In the three years I have spent at Maryville College, I have become a better mother to my teenage children. I have had to interact with students who were not far off in age from my own children. I began to understand their perspective and realize that, while their path may not be as difficult as my own, the path they are on is the toughest time they have had to deal with in their lives to this point. The generation gap quickly melted away in my daily interactions and now some of my best forever friends are between the ages of 18 and 23.
I have also learned a higher level of patience from dealing with students of my own age. I have come to understand that we all have our own struggles and each one is unique. This patience, I believe, not only makes me a better wife and mother, but in general a better citizen to all around me. It has improved my listening skills and has allowed me to recondition and strengthen my level of compassion. A few of the positions I have held on campus have also inspired change in me.
My role as cofounder of the student organization Maryville College for Our Military and their Families was derived from a very personal and dear place in my heart; my husband is a Desert Storm veteran. The amount of respect that I hold for military service men and women, both past and present, is immeasurable. Having access to and utilizing the resources of MC to find even the smallest ways to try to give back to our men and women in uniform and their families seemed like an elementary decision.
Years, and many care packages and letters, later it still makes me smile to know that hopefully we provided a small sense of home and a temporary solace for those that may have needed it more than I could ever know. This role came early in my career at MC and ignited a passion within me to take a stand and lead where ever I could be of use.
As an ambassador, I have had the opportunity to deal with many students, but twice as many parents. Sometimes this is much easier for me because I am a parent myself, but there have been difficult times that have made me think long and hard about my own relationships with both my husband and my children.
Talking with my husband about some of these more difficult dealings has strengthened our bond and our resolve to work as a team. It has also helped me to not hover over my own children, one of which who has recently turned 18, and allow him to make his own decisions. So many of the difficult parents I have dealt with are still making decisions for their child, who is now a grown adult, and the unhappiness of conflict within them is easy to see. While it has been difficult to watch at times, the lessons it has taught me have helped bring an inner peace and happiness to my own family.
Over the years, MC has influenced multiple facets of my life and given me a community that I have had the pleasure to give back to.