WILMINGTON — Senior Logan Schroer shared his transformational Wilmington College experience with members of the Class of 2024 Friday at the virtual New Student Convocation. It’s one in which a shy and reticent new freshman blossomed into the confident and accomplished president of the Student Government Assn.
“My freshman year I was scared to death. I was without my family and friends for the first time in my life. I felt alone,” Schroer said noting that, for the first few weeks he only went to classes and returned straight to his dorm room. “I didn’t say anything to anybody, not even my roommate.”
Soon, Schroer realized his freshman classmates also were facing the life-changes and new world inherent with starting college, to which everyone reacts differently. He ultimately saw this new life at Wilmington College as an opportunity rather than a threat. He chose to get involved on campus by joining the swim team and. campus organizations.
“From that day, these have honestly been the best days of my life!” he said. “I challenge you not to make the same mistake I did. Talk to people. Ask for help if you need it. Choose to get involved and experience everything Wilmington has to offer.”
Schroer also urged the new students to have an open mind to “new ideas and beliefs and lifestyles that could challenge your own.” Indeed, today is an open book with blank pages in which new students have an opportunity to reinvent themselves if they wish and exceed any standards that anyone has set for them.
“Wilmington College truly is a beacon of hope for all of us. It’s a chance to start over, to have a new life and a chance to find your true self,” he added. “Be the hero of your own story!”
Starting the academic year are 327 freshmen and 64 transfer students engaged in several days of new student orientation before fall semester classes start Monday, Aug. 24. The contingent comes from 15 American states and five nations outside the U.S. They were leaders in high school and, collectively, boast a 3.4 grade point average with 53 earning perfect 4.0 GPAs in high school or previous colleges.
Among others, Interim President Erika Goodwin welcomed the new students. She introduced herself as a WC alumna and, since 1995, faculty member, academic administrator and, now, president, as well as a product of Clinton County.
“This is a place that I love and a place I’ve seen give love and support to hundreds of students,” she said. noting they have the distinction of being the 150th entering class at the institution. Goodwin said they will encounteter a “dedicated and determined” faculty and staff as their partners in education, but it is up to them to chart their own paths by taking advantage of all WC has to offer.
The president offered a quartet of tips for success, beginning with, as Schroer emphasized, getting involved on campus. “Talk, don’t text. Don’t be afraid to meet people,” she said. “And take classes seriously. What you do in the next few years determines what you the rest of your life.
“When you start thinking about Thursday afternoon classes being too long or 8 a.m. classes on Monday being too early, consider that you have 45 years of work life ahead of you, How successful you want to be is up to you.”
Finally, Goodwin encouraged the students to explore a variety of courses and subject areas. “Become well-rounded and broadly educated,” she added. “One day you’ll value the knowledge you’ll gain from the liberal arts education you’ve had at Wilmington College.
“Don’t have any regrets when you look back upon your time here.”
Goodwin, Schroer and others offered their words of wisdom against the backdrop of starting the academic year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, the students are well aware of a plethora of protocols in place — ranging from academics and residential life to athletics and social interaction — all designed to help keep the entire campus community safe.
“Your year is starting much differently than a normal one, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be just as meaningful, ” Goodwin said, noting that while, “We can’t let fear take the joy out of our lives,” it’s essential that the entire campus community buys into measures that will help ensure the school year proceeds as planned. That includes wearing facial coverings, physical distancing and maintaining effective hygiene.
“We can be here together on campus only as long as it is safe,” she said. “Wearing masks is a sign of respect that all persons deserve — we should care enough to want to protect each other. Together, we can, carefully, enjoy this new academic year at Wilmington College.”
Goodwin left them with her desire that they succeed in their new endeavor, one that will impact the rest of their lives. “You can make the next few years what you want them to be. This place is home to me. I think you’ll find it to be your home too.”