Working in the Admissions department, every day I am faced with the task of portraying the face of a Millsaps student and encouraging others that they too can envision themselves here. From day one (well actually a bit before then seeing as my older brother was here for 3 years prior to my freshmen year) I fell in love with the school, campus, and community and knew I wanted to share this love with prospective students. I can tell you that Millsaps is the PERFECT college for me and that I could not have seen myself anywhere else, but until just the other day I was never put on the spot and asked so summarize in ONE SENTENCE why.
A parent on one of my campus tours could tell through my incessant talking that I had an abundant pride for Millsaps; however, he wanted a quick summary of WHY. Why was I so in love with Millsaps? Why did I see myself at no other college? And why of all the colleges in the nation should his daughter choose Millsaps?
I can honestly say at that particular moment I had no idea. I mean who was I, a young college undergraduate, to tell an adult that his daughter should make a life shaping decision because it had been the best for me?! I paused for a moment in an effort to collect my thoughts, but I still was unable to provide a mere sentence that captures everything that Millsaps means to me and the role that it has had in my life. This is when I realized that I was having such a difficult time with this question, because there really is no single way to summarize Millsaps in one sentence. You can not capture something that has helped build the person that you have become in a single sentence, because it simply would be inaccurate. (as my Econometrics class has taught me I would undoubtedly suffer from specification error)
I have always been told that when I don’t know the answer to a question to simply admit “I don’t know”; however, this particular question I definitely knew the answer I just also knew that it would take me a good long time to (in my opinion) adequately answer. My solution: state the disclaimer that the question is rather difficult to answer in such a short amount of time and then proceed to ramble on until the parent and , more importantly his daughter, could vividly see my passion and love for the school.
Even this blog is too short to adequately describe why I chose Millsaps, and how the college has influenced my life, but I will do my best to give you some of the main highlights. (Considering I have a minimum of once a week to blog, I will continue to update the highlights as the weeks progress.)
The first reason that I gave as to why this man’s daughter should choose Millsaps is that they actually CARE. The teachers, faculty, staff, fellow students, and administration CARE that you get the most out of your four years here. The professors at Millsaps actually CARE that you understand the material they are teaching, and that beyond that you are able to foster your academic passion however you like. Professors offer research opportunities, help locate internships, offer additional one on one study time, hey my Economics professor even takes us out to lunch once a semester! At what other school are you sitting around a table eating burgers while discussing what the opposite of the Law of Diminishing Returns is?! The administration at Millsaps from President Pearigen to the records office all CARE that Millsaps students are treated with the utmost respect and that you are given opportunities to excel. There has not been a time when I have passed President Pearigen and he has not stopped to say hello, asked how my family is, or congratulated me on whatever my most recent accomplishment has been. This small fact is something that I have taken for granted until I recently stopped and thought, at what other college does the PRESIDENT not only know his students by name, but will go out of his way to talk to you no matter who you are? At what other school does the Dean of Students (Dean Katz) call each and every student by the title “Leader”. Any given day Dean Katz will enter a room with the greeting “Hello Leader Stevie, Leader Jennifer, Leader whoever else is in the room”, and the truth is.. he is right! We are all leaders at Millsaps, because that is what the college fosters in its undergraduates. The college community CARES so much about your success and development that they will do everything in their power to help you become the best leader (in whatever field) that you can be.
Ok for the pessimist who is thinking right now of another college where they care just as much about their students ,here is another reason. The academic programs and learning here is no joke! The saying often goes that Millsaps is the Harvard of the South. Newsflash…this is wrong! Harvard is fortunate enough to be the Millsaps of the North. Every undergraduate is expected to not only complete their requirements, but to excel in their field and to display this knowledge senior year in a comprehensive exam. “Comps” as they are called are not simply another tests, comps are the “yes or no” to graduation test…kind of a big deal! Millsaps aims to develop the most well-rounded well prepared individual for the world after college, so it is only fitting that in order to be honored with a Millsaps diploma one must demonstrate adequate knowledge. The percentage of Millsaps students that are employed or enrolled in grad school one year after graduation is astounding, and the acceptance rate into medical school is as well! I am currently studying my butt off for a Microeconomics test; however, because of my brother’s success I know it will all be worth it! A Millsaps degree is not just a slip of paper. A Millsaps degree, no matter what the field, carries an added value due to the excellent caliber of every department on campus.
As if academic rigor and personal attention were not enough, Millsaps doesn’t stop there. I tell my tours that there is not a day that goes by that I don’t have an email asking for help or offering me the opportunity to get involved in some sort of community service. Millsaps truly understands that not all learning happens within classroom walls, and that there are valuable lessons to be taught in the outside world through service. Whether it is the Faith and Work Initiative that offers specific courses geared towards service and calling, or the Wellspring community service program for Freshmen, Millsaps arms its students with service in every aspect. The business students help children operate lemonade stands and discuss marketing and profits. The English majors help out in the local elementary school’s library. The language students offer tutoring to foreigners in the Jackson area. EVERY Millsaps student serves the community in some way or fashion!
Yet again I have run out of time to adequately tell you why I chose Millsaps and why you should. You will have to be satisfied for now, and read later for more reasons why I found my home away from home at Millsaps!