Ryan Shutt is Living His Way.

February 29, 2012

For sophomore Ryan Shutt, the Florida College experience was about growing, learning, and taking responsibility—and it took a little while for it all to sink in.

“College is a whole different ball game and it takes some people longer to adjust.”

Ryan grew up in Bowling Green, Ky., a classic migration point for many Florida College graduates who plan to complete their degree elsewhere after a couple of years at FC. Yet, despite the fact that new Florida College students arrived in his hometown every year, Ryan chose to head away from home and take his own turn in Temple Terrace.

“The main reason was the opportunities I saw for spiritual growth,” he says. “Bowling Green is where I grew up, it’s where I was comfortable, it’s where I knew people. Coming down here forced me to learn independence, and so coming down here was better for me personally.”

Of course, it was hard to settle into the “college” part of Florida College initially, with so much fun to be had—and he admits he focused on the social aspect of the school more than the academic in the first semester.

And that’s where the growing up process began, first with the help of other students.

“I had several of my freshmen friends and we were all in the same boat. Several sophomores took us under their wings and showed us how to do things, taught by example, and encouraged us to follow in their footsteps.”

Ryan also grew through his association with his new church family—an opportunity he’d never experienced before, having grown up attending one congregation all his life.

“Every time I go, it is so encouraging to know there are so many members in the congregation that want to help me get closer to God.”

And, before long, Ryan was not only meeting his college obligations but also leading and excelling.  He calls his job as Athletic Director for the Zeta Phi society “a responsibility builder” and being a traveling camp friend is “one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done.”

Ryan is planning to head home after this year, and will transfer to complete his degree. But he can’t stress enough the value of taking some time to get away from home and learn responsibility, excellence, and leadership on your own.

And he has this advice for other students who grow up in a college town: the hometown university experience will always be available, but you only have one chance to experience Florida College.

“There is no where in the US like Florida College—and there is no price tag that can be put on the relationships and growth that [you] will experience.”

That’s how Ryan Shutt is Living His Way.