On my tour at Presbyterian College, I was told that you will never be just a number at PC. Being the critical person I am, I scoffed and simply thought it was a clichéd marketing ploy that every other college used as well. I could not have been more wrong.
Shyness is something I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. In new settings, I certainly blush the second I introduce myself. In all honesty, going out of my way to meet people has never been a priority for me. The transition to college worried me since I would not have my friends and family to force me out of my comfort zone or make up for my quiet moments. My security blankets were gone. The new chapter in my life was daunting. Fortunately, I have been encouraged to grow so much the past few weeks thanks to genuine professors and amazing new friends at PC.
At New Student Orientation this summer, I sat in on a fine arts session. Two professors, Professor Ragland and Professor Anderson, were leading it. Honestly, I was not sure I would ever have a class with either of them. Fast forward to the start of the year, and I find myself in class with one of the professors, Professor Ragland. The course is Introduction to Theater. Talk about way out of my comfort zone! I ran in late and flustered because I could not find the room. I didn’t even make it to a chair before Professor Ragland said, “It’s my friend, Gracen! I am so happy you decided to take my class.” I will never forget that moment. A woman I met for maybe thirty minutes at New Student Orientation called me a friend and remembered my name.
A week later, I walk into the classroom again (early this time!) and Professor Ragland stops me. She says, “I was reading Othello last night, and Desdemona kept reminding me of you. You would really excel at that role.” I was floored. Not only did she know my name on the first day, but she also observed me enough to think about me outside of class.
Presbyterian College truly allows me to be an individual. It is a place that makes me feel as though I belong. The saying “You’ll be a name, not a number” is not just a sales tactic to attract students to the campus; it is a reality.
Gracen is a freshman student from Columbia, South Carolina.