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Mansfield University offers quality education

A twice-alumni reflects on time at MU

 

by Rebecca Hazen - August 1, 2016

“Old Mansfield, high upon the eastern hill,
Dear Mansfield, hail to thee!
Thy loyal sons and daughters with a will
Salute in melody.
We bring a laurel wreath of praise,
And pledge our love thro’ all the days;
Our Alma Mater, dear, all hail to thee!
Old Mansfield, hail to thee!”

As I turned my graduation cap tassel to the left, and heard the words to the Mansfield University alma mater, cliche or not, the last 10 years of my life really did flash before my eyes.

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Mansfield University has given a lot to me over the years, and has shaped me into who I am today, probably more so than other students who have come and gone. After that graduation day, I can now say that I am the proud owner of not one, but two bachelor degrees from Mansfield University.

Mansfield seemed like the perfect fit. I remember 12 years ago, driving to Mansfield for the first time as a junior in high school with my parents to visit the university. As the mountains got higher and higher the closer we arrived, I can still remember that thrill in the pit of my stomach. Later that day, when we were in Manser Hall eating lunch, my mom asked me, “Well, what do you think?” And my eyes filled with tears. I had found my home away from home.

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I entered the class of 2010 as a mass communications major with an emphasis in journalism. I soon submerged myself with writing for The Flashlight, the student paper. That, along with having a wonderful journalism professor, Dan Mason, helped prepare me for the world of journalism.

Mason encouraged us to send in articles to the Williamsport Sun Gazette for their “Life in a College Town” section, written by students. I sent in multiple articles. The first one was about how Mansfield felt like home to me, and it gained attention from then president Maravene Loeschke. She thought the article was so nice that she took me out to lunch at the Penn Wells. President Loeschke has since passed away from cancer, and I am glad to have had that moment with her.

The Flashlight gave me a tremendous amount of journalism experience, and it also gave me a husband. I met my husband Derek during an editorial meeting. I was the editor of the news section of the paper, and he was an Intro to Journalism student looking for article assignments to fill his homework quota. The rest is history. We spent many a day (and late night!) huddled in front of our glowing computer screens, writing and designing various things, and now four years into our marriage, not much has changed!

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A few years later, we felt the calling to go back to school again. This time, we decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. It was the most challenging two years of my life. Since we had already previously taken the general education credits, we were on the fast track for the second degree. We had many more late nights at Allen Hall, the art building. It was all art, all the time.

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It all seems like one big blur, and one big anxiety attack, now that it is all over. But we came out on top, and with 4.0 GPAs too. In a particularly stressful moment, our professor Ken Cobb said to the class “If you are upset, stressed, and can’t sleep over something, it means you have passion. If you are confused and can’t wrap your head around something, it means you are learning.” I will try to always remember these comforting words. This is a useful lesson not just for the classroom, but in any part of my life.

So I was sitting in my seat during my second MU commencement ceremony on May 7, 2016, and all this and more was going through my mind. Our commencement speaker was Sheri Beam, a 1971 MU graduate. She asked us to raise our hands if we knew what we were going to do after graduation. Derek and I, among others, raised our hands. And it’s thanks to the school that we do know our path.

We decided to get a bachelor’s degree in graphic design because it pairs well with a journalism degree. During these two years, Derek discovered a newfound passion in designing, and because of that he decided to pursue a master’s degree in fine arts. He was accepted at the University of Houston, and we will move there this summer.

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I am excited to see what the University of Houston will be like, and what kind of an impact it will have on Derek. One major difference will be that Mansfield University has about three-thousand attending students, compared to UH’s forty-three-thousand students.

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Mansfield’s small campus is what makes a difference. When I first arrived on campus in 2010, the campus slogan was “Small university, big opportunities.” Today, the slogan is “Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders.” Both are equally true. I always say that I was able to succeed at Mansfield, and in my career, because I was a name, not a number. At Mansfield, you are able to get quality one-on-one time with professors and advisors.

Not only did I get a quality education at Mansfield University, one that I would recommend to any inquiring high school senior, but I also got a slew of memories to go along with it.

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I will remember attending Halloween and Christmas parties at the President’s house and receiving a tail wagging “hello” from Mountie, the president’s German Shepard. I will remember marching in homecoming parades and watching the reenactment of the first football game under electric lights during Fabulous 1890s Weekend. I will remember coffees at Jazzman’s Cafe, and selling one of my posters during our senior-year art show. I will remember the countless articles I wrote as a student journalist. I will remember football games, basketball games, concerts and plays. And yes, I get to brag to friends and family that I did indeed walk uphill both ways in the blowing snow and bitter gusts on campus.

Who knows where I’ll be in five, 10, or 20 years. Hopefully still writing, and maybe even in a large city such as Houston, or elsewhere. But one thing I do know is that, no matter where I am, or how successful I’ve been, I’ll always see Mansfield, high upon the eastern hill, as home.

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