Caitlyn Myers is a 2020 graduate of Logan High School. She is in her junior year at University of Findlay, and is studying Early Childhood and Special Education. This story is adapted from the presentation she gave at the 2022 UF Scholarship Luncheon.
Throughout my senior year in high school and the COVID pandemic, I had no idea what the future would hold. Even more importantly, I didn’t know how I was going to pay for a college education. On April 21st, a month into the COVID shutdown, we had our local scholar’s night, pre-recorded due to the pandemic, where a plethora of local scholarships would be awarded. Throughout the night, I received 10 local scholarships, totaling the exact dollar amount that I needed to attend UF, all due to donors selflessly giving to make the dream of college possible for students like me.
Fast forward to August 2020, when I, a very hesitant college freshman moved in to my first dorm on the University of Findlay campus. I would spend the first two semesters adjusting to college life, and maybe most significantly, getting to know my professors, all of whom were wonderful and made sure to go out of their way to ensure that UF felt like home.
After a challenging, but wonderful, first year of meeting many amazing people and campus beginning to feel like home, I started to worry about whether coming back would be financially feasible. When going in to register for the following semester’s classes, my advisor, [UF assistant professor of Teaching in Education] Susan Brooks, asked if I planned to return. I gave her the honest answer, which was that I didn’t know if I could. She took this to heart and helped me to pursue every option possible to find the additional funds to come back. I was walking out of her office that day when it hit me: I may not have had the “normal” college experience as a freshman, but it was amazing, even when masked and unable to see the smiles of those around me. This was largely because of my professors and the College of Education.
Later, in July, I was walking on the streets of Amish Country with my best friend when I got the email letting me know that I had been selected for the Kenneth and Susan Brooks Family Scholarship, as well as the Grace L. Farrell ’36 and Christina T. Florence ‘94 scholarship. There are no words to describe the thankfulness I felt in that moment. I found myself crying on the streets of Amish Country, knowing I could go back to UF.
As a result, this year I have been given the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience and knowledge that most students, in my case, education majors, do not get until much later in their degree. I spent one semester in a preschool classroom at Findlay City Preschool, where I loved every minute, and this semester, I am placed at Van Buren High School in a 9th-12th grade language arts resource room. These experiences would not have been made possible without those who have invested in UF and believed in the education they provide for me and many others. Through these experiences, I have been blessed with the opportunity to touch the lives of various students, and more importantly, have watched these students grow and flourish. I have also been blessed with the opportunity to learn valuable lessons that I will one day carry into my own classroom. Additionally, I have been given the opportunity to get more involved by participating in The Student Education Association, where I am the Vice President elect; Kappa Delta Pi, where I am the secretary elect; and Collegiate FFA, Campus Ministries, and STRIDE.
I am forever grateful for the community that the University has provided to me. I can say with great certainty that my college experience has been nothing short of amazing because of the donors and scholarships that allow me to return to campus each year. I think people often forget that paying for college is challenging from year to year, but donors give us the opportunity to continue writing our stories. They are what holds our campus together, ensuring that students who have dreamt of this experience, and who are pursuing their careers, are able to reach for the stars. Donors impact this campus in more aspects than we may imagine. From facilities, activities, organizations, and so much more, our donors make UF work like a well-oiled machine. Their impact is one that will not be forgotten, nor taken for granted.