Student Spotlight – Breanna Gracz ’14
My Home Away From Home
Although one of my jobs as Alumni Relations Intern is to write articles regarding the lives of Ripon alumni, this month I was given a different task; I was asked if I would talk about my own life. At first I thought that a self-reflection piece would be less challenging, but as I started to brainstorm ideas for my article, I quickly realized how difficult it truly is to describe myself in words. I couldn’t help but wonder where to begin since I can honestly admit that I have never been faced with a situation where I was asked to interview myself, although I did get a few good laughs imagining myself standing in front of a mirror asking myself questions. After considering aspects of my life that I would like to share, I decided that explaining my reasons for choosing Ripon College would be a good start to a perplexing task.
During my senior year of high school my fellow classmates and I were feeling the pressure of making a huge life decision, where to go to college. Unlike most of my friends, I was not interested in large universities, although I did consider Arizona State University with hopes of escaping the Wisconsin cold once and for all. However, attending ASU was merely my own wishful thinking. I knew that I wanted to remain fairly close to home since I have always had an extremely close bond with my family. I toured other small, private schools throughout Wisconsin but was unable to picture myself spending the next four years of my life at any of the schools I visited.
After these failed visits I began to get worried, and decided to revert to my dependable resource, the internet. Thanks to Google, I ran across the link that directed me to Ripon College and immediately set up a time for a private tour. Not only was I excited to finally feel like I had located a college that fulfilled my requirements, my parents enhanced my excitement by telling me that my great uncle was an alumnus of Ripon College (Ken Fedor ’62). After touring Ripon I was extremely impressed. The individuals that I met during my visit were exceptionally friendly, made me feel as though they truly cared about me as a person, and introduced me to another prospective student who is still a good friend of mine today. It is hard to describe through words, but at the end of the tour, Ripon College was already beginning to feel like my home away from home. That one visit solidified my decision in making Ripon College my school of choice.
After looking back upon that decision I made almost two and a half years ago, I couldn’t be happier with the choice I made. If I were given the opportunity to relive the moment when I made my college choice, I would not change a thing. This is the part of the article where I really begin to struggle with explaining my emotions with regards to Ripon College. Although college only represents a small portion of my life, I feel like Ripon has had some of the greatest impacts on my life. For example, my constant involvement on campus has allowed me to create so many fond memories. Thus far in my college career I have participated in intramural sports teams, dance groups such as Rrumba, have been vice president of a volunteer organization known as Circle K, a student senator for Independent students, and a member of the Summer Orientation Committee. This semester in particular has been extremely memorable. At the beginning of the semester I was given the amazing opportunity to work alongside Dr. Hatcher at the Green Lake County Jail in his women’s counseling session, and have also tutored male inmates on a weekly basis. In addition to my internship at the jail, I was honored to start my internship in the Advancement Office, and as of a few weeks ago, am now in the process of becoming a sister of Alpha Delta Pi.
Aside from all of the wonderful memories that I have accumulated through on-campus activities, my busy academic schedule as a double major in psychology and French, and a minor in sociology, has given me the chance to develop close relationships with not only fellow students, but faculty members as well. I actually find it challenging at times to view certain faculty members as anything other than my friends. These relationships that I have developed with the faculty, particularly professors in the psychology and French departments and staff members in the Advancement Office, is something that I truly believe is unique to Ripon College.
Even though this article tested my writing abilities and creativity, it was incredibly rewarding to be able to talk about such an important and meaningful aspect of my life, Ripon College. The people that I have met during college have become some of my closest companions, and I sometimes wonder how I ever survived before without them in my life. The academics have truly impressed me, and overall I feel as though I have become a more well-rounded person because of my experiences at Ripon. Although I am quickly nearing my final year in college, I know that the memories I have created as a student will always keep Ripon College close to my heart, no matter where life may take me.
Written by Breanna Gracz ’14
Alumni Relations Intern