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Alumni Posts

Life.

by Alumni Posts on April 7, 2013

in Academics,College Life

Today’s weather was gorgeous. As in, practically eighty degrees, a nice amount of sunshine, and very low humidity. And what did I do today? Homework, as usual. And as I was looking at my planner, I realized that I misunderstood my friend and fellow blogger Carly when she said that we have five weeks of school left after spring break. Yes, technically we do, if you don’t count exam weeks. I love school, don’t get me wrong- but as the weather gets nicer and nicer, it just gets harder and harder to stay inside and study.

I’ve actually already started my summer internship. I’m interning in a microbiology lab halfway between my house and campus, and, if you’ve read any of my blogs thus far, you should be inferring that I’m enjoying the experiences there. And that inference is correct. I’m learning a lot of new lab techniques, and everyone is so nice that I’ve already made some new friends.

So I guess what I’m saying is that I’m excited for summer. But, then again, I’ll be sad when this school year ends. As I said before, most of my friends are seniors, so they’ll be graduating and moving on to bigger and better things come this May, which will make for a strange school year for me next year. I have a feeling we will all be getting pretty sentimental in these coming weeks.

This weekend, my high school presented their annual spring musical. This year, the show was “White Christmas.” As I sat there in the audience watching eagerly as the cast members tap danced to songs like “I Love a Piano” and acted out some pretty powerful romantic scenes, I started thinking about how fast life goes. I graduated from high school just three years ago, yet I only knew the seniors in the show. It seems like a lifetime ago that I was on that stage playing twelve-year-old Agnes in my last high school musical, “Meet Me in St. Louis.”

So if my rambling here means anything to you, then great. If not, I’ll try to sum it up here: even though these last few weeks may seem daunting and difficult, and even though motivating yourself to do your homework amidst the glorious preview of summer weather may seem nearly impossible, college truly will be over before we know if, so we need to savor every sweet moment we have.

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Since my very first blog two and a half years ago, I’ve been talking about the facts that I’m majoring in biology and that I want to pursue a career in biomedical research. However, it recently occurred to me that I’ve never actually explained how I got into this major.

If you would’ve told me that I’d be a biology major when I was a freshman, sophomore, or even a fall-semester junior in high school, I would’ve told you that you were crazy. In high school, I loved English, Spanish, and communication classes. I took as many honors and college credit English and Spanish classes as I could. I remember loving my sophomore-level biology course; however, I had that purely American stereotype of science: if you go into science, you’re going to be a doctor. Since I can’t stand the sight of blood coming out of a human body, I thought that science was a field I’d never enter.

During my junior year of high school, I took an honors chemistry course. As it turned out, I was pretty good balancing chemical equations and performing titrations in lab. However, I still had that American stereotype of science. I did NOT want to be a doctor.

Then, right around Halloween of my junior year, my chemistry teacher took us on a field trip to the Science Center for SciFest, an event during which scientists from around the globe gave presentations on all aspects of science. I saw a presentation about the manufacturing of medicine that was given by a local pharmaceutical company. The entire time, I was fascinated by the entire process of bettering people’s lives by bettering the medicines that they take. A few months later, when I got serious about looking for colleges, I looked not for English and communication programs but for biology programs.

There are definitely days when I wonder what my life would be like if I’d never gone to SciFest and see that presentation that inspired me to completely change my mind about the field that I wanted to go into. I think about what it would be like to study British literature instead of the relatively-high rates of genetic HIV resistance found in Northern Europeans. But then I think about how blessed I am. I think about how I’ll be able to change the world by helping to advance our knowledge of medical treatments and cures, and I think about my work at the Science Center and about the potential I have to inspire younger generations to go into science due to my presence there.

All in all, I guess you could say that life is a full-circle trip. Do I actually know where I’ll end up? Definitely not. But I’m excited to find out.

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Well, it’s midterms, folks, and high school seniors (like my sister Emily) are probably getting a little concerned as to where exactly they’ll be this time next year.  My own journey to Fontbonne was an irregular, weird, and stressful one (i.e., it was JULY before I picked a school), so I don’t feel qualified to give you any advice on choosing a college.  I just don’t have any idea of the normal course of action for doing so.  (But, I CAN tell you that if you decide mid-summer that you want to go to a different school, just call the school up and ask if you can come.  It worked all 3 times I did it that summer.  (And I’m very serious when I say don’t be like me when you grow up.))

