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Rising sophomore and psychology major Melissa Patton has spread her involvement far and wide during her first year at Olivet College. She has been making the most of every opportunity, and she is still proud of her decision to become a Comet.

Coming from Big Rapids, Melissa grew up near a university and was familiar with college life. It was challenging to make a college decision for Melissa — debating between staying close to home or following her heart farther away.

“I chose Olivet because not only did I want to move away from home, but I fell in love with the campus the very first time I visited,” she said. “Jared Stratz, director of admissions, hosted a college visit at my high school, and while talking with him, I fell in love with just the description of the school. My family didn’t have that much money to work with to send me to college, and Olivet was able to help me get in with ease. My best friend attended Olivet alongside me, so that brought me to officially go through with attending Olivet as well.”

Melissa is grateful for her best friend and first-year roommate, Hailey Sisson, along with a few members of our wonderful staff who helped her adjust to college life. “My best friend and Jared Stratz both helped me. Jamilia Johnson, Women’s Leadership Institute recruiter and coordinator, was also helpful and managed to increase my Women’s Leadership Institute scholarship,” Melissa said. “Jamilia and Jared were both very helpful throughout the summer prior to my first year, and they were always willing to answer any and all of my questions regarding college. Both were introduced to me during my campus visit during January of 2019, and they were incredibly personable and kind, as if I was already a student of the College. Making friends around campus, specifically by joining Alpha Lambda Epsilon, has helped me solidify my desire to remain at Olivet College. Earning the Board of Trustee’s scholarship helped me immensely to be able to attend, as financial aid is truly a blessing to students who wouldn’t be able to attend as easily otherwise.”

Once Melissa felt comfortable on campus, she didn’t hesitate to get involved with clubs and organizations.

“I am a part of Alpha Lambda Epsilon (Alpha E), the Difference Makers, the Global Citizen Honors Program, Psych Club, and I am a recent graduate of the 2020 ATHENA International Women’s Leadership Institute,” Melissa said. “The Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI) was a program I joined because I believe that women’s empowerment is important in every sort of progressive way. Jamilia Johnson reached out to me to assist me with everything I needed during the preceding summer to my first year, and that helped me realize how personal this college really is. WLI is a beautiful group of women who were very kind and supportive; whether it be within the Institute or around campus, being a graduate of the 2020 program is an honor, and I know that this group will be a support system throughout my college years.”

Melissa’s experience in extracurricular activities has led to her personal and professional growth, and she knows this is just the beginning. “At Olivet, I’ve learned how to be my own person living so far from home,” she said. “Joining Alpha E, which I got to experience through Olivet, has changed me in many unexpected ways. Going Greek taught me the importance of holding bonds with others, and I now have a great load of resources when it comes to my Greek siblings and our alumni that all are willing to help with anything and everything needed, which has been extremely beneficial.”

“I never realized how much your life can change positively in just one simple year of college, nor did I ever realize you could make so many friends and connections through a smaller college. My experience as a Comet has truly taught me the meaning of ‘Be More. Do Good.’ Our campus is enriched with opportunities for philanthropy and service, and Olivet has enforced the importance of that. The College has shaped me into opening my mind to even more ideas and possibilities than I ever realized was possible, especially through classes such as Self and Community. Olivet is such a different experience than what you would expect a typical private institution to be. Our college is so personal, and with it being so small, there’s a greater chance to meet people and make new friends. Our College truly does feel like a family, as everyone says. We have so much to offer, despite our size, and that makes it easier for students to find their place around campus.”

Learn more about Olivet College by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu.

This feature was written by rising junior Chad Enwright, Marketing and Multi-Media Student Associate. He is a resident adviser, member of the football team, chief recruitment officer for Phi Beta Lambda and a business administration major who aspires to invent and operate his own high-tech, home security and automation business.

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