Graduation: why I am grateful to my high school senior self

As graduation approaches, I enter a bittersweet, almost melancholic, feeling about leaving High Point University. How lucky I am to be stepping out into the world with a Bachelor of Science in biology. How lucky I am to not only attend college and pursue my education, but even more so at such an incredible university I was so fortunate to call home for the last four years of my life. This commencement period is a perfect time to press the pause button and reflect about what made my decision to attend High Point University so great.

It goes without saying that I made excellent friends and have enjoyed the traditional aspects of college like going to classes, hanging out on the weekends with friends and figuring out the work-sleep-social life balance. You will get that no matter where you go to school. Your college experience is what you make of it; what you put in is what you get out. But there are definitely certain aspects at HPU that made my college years incomparable to any other university.IMG_6283

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_62911. Relationships with professors: Each professor is truly concerned about the students, not only in the sense of progress in an academic regime, but also in mine, the whole health and spirit. Dr. Crater was one of the first members of the biology department that I met, beginning with my interview for Presidential Scholars Weekend as a senior in high school. Since then, I have had three classes and studied abroad the entire month of May with her in Ecuador. She specializes in molecular biology, but more than that she concentrates on getting to know her students. It is nice walking into her classroom and having her ask me about my family, and likewise me about hers. She is genuinely interested in hearing about what I have to say, whether its about biology, a book we just read for class, or philosophical discussions about how biology and religion work together in an ever-changing world. She even graciously agreed to write a letter of recommendation to accompany my application to dental school. I am thankful for her, among many other professors, who embody the “caring people” portion of the University’s motto: At High Point University, every student receives and extraordinary education in an inspiring environment with caring people.

2. Experiential learning: This is a huge component of High Point University’s culture that I’m sure you will not find anywhere else. Many of our classes at the university have a service-learning component, such as Dr. IMG_6289MacArthur’s biomedical ethics class, where my classmates and I volunteered with local schools in the community to help train the students for a 5K to encourage a healthy lifestyle and promote physical activity. And it’s not just in the classroom – the campus and atmosphere at High Point University are all working together for a holistic education that teaches through experience. All students love and enjoy going to the steakhouse on campus, 1924 Prime. The waiters provide us with new and informational tips about etiquette in fine dining situations such as business dinners and lunch interviews. Each month, we also have a different cultural series with food from a different global region. My absolute favorite part of experiential learning, however, was my Maymester to Ecuador and the Galapagos to explore biodiversity. I spent a month there with nine other students and two professors, Dr. Crater and Dr. Campbell. We IMG_6290experienced a variety of different climates, including the mountains, Amazonian rainforest, lowlands, cloud forest, beach and the islands. We saw an incredible amount of plants and animals, which was exciting because we took what we learned in the classroom and applied it to our fieldwork! High Point University offers numerous types of Maymesters within each major, which is exciting to explore. There are opportunities for experiential learning around every corner, from the generosity of the ice cream truck to the influential classical music and quotes on the Kester International Promenade.

3. Caring staff: Each and every person from the security guards to the restaurant workers on HPU’s campus embody what it means to be a caring person. I found it amazing that I received personalized emails and LinkedIn notifications from Eric Melniczek, career advisor, commending my progress and asking if he could help me in any way. I’m not sure you would find that at another university. We offer free tutoring for every course where students work together to IMG_4969improve their progress and understanding together. I sometimes even get free desserts from the ladies at the Great Day Bakery “just because!” It is a wonderful feeling to be known by name by the administration on campus and to say hello to professors and employees while walking through campus.

 

The overall spirit at HPU is unlike any other, and it continues to grow and thrive as each entering class comes to High Point University. We have paved the way to setting examples for good morals and quality education, with each and every student contributing. There definitely is a certain type of student who decides to enroll at High Point University – one who wants to challenge him or herself to become a better person in all senses, not just academic. I have grown as a person from the influences set before me and even from younger classes. My heart is heavy as I leave behind my college home, but I am excited as I start a new chapter of my life! Luckily (or maybe unluckily for some!), I will be in High Point at least until December as I continue my work with Pure Barre and start my internship while I apply to dental schools.

FullSizeRenderAs a side note, I would like to thank so many people at the university for helping me get to where I am today. I have certainly grown as a leader, scholar, friend, and much more, for which I am grateful.

As your college decision day approaches, think about how High Point University can better you as a person. We hope to see you enroll here! As always, please send any questions to me so that I can prove to you how extraordinary High Point University is and why it should be your future home, just like I decided four years ago today!

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Kara Benkovich

Class of 2016