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Where I Started, Where McDaniel Brought Me

Hello there everyone! My name is Whitney and I am so happy to have the opportunity to share my McDaniel experience with all of you! My experience started around early 2010 during the later half of my senior year in high school. I was one of 53 other seniors at my school frantically checking the mail every day for that large “congratulations” envelope. Other people in my class were waiting for responses from their number one choice school, or their parents’ Alma Mater. Not me. I was so confused and had no idea where I wanted to go after graduation. Being from Western Maryland, I had heard of Western Maryland College and I knew it was where my guidance counselor went to school. I had never heard a bad thing about it. I knew that it was a small liberal arts college in Maryland and that everyone I knew that had graduated from there had had a great college experience.

I had always been part of small communities. Small town, small school and class sizes, small families and friend groups. The idea of moving hours away from home and starting over on my own was absolutely terrifying, but I knew I had to do it for the good of my future. I did as much research on each school as possible. I checked out the professors, the types of classes, the number of people, the majors and minors offered, the location, and even the comfort level of the sweatpants. After each college tour, I bought a pair of sweatpants from that school. I knew that if I was going to be a student there I would need to feel comfortable and what’s more comfortable than sweatpants?! People thought I was crazy but I was dancing countless hours every week so each pair got a lot of use and one pair stood out from all the others. I also spent a while avoiding McDaniel because people kept pushing me to apply there and I didn’t want to be swayed by anyone, I wanted to make the decision on my own. Finally, I sent in my application, took the tour, and started wearing the sweatpants.

Months after all my applications were in, the mail started making me nervous. I had good luck so far and as I waited, I continued researching the schools and realized 2 schools would be good fits but only one would be a great fit for me. Finally I heard from all but one school. Granted, I had a lot of options to choose from but they all had a “con” column. I was leaving my voice lesson one day after school when my mom held a huge envelope out the window. As I ran towards the car, I realized it said “Congratulations” on the front but I was too excited to accept the fact that it was from my number one choice school. McDaniel had finally accepted me and wanted me as a student for the following fall semester. That’s when I knew everything was going to work out. The school that I had completely fallen in love with after eventually giving it a chance wanted me as a student. Oh, did I mention, I had decided about a week beforehand that my favorite sweatpants were the McDaniel ones?

If I had known then how many opportunities McDaniel would give me through the years, I would have sent in my deposit even faster than I did. Graduation came in late May and I was already ready to start my college journey. At the time I was entering as a Theatre Arts major, but I was also open to any opportunities. My Freshman year I considered my options for potential minors by taking art and writing classes, since those are two subjects I love exploring. Art was fun but not something I had enough passion for to work towards a specific goal. As I got to know the professors and other people in the English department and slowly taking more classes, I started seriously considering a second major. By the end of my Sophomore year I was double majoring in Theatre Arts and English with a Writing minor. I joined the service sorority on campus and became a part of student groups that help support a variety of great causes. I also found great on campus jobs, off campus internships and irreplaceable friends.

Then, because of the January term class I took, I found myself the chance of a lifetime! I stepped out of my creative world to study biomechanics for a few weeks. Our examples? audio animatronics created by Walt Disney. What better place to study these but Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. While in Florida we took behind the scenes tours of the science behind the magical world and we had to visit the attractions that featured those special technologies. Through our magical travels, I stopped to talk to the cast members in the parks and they told me over and over to apply for the Disney College Program. As soon as I got back to campus I started researching it and decided to go for it. Why not, right? After talking with my advisors and switching around my classes semester by semester to free up an entire semester, I found a way to graduate on time and participate in the program. The day I got my acceptance e-mail I screamed and ran in circles in my apartment. I immediately accepted my role in the program and my roommates surprised me with my favorite cake as a congratulations the next day.

Now I am finishing up the program in Orlando and preparing to return to campus for one last semester before graduating and moving the story of my life into a new chapter. Words cannot even begin to describe the opportunities this program has brought me and to think I would have never even heard about it if it weren’t for a Jan Term class offered through McDaniel just makes me even more thankful and happy that I chose McDaniel. Follow me as I conclude my college career and continue on the journey of growing up. There are so many things that McDaniel offers to the students that they cannot possibly all be covered, but I hope I can touch on some of the unique experiences I have had at this school and I hope they inspire you to start or continue your McDaniel journey.

A few things are for sure. McDaniel offers, unforgettable classes, professors, friends, and opportunities, and of course, very comfortable sweatpants (yes I still wear the ones I bought after my tour during senior year of high school and they are as comfortable as they were the day I bought them). Feel free to make yourself at home here on The Hill.

Have a magical day!

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