Today, we feature Abbigail Ealer, a first year History major from Washington Township, NJ. Abby is in the Honors program and a mentee of the Bantivoglio Leadership and Service Training (BLAST) peer mentoring program, which pairs upperclassmen with incoming Honors students to help guide them through their first semester in Honors and at Rowan. Abby speaks with us about her experience in the program and her first year of college.
What was the transition to college like for you? How did you push through any challenges?
I was definitely nervous. This was the first time where I’m going to school with people I don’t know. I’ve gone to Catholic school my whole life, so from grade school to high school I’ve known everybody. It was very weird going to classes like American Government where most of the students were upperclassmen and I didn’t know anyone.
On your busiest day, what responsibilities do you find yourself juggling?
Wednesdays are definitely my busiest day of the week. I have three classes and I have BLAST at night. As a commuter, I drive all the way to campus for my classes during the day, then have to drive back home at night. My BLAST group gets out around 7:30 p.m., so I don’t get back home until late. It’s really hard to get any work done that day.
What are the three classes you have that day?
I have Western Civilization at 9:30 a.m., American Government at 12:30 p.m., then Honors Comp II with Prof. Flocco at 2:00 p.m. I have a break in the middle of the day between classes and BLAST and I usually spend that time with my sister (who is also a Rowan student) or with my friends.
What have you enjoyed most about BLAST?
Honestly, friendships are the most valuable things. The mentors give us really great and helpful advice, but I’ve made some really great friends that have been super supportive and helpful. I’ve talked to them regularly outside of our group after finding out that we have classes together. They’ll even walk me to my car after our meetings. They always invite me to come with them to different events on campus, which is really sweet and inclusive.
How are your mentors?
Our mentors are great and they are also becoming my really good friends. I think it’s helpful to have friends who are upperclassmen because they can serve as a guide to us younger students.
Tell us about a moment that made you feel like Rowan was a good fit for you?
There was this Honors event that I went to where we were able to meet the deans of our college. I’m a history major, so my college is the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. I met this girl at the event who was in the same college. She overheard me talking about how I was interested in Museum Studies, which happened to be an area of interest for her as well. She said to me, “I’m doing the same thing! Let me get your number,” and she spent thirty minutes just giving me all the information she could about the program and typed it all up in a google document. That moment made me realize that this university isn’t just a school. It’s a community. People want me here, they want to help me succeed. Not just faculty but the students as well. It was just a really wonderful moment and made me feel like I belonged.
What advice would you give to a high school student about choosing the right college?
Go with your gut. That’s what I did. I almost went to community college to save money, but I just felt like that wasn’t the path for me, so I came to Rowan. I don’t think if I went down any other path that I would be as happy as I am now.
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