When You Know, You Know
I won’t sugar coat it; my first experiences at the University of Jamestown were less than ideal. I missed my friends, I was stressed with the increased volume of schoolwork, and I missed my old ways of doing things; everything was just different, and not in the way I had desired.
By the end of my first month, I was convinced I was ready to pack up shop and transfer to another school. To make matters even more mentally taxing, by late October, my mother became seriously ill. Needless to say, my life was overcome with stress.
Soon, my focus was forced away from my studies, and I became fixated on becoming a supporter and stronghold within my family. Due to my mother’s rapidly declining health at the time, I missed roughly half of my first semester at UJ.
UJ does things differently
With 19 credits on my back and missing class day in and day out, I was prepared to withdraw from school entirely and try again the next year. It was at this time that I realized the University of Jamestown did things differently than most other schools.
There were countless professors and administrators who became aware of my mother’s condition (ya know… small town), and wanted to help in any and all ways possible. My professors offered me extensions on all my classwork and exams. They were in constant contact with me, not to press for details, nor to nag me about school, but to simply offer their kindest and sincerest words.
This moment was when I knew that I was where I was meant to be.
Miraculously, my mother made a remarkable recovery and was able to be home with my family for Christmas. After being able to catch my breath again, it was time for me to tackle the half-semester pile of homework and exams that had been following me around, breathing down my neck for the past 12 weeks. Not to mention, second semester had already started, so I was beginning to receive new work on top of the old.
This was a real defining point in my experience at the University of Jamestown. I was convinced I would be alone in attempting to keep up with second semester, while simultaneously making up the nine weeks I had missed of first semester.
One day, I was approached by three of my previous professors who had been discussing among themselves about how to help me get caught up in my studies. In order to get caught up, we met a few times a week to go over the work issued in the classes where I fell behind. The idea of them helping me was wonderful and all – don’t get me wrong – but the fact that I… a college freshman, complete stranger, and just another number at a university…was supported so altruistically through it all is what still resonates with me today. They worked faithfully to create what felt, and still feels, like a family-level bond with me. I can assure you, this type of relationship can rarely be experienced at other schools.
The educators, faculty, and administration at the University of Jamestown are truly different than most; here, they actually care.