How has your Envision experience impacted your life?
I grew up in a small town where most people knew my name (my mom was a teacher). My Envision program was the first time I was away from home without family or friends from my hometown. Being on my own was the first time I really started thinking about who I was and who I wanted to be. It made me realize that I could look more broadly at college options – I didn’t have to go to a school where everyone else was going because it was safe and comfortable. I was around people from all parts of the country, with different experiences and backgrounds. It opened my eyes to all of the options I had available to me not only across the country, but across the world.
How do you incorporate your experience into your work at Envision?
I often think of ‘high school’ me during the summer. The nerves I felt on the first day of the program (Was I going to make friends? Was I going to like my roommate?), the pride my parents felt dropping me off at the housing site (after a stop at the mall because I didn’t have dress shoes), and the effort that went into funding my tuition. Remembering those moments helps me empathize with our students and families and makes me want to come into work every day. I know what Envision did for me as a student, and I want to be a part of providing that experience to other students.
How did your experience influence the decisions you made after the program?
It changed my college choice. Prior to the program, I was planning on attending a university that a number of people in my town attended. It was a good school, but at the Envision program, I realized I didn’t want to pick up my high school experience and just move it to a different setting. I wanted a new experience, so I looked at different colleges, ultimately choosing one that was a great fit for me.
How have you seen Envision programs impact students over the years?
The academics of our programs are strong – not only are students gaining tremendous content knowledge from our curriculum, our speakers or our site visits, but they are also gaining confidence. It is the student like me who is away from home for the first time. The student who is flying for the first time, has a roommate, makes new friends, or needs to set an alarm to get up in the morning on their own. All of those seemingly little things that build the self-confidence and independence that students need to truly be successful. The change you can see from students on departure day vs. arrival day is amazing – they walk taller and with more purpose because they know they can do it.