Aug. 16, 2013
When my daughter started college three years ago I was an absolute jumble of mixed emotions. As I got on the plane after dropping her off in Scotland, I was proud, excited, happy, sad, nervous, and yes, more than a little jealous.
New friends, new experiences, new learning, that first taste of independence—I’m guessing I’m not the only one a little jealous of college students each fall. Even with tough classes, late night cramming, final exams, research papers and grades, going to college is still a pretty fantastic experience, especially at MSU. I think most people might not even truly appreciate it until they get into the real world of 9-to-5 jobs, bosses, mortgages and routine.
Though students might not believe it, I think a lot of people miss not just the fun and friends of college, but also the excitement of learning, the wonder of broadening horizons, the delight of discovery.
Working at MSU gives me a chance every August to have that jealousy sparked. The U-hauls pull up, carpets and mini-refrigerators are unloaded, parents cry and students begin this new chapter in their life. I’ve volunteered the last few years to help with move-in day through a great program run by the MSU Alumni Association. I love the air of excitement that the day brings and I love being a part of it—even if I am a little jealous. (Volunteer here)
Though I went to MSU, it’s a little different now than when I was here living in Campbell Hall. I sometimes think what I would do differently if I were a student now.
In 2006, the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities launched their degree program. Once I learned about it, I knew that’s exactly what I would have studied had it existed when I was a student. It’s a living-learning degree option housed in Snyder-Phillips Hall and focuses on literature, history, ethics, the arts, culture and civic engagement. Classes are small, creativity is big and students chart their own paths. To me, it seems like a pretty cool way to get a degree.
According to Steve Esquith, dean of RCAH, it seemed like a pretty cool way to a lot of the parents he met too. Many were intrigued by the concept, and yes, a little jealous. So Dean Esquith decided to offer that second chance, or maybe even a first, to those parents.
Two years ago he started “Parents College” at RCAH. The program lets parents spend a summer weekend at RCAH, learning, discussing and creating in the same way that their kids do during the school year. Read Dean Esquith’s Faculty Voice to learn more about this innovative program.
Parents College is just a small slice of life as an RCAH student, but real students are totally immersed in the experience. Sophomore Kelsey Block came from a small farming town to RCAH. The program helps make this big place a bit smaller, but it’s still been an adjustment. Kelsey started a blog about her experience—read her entry in the Student View that offers some advice for incoming freshmen, who will be on campus before we know it.
And when they do arrive on campus, I’ll be volunteering again on move-in day. I want that taste of excitement. I even want to feel a little jealous again.
Photo of the The "Funambulist" statue in the courtyard of Snyder-Phillips Hall, home to RCAH, by Derrick L. Turner