University 111: It's What You Make of It!

Dear Freshman,

            I want to start off by telling you that the people you see right now in your University 111 class will be some of your very first friends at Gardner-Webb. Unlike other classes, you will “learn” college with each other. You will take tours, complete service projects, participate in discussions, and wave to each other across the quad. This class will help you adjust to college life and teach you things that are essential for your time here at Gardner-Webb.

Each University class completes a service learning project. The service project that my class did was called Enchanted Forest, an annual nature walk through the trails at the Broad River Greenway. Held near Halloween, this is a popular community event for parents to bring their kids to enjoy all kinds of activities – from face painting and fun games to animal encounters. For this event to run smoothly, we needed people work on the safety team, the registration table, as tour guides, and to “act” as animals. I thought it was so neat to watch how everyone’s talents came together to make this event happen. I learned more about the community outside of Gardner-Webb, and I enjoyed meeting families from the town of Boiling Springs. Seeing how much they loved this event made me realize how special community involvement is to this town. I encourage you to take part in your service project and learn from the experience. It will be a time to grow with your classmates and the community.

You will be asked to read a book for the class. I advise you to find the time to read it and read it thoroughly. The book my class read was called “Little Princes” by Conor Grennan. It allowed me to learn about a place I knew nothing about, become more educated on the serious issue of human trafficking, and ultimately led me to become more involved on campus. After reading this book, I was asked to help orchestrate an event through one of the organizations at Gardner-Webb, Release the Captives. They wanted to organize an event that would raise awareness on human trafficking in Nepal. The event brought together freshman, upperclassmen, and even faculty and staff – educating beyond one University 111 class. Whatever book you are assigned, read it, research it, and act on it. Take what you learn and turn it into something bigger than yourself. 

You will have many assignments, so take the time to do them! We had assignments to map out our goals, four-year plans, and bucket lists. As insignificant as these assignments may be, they have helped me realize what I want in life and what kind of person I want to become. Writing out my goals has helped me plan out some things I want to do during my time here. Take the time to complete the assignments, make corrections, and take the opportunity to engage in activities while you’re here. Gardner-Webb has so much to offer, from mission trips and study abroad programs, to sporting events and skate nights, that you won’t want to miss a thing.

There will be times when you think this class is disorganized, a waste of your time, and requires too many assignments. My best advice is to think positively. Think about all the good things that class will provide for you – like your closest friends, countless memories, and the chance to find out who you really are. Enjoy your university class, classmates, and professor. One of the best things is seeing a familiar face while walking around campus!

Liz Jacques '21, Nursing Major (BSN).