At 9:27 a.m. on the first day of classes at Drury, I was still searching all over campus for a parking spot. It was the kind of cold that made your fingertips numb and your throat sore. I ended up parking by the dorms, knowing full well I could only leave my car there for so long. I half-ran to Burnham Hall, up the three flights of stairs and stumbled into the classroom five minutes late huffing and puffing with burning lungs. I was expecting the professor to shake his head disapprovingly and the students to all turn and stare. Instead, they offered something I would have never expected: a smile.
At the first college I attended, the students were so different from the students at Drury. They walk with their heads down, keep to themselves, and just hope to go unnoticed. They are in that school to get in, get a degree, and get out. I was no different. I made single-serving friends; usually just one or two people in my classes to keep homework straight. The homework was very much like high school and not challenging.
Everything has been so different at Drury. The atmosphere is welcoming and lively. Just walking across campus, I see several people walk up to each other and start a conversation. Hearing laughter or joking is common. The students actually want to be here; they have remarkable ambition and are extremely friendly. On my first day, a girl who had been here for a couple of years offered to show me around and told me if there was anything I needed, she would help. The homework is challenging and thought provoking, which is new.
Walt Disney said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” This has been my motto for the last three weeks. I’ve never had the opportunity or access to resources to open my mind to so many ideas and dreams or the resources to help me follow them. Every staff and faculty member, student and peer at Drury genuinely wants to see everyone succeed. That is an experience that is brand new.