Wanted: Passion

In my “About Me“, I talk about what I do now as a junior pre-vet student at LMU; what you don’t know is how I got be be a Railsplitter in the first place!

My journey to LMU began my senior year of high school when one of my mom’s patients, whose daughter was also a senior applying to colleges, told my mom about some of the scholarship opportunities LMU offered. Even though I live only 75 miles from Harrogate and had passed by LMU several times on Highway 25E, I didn’t know much about the school or even considered it as an option for my undergraduate education. I had several factors that I was looking for in a college: affordability, quality education, extracurricular activities, and residential life, and I needed to make sure LMU met all of those before I could become a Railsplitter.

First and foremost, affordability; because I knew I wanted to go to vet school, I wanted to minimize my undergraduate debt load so I could afford my graduate education. LMU offers many different scholarships ranging from a few hundred dollars to full tuition—at least 65% of students receive some type of financial assistance. At the 2013 Awards Ceremony, 330 different scholarships worth almost $440,000 were awarded thanks to many generous donors and alumni that want LMU students to succeed. Also, because LMU is located in a small town instead of a big city, living expenses are much cheaper than other “big name” schools. Affordability? Check!

I also wanted to make sure that I would receive a quality education that would set me up for success in vet school. LMU really emphasizes its small student-to-teacher ratio—the average class is only twelve people! From my high school experiences, I knew that I really enjoyed classes with less people so that we could get to know each other and our professor better. One of the things I most appreciate is that my professors are always willing to take time to answer questions, even if they aren’t within their scheduled office hours. LMU professors want their students to succeed and will do everything in their power to make sure that they understand the material. Quality education? You bet!

Initially, I had some concerns about the availability of extracurricular activities at LMU since it is a smaller school in rural East Tennessee. I needn’t have worried! LMU has over 30 different on-campus clubs and organizations for just about every interest, and if a club doesn’t exist for your passion, then starting one is easy! I especially liked the opportunity to participate in concert band and pep band, but that’s a topic for another day. Just like at any other school, you are as involved as you choose to be—so I chose to get involved.  Extracurriculars? LMU has them!

My final criteria involved residential life. At many schools, freshmen housing is community-style or along the lines of two people sharing a bedroom and six to eight people sharing a bathroom. LMU offered apartment-style housing for Honors freshmen when I was applying, and now most of the housing is apartment style in some fashion. LMU has a cafeteria open for every meal, and a “World of Wings” (WOW) Café that serves different types of chicken, salads, and wings. Living in an apartment with five other girls brings its own unique set of challenges, but I love knowing that I’m almost never alone the weekends I’m at school. Residential life? Passed with an A+!

After narrowing my college search down based on my strict criteria, my family and I visited three colleges over my fall break, including LMU. While all three schools offered unique student experiences, from the moment I entered Harrogate, I felt at home. I have lived in the mountains of East Tennessee all of my life, so when I found a school that was nestled in the valley instead of in the middle of a giant city, I knew LMU was right for me. Every aspect of my visit to the campus confirmed my initial feelings. I met with one of the admissions counselors, who answered all of my questions about the admissions process, how to apply for financial aid, and who to see about housing with a smile and genuine excitement to have me as a prospective student.

Then, it was time for the campus tour. We started at the Student Center, headed up to the Quad, and visited a few buildings. What really stood out to me was the classroom size—these weren’t huge auditoriums that I saw at other schools. These rooms were designed so that students and teachers could communicate easily and effectively without any trouble. For classes like Organic Chemistry, a traditionally tough class, having forty people instead of four hundred makes a difference! We continued through the library, where I saw a whole shelf dedicated to books written by LMU faculty about various subjects. Because we carry on Abraham Lincoln’s legacy by being a living memorial, we have attracted some of the world’s best Lincoln scholars-these professors have shared their life’s work with the world. After leaving the library, I got to tour Dishner Hall, the freshmen honor’s dorm. I was blown away by the size of the individual bedroom and the shared kitchen/common area. These were, by far, the nicest dorms I had seen on any of my tours—I felt like I could actually live and thrive here! This was the end of my wonderful tour of LMU, but it also meant that I got to go speak to some faculty about my prospective major.

I had set up a meeting with the vet tech/pre-vet professors, so after my tour we headed down to “The Barn”. What I thought was going to be a twenty minute, brief introduction to the program turned into an hour-long conversation about common interests in horses, how the professors got into veterinary medicine and ended up teaching at LMU, and a tour through the vet tech facilities. This experience is what really sold me on coming to LMU for my undergrad. No other university I visited had professors willing to take as much time out of their day to talk to a prospective student to make me feel valued. Never did I sense that I was getting on their nerves or that I asked too many questions. These professors encouraged me to pursue my dream and made me feel that I could approach them with concerns or questions at any time as a student.

The time on my tour speaking with the faculty sold me on coming to LMU. As an LMU student, I am treated like a person, not just another face or name on the roster, and the professors will do everything in their power to help me as much as possible. Some of the best advice I have ever received was from going and talking to professors during their office hours, even if it wasn’t a directly about their subject. The most important thing I have learned here isn’t the structure of hemoglobin or how photosynthesis works; it’s that I have to study what I love. My biochemistry professor gets genuinely excited nearly every day of lecture, and it’s because he’s doing what he loves: teaching his passion for all things nerdy with regards to life. It’s like that saying goes, if you major in what you love, you’ll never study a day in your life.

If you have any questions about being a prospective student, feel free to email me! I would love to share more about my experiences as a Railsplitter!

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Posted on November 5, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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