There’s a lot of pressure during the senior year of high school to a) go to college (trust me, not everyone does, despite the assumptions of school guidance counselors and your peers) and b) go to a certain school or a certain type of school (private, “party,” out-of-state, etc.).  My advice is this:  Even though the Disney channel puts a lot of emphasis on being all kinds of awesome your senior year of high school because that’s how everyone will remember you at your 40-year reunion, this “wisdom” (i.e., stupidity) doesn’t apply AT ALL when it comes to making your decisions about college.

It is absolutely critical that when you go to pick a school, you base your decision on your own personal situation, and not upon what your classmates will think of you if you go with one school over another. You owe it to yourself to choose the school/lifestyle that will benefit you the most over the long-run.

This may mean taking a year off, or going to a community college and getting your general education requirements finished off while you figure out what you want to do in life, or living at home and going to school in your hometown as opposed to going to an out-of-state school.  Everybody has a different life situation, and you need to choose the option that will work out the best for you.  (And ask your parents for help.  Even if you’re their first brush with applying to college, they know you well and they can help you figure this stuff out.  Just don’t be rude to them, like me.)

It may be rough when you tell people the choice you’ve made and they give you all kinds of flack about how “College was the best 4 years of my life when I went to (some school)!” and imply that you’re just making that choice because you’re afraid of new things or you can’t stand up to your parents.  It may be really annoying and depressing when your friends are picking out towels for their dorm rooms (Yes, I was jealous of my friends because they got to buy new towels for school and I didn’t because I didn’t need them.)  or deciding what they’re going to name their new pet fish.  But, throughout it all,  have confidence in the choice you’ve made because although it’s not popular, it’s right for you and it’s going to pay off in the end.  Long-term dividends, I believe it’s called.  Go after the long-term dividends, not the 4 years of crazy, even though that’s the hard (but mature!) choice to make.

And know that, as always, I’ve got your back.  : )

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I’m not going to lie – I was never all that excited about the whole college search process. I attended Notre Dame High School, a small, all girl, Catholic high school in Lemay, South St. Louis County. I loved everything about ND – the small class sizes, the student-teacher ratios and relationships, and the personable, welcoming atmosphere were everything that I wanted in a school. I loved ND so much that I didn’t even want to think about leaving.

Eventually, my parents pretty much made me start looking at schools. I knew that I wanted to commute to school to save money, so an out-of-town school such as Missouri State or SEMO was out of the question. Since I live in Oakville (which is about 20 miles south of the city of St. Louis), I thought that the everyday drive to UMSL and Lindenwood would be a bit long. So, my choices were narrowed yet again, this time to Saint Louis University, Webster University, and, of course, Fontbonne.

At that time, I was a junior in high school and was really beginning to consider what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Although I love theatre and Spanish, I knew that I didn’t want to make a career out of either of those fields. I did, however, become extremely interested in scientific research, in part due to two of my favorite ND teachers, Mrs. Bumb and Sister (Sis) Celine.

After looking at all three schools, Fontbonne just seemed to be the perfect fit. It’s in a great location, it’s small and inviting, and my professors know me one-on-one. The science department is amazing (the science building, AB Hall, has literally just completed its total renovation, complete with brand-new, state-of-the-art labs and equipment), and I still have opportunities to take part in theatre and take Spanish courses. Fontbonne just reminded me so much of Notre Dame, which is exactly what I wanted in a college.

So, that’s pretty much how I became a Griffin. If you think that you’d like a small school with big possibilities, check out Fontbonne. I assure you that you’ll love it just as much as I do.

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Hola from Courtney

by Alumni Posts October 12, 2010

Hi, Everyone! I’m Courtney, a freshman here at Fontbonne. Even though I’ve only been a Fontbonne student for a couple of months, I already feel at home. Everyone here has been so kind and welcoming, and they all helped to make my transition from high school into college a smooth one. Let me tell you […]

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