I am excited that we are back and ready to engage campus life with many diverse interests, goals, and dreams.
August is a special time on campus. Returning students are reconnecting with classmates and friends after three months of summer travel, internships, research, and rest. New students bring a level of anticipation and vibrancy that can be felt inside and outside the classroom. With each new year we have the unique opportunity to reflect, reset, and set an intention as learners that are part of an academic community.
Our year together will be filled with opportunities for you to grow, and my hope is that you seek out experiences that allow you to lean into your curiosity and learn something new. This may include taking a class with a challenging professor in a discipline outside of your current interests, joining a student organization with members that are different than you, or participating in arts and cultural events and programs. There has never been a more important time for graduates that are prepared to take on the greatest challenges facing our communities from a multidisciplinary perspective than this moment. When we have the courage to step outside our existing ways of knowing and doing, great things happen. Pushing beyond our perceived limitations in an academic setting fosters new knowledge, understanding, and self-confidence. Engaging in perspective taking allows us to learn from others, which evolves our thinking and helps strengthen empathy and critical reasoning. Your Rollins education will expose you to a range of courses and ideas in the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences so that you can engage different disciplines in an interconnected way as a global citizen and responsible leader.
I encourage you to make this year even more meaningful by leveraging programs that are part of Rollins Gateway including study abroad, community engagement, internships, social impact, and student-faculty research. I have no doubt that these “gateway experiences” will be a transformational part of your journey and lead you to more opportunities that will shape your interests and influence your passion for learning at Rollins and beyond.
As you experience the ups and downs of collegiate life know that you are not alone. Your faculty, staff, coaches, and peers are here to walk with you every step of the way. There is a community of support that surrounds you ready to provide guidance and mentorship as you engage this new academic year. Each one of you will take a different path and find powerful ways to make meaning of your education at Rollins.
I cannot wait to see what you accomplish!
Lord Family Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs for Engagement
Dean of Rollins Gateway
This article was originally published in our Welcome Back print edition on Aug. 18.