Piedmont is an oasis filled with opportunities and experiences unique to a small campus. If you are like me, a small liberal arts college was not in your original plan. Yet, it instantly became the best thing you never knew you needed.
Going into my senior year of high school, I had grandiose plans that included a large out-of-state university and internships in Washington D.C. Coming to Piedmont did not change a single one of those dreams. Still, so many of my friends started handing down unsolicited advice: “Oh, you can transfer.” or “You really like the high school vibe, so that school will be perfect for you.” Sound familiar? For the most part, I just brush off the comments and moved on.
I’d be lying if I said that I never once equated small schools with a lack of ambition on the part of the students that attended them. I, too, was once guilty of the side eye when I heard one of my friends had decided on Berry College over Georgia College & State University. The thoughts about how much better they could do most certainly crossed my mind.
It was not until I arrived at Piedmont that I truly began to understand that small schools and small dreams are not at all synonymous. Not a single thing about what you are capable of changes when you step onto this beautiful campus. In fact, it can magnify your strengths and refine your weaknesses in a more personal way than a college that serves 15,000 students.
Here, our professors know our names and sit down to have meals with us because they care about who we are as people. There are no lecture halls that could fit our entire freshman class in them with room to spare. When it comes time to gather up recommendations, our professors do not have to look at their attendance sheets to remember who we are, which in turn makes those endorsements much more personal.
Sure, with big schools comes big name recognition. Unfortunately, when your course load is set up to churn out 4-year degrees similar to a factory assembly line, you miss the bigger picture about the college experience. When a Kennesaw State University student attends a football game, they are cheering for celebrities, and so is the rest of the Owl Nation. Whereas at Piedmont, the people on the field or on the court are family. Everyone in the stands cares about the athletes more than they care about the score. This can be said about Piedmont’s fine arts as well. Piedmont makes it easy for its student body to be a family.
There is no limit to the impact we can have while we are here, and certainly not after we graduate. Piedmont’s graduates have been major league baseball players, esteemed authors, congressmen and a soccer coach for the Atlanta Silverbacks.
Great minds come to Piedmont to be cultivated and inspired, and they leave with the potential to change the world because of the amazing possibilities a small college brings. At the very least, our war cry will never be as embarrassing as Hooty Hoo sounds.
Welcome Home, Lions.