One of my fondest memories of high school is having my favorite teacher Mrs. Cascone as my teacher and counselor. I first met Mrs. Cascone during my sophomore year, she was my English teacher. Not only did I improve my English skills that year, I opened myself up to her and her impactful advice as a counselor. During my junior year of high school, I applied to be in National Honor Society in my school. I received the news that I did not make it in. To be quite honest, I was so devastated. I felt crushed, just as I had started my junior year. I felt like my goals I had already set for that year weren’t valid anymore.
I went and talked to Mrs. Cascone about how I was feeling. She could tell that I was in a slump, so she gave me the advice to work all of junior year to build up my leadership qualities. She advised me to start my own club. After thinking about it, I decided to start my own Spanish Club in my high school. I saw the need for Latino students in my high school to feel included. Even though I have left my high school, the Spanish Club at my high school now has students in it. My senior year, I made it into National Honor Society thanks to Mrs. Cascone. Mrs. Cascone has always been there for me, as a teacher, counselor, and mentor. She has always been a cheerleader for my successes and a shoulder to cry on for my failures. She saw the quality of leadership in me even when I did not see it in myself. Mrs. Cascone built up my confidence so I could succeed in my internship with Bank of America Student Leaders and at Fontbonne University. Due to Mrs. Cascone, I am the treasurer for a new student organization, the Latino Hispanic Union at Fontbonne.
The most admirable characteristic of Mrs. Cascone is her humbleness. She is always wearing herself out trying to help every student with their problems. She rarely takes time for herself. She always schedules time out of her day to check in on me. Even though she is in Kansas City and I am in St. Louis, she still manages to shoot me a meaningful text every once in a while. Mrs. Cascone made me the woman I am today. I wouldn’t be at Fontbonne University if it weren’t for her!
“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”-Malala Yousafzai
As I am a sophomore in college, there are a variety of educators who have influenced me. One of the most impactful teachers was an english instructor my senior year of high school.
Thinking my writing skills were at the level they needed to be at, I was shocked when I did not receive the grade I desired on my first few papers. I spoke to the teacher after classes and he essentially told me that he would tell that I was confident in my writing, but he told me I was writing for the assignment. I always thought that was the purpose of writing in school: just to complete the assignment.
However, he taught me the importance of writing for what I felt and what I was passionate about in the assignment. He encouraged me to go about each assignment with a fresh set of eyes, not to just find the easy topic to talk about. In doing so, I learned to be confident in my own opinions and taking the more difficult route if it is what I feel strongly in.
Moreover, this experience taught me so much about not settling for what I think is right at the time and to go for the strange, unique, and unexpected solution to a problem. This teacher challenged me and encouraged me to be the best version of myself and to never settle.
I am here to share my journey at Fontbonne. I graduated from high school with 75 people. In high school, I played three sports, was involved in multiple clubs, and my mom was the school nurse. Even though I was involved in school and was very comfortable, I never was that outgoing. So when I was searching for schools I wanted a similar atmosphere (small catholic school) where I could really come out of my shell.
On move-in day, I was so excited to get out in a new city and get involved. I was sad to say goodbye to my friends and family but I knew that it was going to be good for me. Below is a picture of my sister and me on move in day.
During Welcome Week, we had activities fair! I signed up for nearly every booth. (note to self: only sign up for what you are really interested in!!) I ended up getting really involved in Griffin Gang! By second semester I was the VP of Traditions. This meant that I would lead all of our traditional events on campus. Through my work with Griffin Gang I got involved in Dance Marathon this year. A group of us worked really hard and attended SLU’s Dance Marathon event. After this Dance Marathon, became its own organization. (Picture below is a group of us at a NACA Leadership Convention)
I came full circle in the two years I have already been at Fontbonne. I went from being involved as a follower to being involved as a leader. So, my greatest advice is to get involved and find your niche. If that is a sport, organization, or even a department club, find the place that helps you grow as a person. College is developing yourself and that is what I can thank Fontbonne for.
Transitioning from high school to college can elicit many different types of emotions: nervousness, excitement, fear, anxiety… the list is endless. Going to a whole new place where you may know only a few people, if anyone, can be intimidating. When I first came to Fontbonne, I did not know a single person here — so you can imagine how scary that was for me. The best way that I coped during this new transition period was by fully participating in the welcome week events and getting to know as many people as possible. I found that the more people you talk to, the more you will be able to figure out who you are similar to and who can see spending more time with! Sure, you may encounter a few people who just do not have a personality that clicks with yours, and that is absolutely okay! Another big thing for me was keeping my door to my dorm open. Living on campus allows you to meet other residents in the same boat as you whether you are a freshman, a transfer student or an international student. I left my door open while I was in my room which allowed me to say hi to people passing by and even invite some in to get to know them better. This was how I developed great friendships with many of my floor-mates that I would consider some of my closest friends to this day. Another big part of going to college is the fact that you will be away from your family and friends back home. Thankfully, technology today allows us to have instant communication right at our fingertips. I often send a quick to text to my sister or to my best friend just to let them know that I miss them and am thinking about them. You might even set up a time to Skype or FaceTime your friends and family and catch up on what is going on! College is an exciting and busy time, but it is important to keep in touch with those you do not see all the time. And the final piece of advice I can give you is this: enjoy your time in college and soak up every moment. Embrace the many emotions, challenges, and fun times that you have, because they come and go so fast!
I have attached a video of the lyrics to the song “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield because I feel like it truly encompasses the new beginnings and the journey of the college experience specifically the line, “Today is where your book begins, the rest is still unwritten.”
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