece of pumpkin pie, consider volunteering for a food pantry or donating to a charity that seeks to improve the lives of people who aren’t in the same fortunate position we are.
  10. The Future:  I’m thankful to be able to pursue my studies in dietetics and history, two passions of mine, and eventually help people live their lives to the fullest.  I’m thankful for classes that challenge, push, and mold me into a version of myself I never dreamed I would be.  I’m also thankful for the opportunity to share my musings about the future with all who read this blog…you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Blessings,

~Anna

A Second Home

Picture this for a second: in about a week from now, we will be a month into the Fall semester! To some of you, Fontbonne is like any other University. You wake up, go to class, maybe participate in a sport or two; then at the end of the day, go back to your dorm and repeat the same thing again the next day. For the rest of us, it’s much more than a place that we spend four or more years just learning. It is a community/town of its own. And if that is not enough, zoom out a bit further and you will find yourself in the beautiful city of Clayton! Now, what do I mean by a sense of community? I mean that there is always something going on! One day you may be eating ice cream in the Golden Meadow, then participating in a dance marathon,  and later you may be petting a pup during finals week! Trust me when I say this: GET INVOLVED! Everyone knows that being active in extracurricular activities is a good thing (for resume purposes). Yes, you may have a heavy class load and maybe a job on top of that. That doesn’t mean that you can’t join an organization and have some fun along the way. You may only have four years of this. Don’t put yourself in the position in which you regret not doing something when you walk across the stage and receive your Diploma. Be active while you still have the chance! Until next time guys, stay classy!

New place, New friends.

Nothing shapes you more than the people around you. Every person that has influenced your life was there for a reason and college isn’t different. When I first came to college I had a lot of awesome people around me. However, forging a bond with other first years really helped me get used the change of college.

My group of friends that I met this year are all sorts of busy with school and work. Saying that, we found time for friends-mas. Friends-mas was a Christmas celebration before we went home for actual Christmas with our families. Being away during the season can be hard, but friends-mas was the answer. We visited the zoo, explored St. Louis, and much more together.

We have supported each other through the change of college. I have met some awesome people at Fontbonne but nothing is better than actually relating to someone. The people I’ve met here helped make Fontbonne home.

Five things that make Fontbonne an amazing place to be

Hey Fonties! Welcome back! I hope your spring break was absolutely fabulous (I’m really sad it’s over… can we have a spring break redo?…. No?…. Okay….). Anyway, let’s  jump right into it then. In my three years as a Griffin, I’ve noticed a lot of little golden nuggets that make Fontbonne a great place to learn and grow. Here are my five favorite things that make Fontbonne amazing.

1. The Campus

Being on campus will make you feel like you’ve stepped off of a page of “Better Homes and Gardens.” Fontbonne in the spring is absolutely gorgeous

2. The People

When I say I’m extremely blessed and fortunate to be a part of the Fontbonne family, I mean it wholeheartedly. The people you will encounter on campus will continuously fill your spirit with joy.

3. The Staff

Fontbonne teachers and staff are awesome people. The teachers here take time to get to know you personally, and make it their business to make sure you succeed.

4. The Class Size

You will never feel lost in the shuffle or like another number on campus. The class sizes are small enough so that everyone in the room gets what they need.

5. Your Major

*inserts comments here*

Questions and Answers

I am going to do something completely different, I am answering some questions for you all. 

Q: What do you wish you knew before you came to Fontbonne?

A: That it is kind of cliquey with a few groups, but there are people here who make you feel welcomed and a part of the community. A major thing for me is to not stress out over anything — just ask for help.

Q: What info would help incoming students make their most of their time here?

A: Being involved in clubs like Residential Hall Association can help you get to know the people on your floor.

Q: What might students from other schools be surprised to hear about Fontbonne?

A: You won’t get lost in the shuffle among other students, and the teachers really do care about you. They will do everything within their power to help you succeed.

Taking Control

The last time I wrote I was utterly in despair over a health issue that I’m facing and gearing up for a fight with my insurance company. The good news is that I had a secondary policy that kicked in and my surgery went according to schedule last Tuesday. What wonders God can do when we relinquish control and hand life’s struggles into His hands.

I always considered Fontbonne and the Pathways program a blessing to a long awaited prayer to go back to college and complete my degree. I’ve said that if I had the strength and support that I’ve gotten with the Pathways program, faculty, and Student Ministries the first time around in college, I know I would have been successful.

But, God answered my long time prayer with the Pathways program. He has provided me with an understanding community of people that have empathy for me and my situation right now. They have made accommodations for me after my surgery when it comes to my homework and I truly feel they are praying and rooting me through my recovery process.

I know from experience what it is like to be just a number at a college and not to get the personal attention and care that you need when life hands you bad news. This is why I am thankful that my path to getting my degree is at Fontbonne, a place where I’m not just a number or a check to the business office but a real caring, feeling person.

Blessings on your week. I pray that you remember this week no matter what life throws your way that God is in control and to let Him take the wheel.

Sherry

Oooo Fontbonne….

This campus is small but wonderful. I love the close atmosphere and also I enjoy seeing everyone so much. I feel that this has had a great impact on me. I came from a huge high school of over 2,000 kids. My graduating class was over 500 itself. I would go a whole day without seeing my friends, or half the time, I would walk past them and not notice it since there were so many kids. I think Fontbonne has been great for me to get to know everyone (students and faculty) on a greater level since I see them so frequently. I have become closer friends with people here than I ever did in my four years of high school because we live together and also because I see them daily. It is just what I needed right before entering the real world by myself. THANKS, FONTBONNE!

