April 29, 2014

Happy Scots Day

As I'm overwhelmed on social media with messages about my Alma Mater, Monmouth College, celebrating Founder's Day, I want to take this opportunity to reflect on my years as a student at MC.  I walked down the long sidewalk up to Wallace Hall during Matriculation in the Fall of 2007, an excited and nervous freshman about to embark on the journey of a lifetime.  For my first semester, my focus was socializing and figuring out what this college thing was all about.  I had done quite a bit of partying my Senior year of high school, and this seemed to roll over to this first semester of college.  I joined a sorority and made friendships that will last my lifetime, and I made some poor choices that fortunately pushed me to realize who I really wanted to be.  With the help of some amazing mentors and wiser ladies, I came to the realization that life was better with God and family as my focus.

My sophomore year was much different, as I was asked to serve as a Student Chaplain and joined encouraging and uplifting groups on campus.  I spent this year focused on my education, ministry at my home church, and my sorority.  I will never forget the mentoring from Paige Halpin and other ladies of Alpha Xi Delta.  Thank you for your inspiration and love during these years, ladies!  TFJ forever!

Junior year, I focused on figuring out what I wanted to do with my life.  I felt a call to start a nonprofit and I spent a great deal of my time off campus in meetings with community leaders with Danielle, developing plans for FOCC!  I was also busy planning a wedding and developing my relationship with Travis during this third year at Monmouth College.  At the end of my junior year, my amazing Advisor, Kristin, and I met to discuss plans for my senior year.  I discussed my desire to bring FOCC development and planning into my Senior Psychology courses and Kristin was thrilled to help me achieve my goals in this way!  We developed an Independent Study course, where I got credit for developing this nonprofit; I researched best practices, learned how to raise funds and write grants, and worked with Danielle and our lawyer to file our nonprofit paperwork with the government!  Kristin also allowed me to complete my Senior Research project based around FOCC, conducting a Needs Assessment Survey to see what the greatest needs were in Henderson County.

Looking back on this semester of college, I truly appreciate how MC and Kristin allowed me to bring my passion into the classroom.  I am now the Executive Director of FOCC, which serves over 200 families each year.  I can honestly say, without my time spent working on this project at Monmouth College and their willingness to be flexible with my learning experience, FOCC would not be the organization it is today!

After that Spring semester was complete, I graduated early and soon discovered Travis and I were expecting.  In January, I got my first "big girl" job and in May, I proudly walked across the stage to receive my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.  Thank you Monmouth College for the wonderful impact you had on my life!  Once a Scot, Always a Scot!

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