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memories

I am graduating.

The day has finally come.

I learned so much from going to Fontbonne. I met the most amazing people and made the most amazing friends. Even now in my senior year I’ve made friends! This might sound strange, but I learned how to be. I had such difficulty being myself in school. Every year, it would get a little better. But I’ve never felt so at home and so outwardly myself than when I’m at Fontbonne. I learned how to talk in front of crowds without melting down, how to tackle challenges instead of run from them, and just how to be silly and have fun!

The real heart of Fontbonne is in its people, and  I don’t think that comes as a surprise to anyone. I learned that people are the best. And for someone with generalized anxiety, interacting with others is not always the easiest thing for me.

I am so excited for the future. The financial aspect scares me a little, but I already have a long list of projects I want to get cracking on as soon as I’m a graduate! (Also, post-graduction includes a dog so…you can imagine the levels of joy I’m experiencing).

I just want to tell younger students or soon-to-be freshmen that you’re in the right place. Don’t stress about being liked! You will find your niche, even if it takes a little time, but the people make it easy.

I’ll never forget staging a play composed of entirely text messages in Flores’ theater class, losing to my sister at Sibling Bingo, dying of laughter with my podcast co-host, and sharing a slice of pizza with MVP Mark Douglas (head of the art department) in Applied Design.

There are so many unforgettable memories. I’ll definitely be back. You haven’t seen the last of me, Fontbonne!

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Hello, fellow and future Fonties. I am going to start off by saying that I am super excited to be able to share my stories about my time at Fontbonne with all of you. I wrote a blog over the summer that was a little bit about me and orientation as I was a WING leader this past year. For those of you who don’t know what a WING leader is, that is our orientation team that welcomes in all of the new freshman every fall. However, if you did not read my blog over the summer, all is well because I am going to start from scratch. I am going to take your through my journey as a Griffin starting from the very beginning. (Not all in one post of course, because that would be way too much to read!). Over the course of the next three months, I hope to get you from the time I walked on campus in 2012 to the time I walked on campus to start my senior year of college. I hope you enjoy my experiences as much as I have.

My name is Danielle Ader and I have been through a handful of things that every college student probably goes through. I walked on campus for the first time in August of 2012; ready to begin my journey as a Fontbonne Griffin. I wanted more than anything to be away from my parents and finally be able to spread my wings. As a freshman, you go through the orientation program, at the time called FOCUS. Once all of your stuff is moved in, they take you to the Maybee Gymnasium for this big ceremony. You listen to what feels like a million people tell you, “Welcome to Fontbonne,” and then you break into your FOCUS groups. This is the first time you leave your parents and families to venture off and meet new students in the same boat you are. For me, this was so stressful as I am very quiet, or at least I was at the time. Fontbonne had no one that I went to high school with except one girl, who of course was not put in my group. I was alone with no friends and I was scared. High school was rough for me; I went to school with the same people from kindergarten to senior year. Once one person had a thought about who you were or what you were, everyone knew and that was your image for the rest of your time. So in knowing that no one from high school was around I thought about it for a very long time. I realized that I could be whoever I wanted to be, and I could do whatever I wanted to do. So my journey as a Griffin began.

I started classes and was eagerly awaiting the activities fair. I knew I wanted to be involved but had no idea the opportunities that were there for me at Fontbonne. I remember signing up to be in every organization that had a table in the meadow; I do not suggest doing that because the emails are overbearing. Pick a few that you think you are excited about and then join those, go to the meetings and then narrow it down to one or two. They have so many organizations on campus — currently 17 different groups. Those are just the registered student organizations, that doesn’t include different groups that are run out of departments on campus.

In all of the organizations I signed up, for I knew I wanted to be a Griffin Girl (Fontbonne’s Dance Team) more than anything else in the world. I was coming off of 6 years of competitive cheer and dance and I was adamant about dancing in college. As I was walking around the activities fair I also decided I wanted to be a senator of the Student Government Association. Fast forward just a couple weeks and I had filled out my senator application, working on it for hours to make sure it was perfect to ensure acceptance; and I received an email that the organization was looking for a VP of Finance.  I thought to myself, “Why not?” and applied; I worked even harder on this application and submitted it right away. I received an email, what I think was the following week, that they wanted to set up an interview with the advisor and current president. I was in the Dunham Student Activity Center (DSAC) getting food and while I was walking back to my room I made the decision to respond to the email with a time I was available, try to carry my food, and walk down the stairs all at the same time. I slid down the stairs and broke a bone in my foot; piece of advice, DON’T TEXT AND WALK DOWN STAIRS!  After being placed in a boot it was time for tryouts for Griffin Girls; despite my broken foot I was still going to push my limits and tryout doing as much as I possible could. Unfortunately 2 hours later I was cut from the team because I couldn’t show enough of my skills. My dreams had ended in a split second, I balled my eyes out as I headed back to my room.

I did not know what I was going to do until I had my interview for Student Government. I nailed my interview and was so excited to get an email that afternoon that I had received the VP of Finance position as a freshman. I remember thinking to myself that I was going to give Student Government my all and I was going to go far and succeed in this organization. After about a month or so into my time in the organization I absolutely fell in love and knew I had found my passion.

So aside from my involvement, let me tell you about my academics and social life. I already mentioned that I knew orientation was going to be tough since I did not really have many friends. My roommate, who was the only person I really knew, was not going on the overnight trip that was planned. So I did not go either and let me tell you that was the worst mistake of my entire life. As an orientation leader, I can say that I may be biased but… without this experience it is very hard to establish a social life at Fontbonne. Everyone really bonds during this time at Lake Williamson.  eedless to say I did not really have a social life at Fontbonne… Until I met my best friend to this day, Brooke Stochl. She really brought me out of my shell and over the years, has taught be to be a much better person.

I was not going to class being mommy and daddy could not tell me I had to, if I had a headache I was not going, if my stomach hurt a little bit I was not going and so on. I had excuse after excuse as to why I was not going to class.  Let me tell you that people will say “go to class” and you will think, “well duh” but once you decide not to go to one it is easy to miss another and another. I got straight C’s my first semester here. And some of you will think, “well C’s do get degrees” and that my be true but guess what?  C’s DO NOT GET YOU JOBS! Go to class and study hard because it truly does make a difference.

Surprisingly enough, that is about all I can remember from my first semester.  Those are at least the big memories that truly impacted my life forever.  I hope you enjoyed my first semester as much as I did!

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