I know the “We Are Griffin Nation” movement kicked off a little while ago, but honestly, it slipped by me because of all the homework and studying surrounding midterms. I just got a chance to check out some of the wonderful statements other Fontbonne students have come up with. It’s clear that “Griffin Nation” is full of young adults who want to make a difference! I loved the variety of responses, from future occupations and achieving goals to finding out who you are and what matters to you. This campus that so many of us call home is dedicated to educating, inspiring, equipping, and encouraging tomorrow’s leaders. I know this gets said a lot, but it’s really true: you (and your education) matter at Fontbonne.
It was really hard for me to choose just one option and a few sentences about what Fontbonne means. I finally settled for “Fontbonne inspires me to…” It inspires me to learn more and be more, obviously. But what exactly does that mean? For me, it means that I am changing in a good way. Even in the past two months, I know I have been transforming. I’ve grown to be more confident. I can think critically, prioritize my time, and make wise decisions. Each day I gain a greater awareness of the world around me — and that’s not just St. Louis, Missouri, or even the United States. I’ve learned to have an opinion that matters, but also respect others who have different views. My professors, fellow students, and the whole campus atmosphere inspires me to be the best I can be not only in academics, but in life in general. How can I contribute to the common good?!
It’s been a really interesting first semester. It’s been both similar and different from what I expected (not unusual, haha!), but ultimately I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I cannot wait for the years to come and look back fondly on the great memories I’m already making. I’m sure the changes that I’ve undergone already are nothing compared to how I will emerge in four years — prepared for the next step in my career, ready to influence the world, and inspired to never stop learning more and being more.
I know it was only a few short years ago but it’s hard to imagine a time before Fontbonne. Yet I can still remember some of the fears and anxieties I had about starting college. I look back on that time and I’m thoroughly confused–there was nothing to be afraid of!
Here is some advice for my pre-Fontbonne self:
- Above all: trust yourself. If you’re doubting yourself, have faith. You know what to do. Sometimes it’s easier to say and think that you’re incapable. Know that you will fail (frequently) but that’s just part of life. Failing actually means you’re progressing.
- Don’t settle. Before Fontbonne, you had a rough idea of what you wanted to do but you didn’t know what specifically. That’s okay–just take comfort in knowing that you will find something you love (actually many things!). One of the most important things I’ve learned at Fontbonne is that you can find a way to make your dreams tangible.
- It’s okay if you don’t adjust right away. After only a few weeks at Fontbonne you started panicking. You weren’t fitting in like all your friends were at their colleges. You were basing your entire future experience on only a few weeks of getting adjusted. Give it time. Because in a few short months you are going to love it.
- Just go for it: In grade school and even in high school you were the shy kid. You were scared what people would think of you and base your intelligence off of wrong answers and your quirky, unconventional personality. In college, you won’t be afraid to be yourself. This might surprise you, but you are going to take a lot of chances and meet a lot of wonderful people and do so many amazing things! You’ll sit in front in your classes, ask questions and answer questions, and speak your mind!
- Balance: It really is the key. In the past your anxiety has caused you to miss some cool opportunities. On the other hand, you also know that some things are just too much for you–and that’s okay! You can find a way to do things that are out of your comfort zone without sending yourself into a panic. It’s all a matter of knowing what you can tackle and what you can’t. (For example, hang out with friends one night but take some time to recharge at home the next.) Also, don’t worry so much! If there’s an event you want to participate in, don’t worry hours beforehand what it will be like. Fontbonne people are amazingly sweet and forgiving–you will be in excellent company, so don’t stress!
Dear younger Claire (and incoming freshman),
Thinking back just 9 months ago before I started school at Fontbonne, I expected something totally different. I excepted teachers that didn’t care, huge classrooms and having to stay up until 3 am every night. When I got to Fontbonne, I was mistaken and for good reason. The faculty and staff of Fontbonne actually care about the students. Although some may disagree, if you put your studies first and ask for help, they will go above and beyond to make sure you have all the tools you need to be successful. Here are some of the things I would tell myself before coming to Fontbonne, after being here for almost a full year now.
- Join more clubs and be more involved. Yes, having a super busy schedule is tough, but you make more friends and have more items to look back on as involvement from college.
- Try something new. Step out of your comfort zone and make new friends. Say hi to someone or tell them that you like their shirt.
- Go to class. Don’t miss it just because you don’t feel like it. Go and sit there because you’re wasting your money every class you don’t go to.
- Eat healthy. Yes, pizza and ice cream are great every now and then, but you have to take care of your body to be mentally and physically healthy.
- Make friends. I know this sounds silly, but put yourself out there and you can meet some pretty cool people.
- Go for it. Whatever it is, if there is something you want, you won’t know until you try it! I randomly decided to go to a meeting about being a student blogger, and look where I am now.
Moral of the story: This is a time to reinvent yourself so become the person you have always wanted to be. You may say “what if I fail?” But I ask you, what if you succeed? You can never know until you try and you are your biggest limitation. Try new things, meet new people, be adventurous, have fun.
Interestingly enough, in 2nd grade my teacher asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up. And then she had us write a letter to our future selves and include our future job description. Then she said she would mail it to us some years down the road. I received the letter years later and past me wanted to be…a police officer! It’s a noble profession but I definitely don’t think I could do it today.
Growing up, I never had a realistic grasp on what I wanted to be or what I wanted to do. I had aspirations to be a police officer and then as the years went on I switched to dolphin trainer and then veterinarian. I love animals so a career path that included physically touching soft, furry animals seemed like a perfect fit. Then things started to get serious and I realized careers required hard work, dedication, and motivation.
Math, science, literature…I struggled with all of them. If I had to choose one, it would be literature (since I loved to read) but I wasn’t really passionate about it. When I found out I could turn my hapless doodling and drawing and creating into a career, I was ecstatic!
Even now, I can’t recall exactly when I made that decision to be an artist. In a manner of speaking, art chose me. It was the only thing I considered myself good at and it was something I loved to do. Art is a field that offers so many possibilities–and that’s the reason it works so well for me. Today, I have a better grasp on what I want to do but I also firmly believe that nothing is certain. There are so many different paths to take. Right now I’m a graphic designer but in a few years time, who knows?
As long as my job description requires me to create–anything!–then I’m satisfied.