The annual ALC New Student Summer Orientation, held every June, gives new students and their families an opportunity to better acquaint themselves with the ALC community. One member of the class of 2022, Callie Chaney, followed the event by writing about how and why she chose to attend ALC. The following is an excerpt from her blog, A Tapestry of Me:
In the county I have grown up in, everybody knows everybody; as of 2015, we only had around 15,600 residents. In the county seat (Wikipedia also ironically refers to it as the county’s “largest city”), we have the option of choosing between three fast-food chains and three locally owned restaurants. On weekends, there isn’t much to do except go to the next county over, and even then there isn’t much to do except walk around Walmart.
As bad as it sounds to live here, I do love this place. I want so much better for it in the future. But I never really imagined myself staying here.
Halfway through my senior year of high school, I started truly evaluating the scholarships I was being offered by large state universities. A lot of them were good, but not good enough. As a Governor’s Scholar, I expected to go wherever I ended up for free. I was always told it’s better to finish undergrad with the least amount of debt to make getting my feet off the ground a little bit easier. I had it narrowed down to two larger public universities, when a spokesman from the college within my county came to school and showed me I was eligible for the Presidential Scholarship — the Presidential Scholarship covers everything besides a parking pass.
Ok… but stay here in this small town for four more years? No thanks. I told myself the next four years are about getting “the college experience” even though I wasn’t quite sure what that was. I just knew I couldn’t get it here at a school that only has 600 students… or at least that’s what I had always been told.
But that offer kept weighing on my mind. I kept thinking, “Do I want to pay for somewhere that I only like because it has a lot of people and cool amenities? Or do I want to not pay for somewhere that I can get a great education?” I made pros and cons lists. I talked to alumni from every school I was considering. I asked people at my church to pray I would be directed towards where I needed to be. I prayed too.
I feel confident in where I’m at. I feel confident in staying in this county and attending Alice Lloyd College. I feel confident in saying I will still be getting the “college experience” because really it’s just all about learning to take care of yourself.
I feel confident in all of that because I went to registration yesterday. During the welcoming ceremony, my mom looked at me and said what I was already thinking: “I feel so good about you going here.” Doors had shut on every other campus I had visited. On some campuses I got terrible anxiety about being there, on others the scholarship offers weren’t great, and on one there was an actual riot the day I visited. But this one just fit.
I remember the first time I stepped on Alice Lloyd’s campus as a potential student. The first person I ran into was the President, and he told me that his wife had been hoping I would come there. I am already on a first-name basis with a few faculty members. I am rooming with my one of my best friends that graduated a year before me, and she will be an RA so there are two of us to a room rather than three. It feels like home… because it is home.
It’s not some large public university that I was expected to go to. It’s not 15 hours away from the house I’ve grown up in (it’s 15 minutes). It’s not a big sports school whose games are watched nationally. It’s a small little tight-knit campus and it’s perfect for me.
If you’re reading this and you’re looking at potential schools or aren’t confident in your decision, my most important word of advice is to make your decision for you. Don’t make it based off of the expectations others have set for you based off of your academic career thus far. They mean well, but they don’t know you and what you need to foster your success. You can get an education anywhere you go, regardless of how big or small or well-known or unheard of the campus is. If you’re serious about your education, attend a small college that focuses on education. Don’t worry about the big schools with rock climbing walls in their student centers and one person dorm suites. It sounds nice, but one of the reasons I didn’t prioritize those things is because it would be harder to develop a close relationship with your professors and stimulate your mind as you grow intellectually.
The History of Alice Lloyd College
Alice Lloyd College was founded by none other than Mrs. Alice Lloyd. Mrs. Lloyd had a heart for serving others and moved to central Appalachia from Boston to develop educational opportunities in Eastern Kentucky. She instilled a work-study program to ensure that no student was denied access to education because of financial difficulties, and the college continues practicing that opportunity today. Alice Lloyd College’s mission is to shape mountain people into positions of leadership by providing them a character based education. Since the formation of the school, Alice Lloyd and her friend June Buchanan taught the Purpose Road Philosophy (created by Harvard professor George Herbert Palmer):
By an inexorable law,
What we expect tends to come to us.
Facing life in the right way, we must have
Then hold the thought and work toward it.
It will come as dawns the day.