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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!


It is truly hard to believe how fast the year is winding down. The number of student organization events, class assignments, and final projects is getting lower and lower. It is a very bittersweet feeling. I feel good knowing that I have accomplished so much in the past four years of college. But it is also sad knowing that a huge chapter in my life is coming to a close. But it is a chapter that I am very proud of. The memories I have made in and out of the classroom are endless and absolutely priceless. I will forever cherish my experience at Fontbonne. Also, I am extremely excited to say that I have been selected as the commencement speaker on graduation day! This is the perfect way to bring my time to a close, and I am beyond honored to be chosen for this. And, it will be streamed live on Fontbonne’s website. No pressure!

A couple days after graduation I am going on a class trip to New York City. Another very exciting thing to look forward to in the next month! I went on the trip with the fashion merchandising department two years ago as well, and it was an absolute blast. We had a variety of industry tours, as well as plenty of free time to explore the city. And this trip will be set up in a similar way. However, it will still be a different experience with different people. Then, as soon as I get back from NYC, I will officially start working full time at TalentPlus as an entertainment agent. Since I’ve been working there part time this past semester, I will be able to dive right in. While I am upset to be graduating from Fontbonne, I am still looking forward to the future ahead.


When I was in high school, I was selected to join the honors program at Fontbonne, and I accepted. Accordingly, I was required to take at least twelve credits of honors courses offered here. I completed that after my sophomore year. However, there is one last thing that needs to be done in order to complete the honors program before I graduate. It is required to complete an honors senior project. The meaning of this is very broad and completely depends on the student and their major. It is pretty much up to the student what they want to do for the final project, as long as it is initially approved and extends beyond standard classroom work that is assigned to everyone else.

I knew that I wanted to do a project that required hands-on work because I really enjoy being crafty. The teacher of my independent study visual merchandising class connected me with a store owner named Dorothy. She recently opened her store, Bespoke, at a new location on Cherokee Street. It is a very large space with room for two window displays. Therefore, I helped Dorothy out by building a visual display that she can keep up year-round. Bespoke is not a traditional boutique or clothing store. Dorothy creates custom-made garments for people, and also sews alterations on pre-made garments. Accordingly, I wanted to incorporate tools that she uses daily, such as thread, ribbon, buttons, needles, and measuring tape. I used these items to create screens as the backdrop (and within the store), as you can see from the pictures. Maroon, gray, and tan is the color scheme of the Bespoke logo, so I continued that in the display. Finally, there are two dress forms in one of the windows that are intended to tell a story of how a garment is put together. That is why the first look is partially sewn.

I really enjoyed working on this project and getting to know Dorothy over the last couple months. It was a great learning experience having the opportunity to see her at work and hear all about her background. And like I said before, I love being crafty! Now that the project is done, I need to compile my process into a portfolio. After I turn that in, I can officially say that I completed the honors program at Fontbonne.



The weekend before last marked a significant date in my dance career. It was the last time I “took the stage” as a Griffin Girl. I’ve been on the dance team at Fontbonne for three years. During my freshman year here, I made the mistake to not partake in any extracurricular activities, and forewent what I had been doing since I was five years old.

Clearly, I couldn’t stay away from dance for long, and joined the team the  following year. This decision ranks in the top for the best  decisions I have made in my life so far. You see, dance is not just a sport for me. It’s more than a performance or source of entertainment for others. It’s a way I let myself deal with all that life can throw at me. Dance is my catharsis, my release in life.

So I continued, and I met the greatest gals whom I now call my friends. We were more than just a team. We were there for each other. We all needed dance, and we needed each other. 2014-2015 Griffin Girls

Griffin Girls was the perfect outlet for me to keep dancing and still focus on building the future I so desired. I could dance while focusing on my education, work, and other leadership opportunities. My time here at Fontbonne has been some of the greatest years of my life, due in part to the Griffin Girls.

“Dance with your heart and your body will follow”. Those are the words of choreographer Mia Michaels, and could not be more true. I may not be the dancer with the best leaps, turns, or flexibility, but I dance with my heart in each and every performance. It is my heart that is rooted in dance, and the thought of being done with the art form causes it to ache a little.
The Griffin Girls Cheering on the Griffins

Who knows where I will go with dance next, but my heart will always hold a passion for it. That I know for sure.



What is next?

by Alumni Posts November 13, 2014

“What classes are you taking next semester?” I am starting to hear that more and more. It is weird for me not to have any classes next semester due to finishing up this semester. So much is happening to me both in school and outside of school. Becoming the President of the Residential Hall Association […]

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November Showers Bring May Flowers

by Raven November 10, 2014

So, advising week starts Monday (help me… please…). I couldn’t be happier though because that means I’m one semester away from being a senior!!!! I didn’t get to this spot overnight though, I’ve had many late nights and study parties that I don’t wanna relive. Anywho, when I’m studying, I found that I do my […]

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This is the new year

by Alumni Posts September 11, 2014

It is my last semester here at Fontbonne. It is starting to kick in that I will be starting a new adventure after this. I have grown since I transferred here — about myself and about others that I care about. Here is a list of things that  I have discovered since I began here. […]

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by Alumni Posts April 7, 2014

I’m starting to realize that this is it. My last year here due to graduation in December. It is my last time for a lot of stuff. I have had a blast the past year and a half here. I’ve met some great people that i consider my family here. The experience are priceless that […]

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Only A Month In.

by Alumni Posts February 3, 2014

January is over! I can’t believe it! This semester is going to go by so fast just because I have so much to do. This semester is the start to my senior year of college. I feel like I just graduated high school not that long ago. It has only been a month in and […]

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by Alumni Posts January 29, 2014

Well, here we are – week 3 of the spring semester. I’m having a hard time fathoming that I have less than 50 days of classes left until my time is done at FBU and in academia in general. Like many other seniors my remaining days are being spent readying my résumé, creating an e-portfolio, […]

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