Amelia Mary Struck
My Clarion story begins with me, senior year of high school, frantically trying to apply to college. I received Clarion's letter of acceptance, and was weighing my options and trying to figure out where I would get the money for my education, when I got a phone call from the school. "Congratulations on your scholarship!" said the voice on the other end of the phone. I was home alone and sitting in my room. "What scholarship?" I asked, as I racked my brain, visualizing all the mail and propaganda I had gotten from colleges in the preceeding months.
The man on the line seemed baffled as to how I had no idea about this offer. Frustrated, I grumbled and asked how much it was for, familiar at this point with the halfway-helpful "aid" most schools had offered me. He told me the Board of Governors was offering me a full tuition scholarship and I quite honestly believe I put the telephone on mute and screamed into my empty house with joy for several seconds. It was probably the most excitable phone call the man had ever been privy to.
Full tuition scholarship. To someone who was considering community college for financial reasons, who hit too many hurdles their senior year to apply for aid from the upper-crust schools who would have accepted such a student, this news was world-altering. I could now go to grad school nearly free of debt. I would not be as large a burden on my parents, who were holding up two mortgages. I only knew I wanted to do Biology.
I accepted Clarion's offer without ever having set foot on the campus. And now that I'm here, I can't imagine being anywhere else. Don't get me wrong, just like any other freshman I was insanely nervous, especially going into such a challenging and diverse major. But my first day of Biology Seminar I was reassured, we were introduced to the nuances and different focuses possible through a biology major at this school, and I receive emails daily about lab opportunities, internships, training programs, and other exciting experiences offered by the university and its affiliates. In the three weeks I've been here, just a month after I became an adult, I've made so many friends and tried so many new things I never thought I would. To me, Clarion is the open door through which I am passing on the way to a fulfilling career.