Author: Jennifer Griffin, First Year Student at Davidson College

I graduated from Polk County High School in 2017 and am currently a freshman at Davidson College. As a first-generation college student and a member of a low-income family, the reality of having to put myself through college initially intimidated me. I assumed that more selective schools would be too expensive. However, my college adviser, Matt Renn, suggested Davidson College. The school’s promise to meet 100% of calculated financial need was a promise that reopened a door I had begun to believe was closed. I feel a considerable part of my acceptance was due to Mr. Renn’s genuine dedication. He helped me present my best self in the application and worked to ensure that everyone was always on the same page (after numerous phone calls, we are both on a first name basis with a member of the financial aid office).

It is this same dedication to helping students that I find myself surrounded by at Davidson. The sense of community created by the multitude of marvelous staff, bright fellow students, and caring community members has contributed to my being able to call Davidson home. The transition was certainly difficult for me, as it is for most freshman, but this sense of community made it all the easier. I soon found myself forming new friendships, creating new study habits, and exploring various hobbies that had never before been presented to me. I have attended weekly meditation classes and small late night concerts, as well as religious services and a Davidson tradition known as “midnight scream.”

I believe that for me, along with many other students, the most difficult aspect of transitioning to college is the very real concept of grade deflation. In high school, I was used to getting easy A’s…which is not necessarily a part of my new reality. However, everything seems to have turned out okay post first semester (only a few tears were shed). All classes were passed, that paper I thought I would never finish is but a distant (and suppressed) memory, and winter break has brought the solace of much needed sleep…only for me to realize halfway through break that I’m ready to go back, to take it all on again, this time knowing that I’m more prepared. Hopefully!

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