Unlucky or Lucky?

Yesterday was very unexpected because it started raining. My drawing class was suppose to take a trip to the zoo, but my two classmates, John and Sheridan, and I were not sure if we should still attend. I asked Sheridan for Mario’s, our drawing instructor, number so I called him to make sure whether we should still come or not. He said “I’m already here. I know it’s raining. Will that be a problem?” I thought to myself Ha ha, I guess it’s still okay. So we decided to still go. When we arrived to my car, we all got in and when I turned my key, my car did not start at all. It was dead! (Note: My car was parked in the Walgreens parking lot. How awesome is that?)

I slightly panicked. I opened the front to check my battery. Apparently, the cables are a bit loose or insecured which causes my car to die. I also assumed that I needed a jump, but I had no idea who I could possibly ask for help. Luckily, a person waiting at the traffic light noticed and asked if we needed cables for a jump. I replied “I think so!” She answered, “Okay, I’ll come around and help.” I felt so relieved! As she drove through the parking lot to my car, I apologized to my classmates many times for the inconvenience. They said it was okay. Sheridan said, “It’s really nice of her to come help.” I agreed, and I think I was pretty lucky. So she parked her car in the opposite position to mine (her engine was in the back of her vehicle. I thought that was pretty cool.) However, my battery was too far to reach. She suggested to put my car into neutral and they’ll push the car out. I couldn’t turn my car on whatsoever to do that. She asked for my keys and starts messing around to see if it’ll work. And she got it! I finally learned that the “shift lock” near my shift was to help put my car in whichever mode it needs if the car is dead. Hilarious!

We moved the car just a bit upwards to the higher parking spot. Our helper goes into her car and slowly moves so that her back vehicle was near the front of my car. Unexpectedly, someone parked near us and came out, asking “What’s going on? What’s wrong with it?” He also helped us with the jump. In a few minutes, my car was alive again! Oh I was so glad and happy. I hugged our first helper, thanking her many times. She told me her name is Emily and asks if we were Fontbonne students and it turned out that she’s also a Fontbonne student! I was just so happy. And the man told me that I might need a new battery or just replace the cables. I’ll make sure to get that resolved.

I felt really lucky. And I’m also happy to have Fontbonne members help me out. I love Fontbonne so much! 🙂

Chivalry Isn’t Dead!

So, I know that I’ve blogged a lot this week, but today something happened that was out of the ordinary: a guy let me go through the door first as I was entering Ryan Hall.  He was coming from the opposite way and had two or three people behind him waiting to get through the door as well.  I had already let a few people pass as I waited patiently, expecting to be the last person to make it through, considering I was the only person waiting there.  The crazy thing was that mere seconds later as I headed for the stairwell, another guy stopped on the steps to let me pass first.  I was baffled by the amount of courteousness I received in less than a minute.

I know that a lot of people would disagree with my claim that chivalry isn’t something we see very often these days, and I hope those people are right, but it’s not something I see very often. I think it’s a very interesting debate because women want to do things themselves and I understand that, but I also think everyone likes it when people (especially complete strangers) are nice to them. Here it is twelve or so hours after the mentioned courtesy, and I’m still a little taken aback by it.

Why I Chose Fontbonne

Well, if I remember correctly, I actually applied to Fontbonne before I visited. I kind of put the cart before the horse, but deadlines were starting to pass me by. Anyway, I was pretty much undecided until about February of my senior year of high school. I fell in love with every school I visited, except one (which I won’t name here).

My high school counselor was helping me, and said, “Have you thought about Fontbonne?” My recently made plans were that I wanted to teach high school history. He said Fontbonne was a good teaching school and that I should look at it. So that’s when I applied, just in case. I wrote a killer (or at least I thought so) entrance essay about the idea of being comfortable in a college setting.

To be honest, I had really never heard of Fontbonne. My mom and I visited, but my expectations were non-existent.  I toured in February and then attended an education workshop.  I don’t really remember when it was that I officially decided.  I know that my tour had a lot to do about how I felt about our fine institution.  I remember two things about it that really struck me.

The first was the “pancake story,” in which one of the guys giving a tour told us a story about running into Dr. Golden.  He said that the university’s president paid for his and his friend’s meal, as they were trying to get a stack of pancakes at the restaurant named after Fontbonne rather than Washington University, whose named it currently carried.  Although they didn’t eat enough pancakes for that, they chatted with Dr. Golden and I feel like that close relationship is one that’s not common on a college campus.

The other thing that happened was that my tour guide, who told the pancake story, yelled across campus when he saw someone he knew.  That someone on the receiving end happened to be someone that I knew as well.  I went to high school with the person that he was saying hello to.  I knew that Fontbonne was a lot like my high school in that it was small.  When I saw that, I got the impression that it was friendly as well.  I think it was after that day, and some talks with my parents, that I finally made my college choice.

Even though Fontbonne doesn’t have some of the things a big school might have, there’s this sense of community that I wouldn’t give up.  I know most of the people I see on campus as I walk to class, and I think that makes Fontbonne a pretty unique school.  Oh, and how many people in college know their president on a personal basis?