Student Blog: Senior Reflection - Olivia Matz | Briar Cliff University

Student Blog: Senior Reflection - Olivia Matz

Student Blog: Senior Reflection - Olivia Matz

All of our students have incredible stories about the journey that brought them to Briar Cliff and how their experience here helped them become who they are today. In our Senior Reflection series, we'll share a few of these stories from students graduating in May 2019. #ThisIsBCU

We have all been waiting for this very moment whether that be the traditional four years or even longer with the completion of graduate programs. This moment became very real for me as the final semester starting winding down. I realized I would have to leave this place that we all call home, the place that we have ate, practiced, studied, rejoiced, and occasionally cried, and go out into to the real world where there won’t be meal plans or tutors to help when you don’t understand information. When I think of Briar Cliff, there are three main themes that stand out: a caring community, empowerment of students, and a sense of preparedness for the future.

When you think of a college education, you may first think about the academic education but Briar Cliff teaches you so much more. College teaches you that hard work truly does pays off, that there is more to learning than just memorizing equations, that what you do outside the classroom is just as important as what you are doing inside and that the friends you make are lifelong. Being a caring community is a resonating value that you can see through every faculty, student, and coach. Going to class is one thing but to be involved with your community is a trait we can take with us anywhere. Doing something for the community you live in and returning the favor to those who have helped you are strong motivators. Everyone, rich or poor, takes from society, and volunteering is one way to show a sense of appreciation. At Briar Cliff, caring community also means to be seen within our campus community. As a student ambassador, I have given countless tours but there is one tour that has always stood out to me. At the end of the tour, the prospective student says “Alright, for real. Does everyone on this campus smile this much normally? There is truly something special going on up here on The Cliff”. I believe this in my heart. Not only do professors want you to succeed but your fellow classmates want the best for you as well.

At Briar Cliff, everyone is given a voice. I have seen this academically, athletically, and personally. Professors always strive for student success and they will do whatever they can to make sure we have the tools to succeed. Due to our small class sizes, they get to know us very well and understand how we learn and when we are struggling. I have had teachers hold study sessions outside of normal class times, such as on Friday night, to prepare their students for tests. If you ever have a question, complaint, or problem with a test question or how the class is being taught, they will do their best to clarify it for you and accommodate what they can. In the athletic department, there are great coaches and athletic staff that will listen to your requests. There is a specific leadership team made up of every sport on campus that allows each representative to share their successes and any possible problems that could be fixed. Personally, I have been honored to be an ambassador for the newly implemented 1930 movement at Briar Cliff which works to empower women and give them a voice. We are at a place where great leaders are born and are being given the opportunity to be whatever we desire. Knowing that our voices matter gives the students of Briar Cliff a sense of confidence that we can take anywhere.

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for,” said John A. Shedd. At Briar Cliff, we are given the tools necessary to sail. We are given the boat (knowledge from classes) and the map (help from professors) to push us in the right direction and give us guidance. All that is left is looking for the right time to push off the dock and sail. Today is that day. We are pushing off and setting sail. Life is a wonderful journey. A course that you set and determine by the choices you make each day. Even though we are taught the mechanics of sailing, it is how we use this knowledge in the face of adversity that will set us apart. There will be stormy oceans ahead but those are all learning moments. We may have to make modifications to the boat, but we will all grow and learn to dance gracefully with the harsh waves. It is during the times of success that people will know our name, and it is during the times of trouble that people will know our character. Step out to meet the world with your mind prepared and your skills tuned because it is time to show the world what we have learned here at Briar Cliff University. As Frank Outlaw said: “Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”

Tags: Biology, Graduation, BCU, Student Life, Spanish, Commencement, Student Blog