More Than a Statistic: Why We’re Number One

September 27, 2012 Op-Eds, Opinion

Our eight-year reign holds a deeper meaning for most students. A well rounded education and a faculty of caring professors is what truly makes Rollins number one in the south.

For the eighth year in a row, U.S. News and World Report named Rollins College the number one school in the south. In our bracket we received high marks in student- teacher ratio, retention rate and graduation rate. While it is amazing that we have achieved this title yet again, it is a logistical recognition, not a personal one. It reduces us to a number. As students who live and breathe this campus for four years, what makes Rollins number one for us? What makes Rollins special to us?

The professors on campus are a large part of our success. They are not here to make us feel inferior because they have a bunch of titles and degrees. They are not trying to beat us into submission with papers and exams. Our professors do not even want us to agree with them all the time. They want us to excel above and beyond our potential and to come up with our own beliefs. And unlike some overgrown universities, they are able to work with us one-on-one. “They really care about each individual student as a person instead of a number,” says Halston Snell ’15.

Our school’s being considered the best in the south does not mean the infamous T- word has not crept through some of our minds. The idea of transferring can be daunting and we try to avoid it as much as possible, but upon arriving many are overwhelmed with classes, work and clubs. Others struggle to find their niche or realize what worked in high school does not work well in a college setting. Some bounce between friend groups because they have no clue who they fit in with.

Snell admits, “There was a time where I wasn’t bonding with the school. With some students here I felt like an outcast; but recently, as I’ve gotten more involved, I don’t think about transferring.” Crysta Vickers ’15 also thought about leaving. “At first I thought about leaving because I lived off campus. It was a long commute and I felt as if I wasn’t fitting in because I wasn’t able to socialize with anyone. No one knew who I was. After my second month at Rollins, that notion went out the window.”

The liberal arts education we have at Rollins is beyond useful. While some parents and politicians would argue it is worthless and a waste of time, I have found that I can apply my well-rounded education to anything I do, and especially in what I plan to do after college. “Everything has been better. I’m getting a narrowed education in what I want to do while having the general education with it. Liberal arts helps develop you as a person,” says Vickers.

Ultimately, Rollins is number one because it changes lives for the better. And while no institution is perfect, by taking advantage of all the resources provided to me, I have little to complain about. I get to wake up on a beautiful and sunny campus that basks in summertime almost all school year (those few but always unexpected days of forty degrees can be killer). I attend class with professors who care and truly want what is best for me. I have made friends with people I cannot imagine out of my life. If Rollins is not number, who is?

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