Stefanie Collier is living His way

September 1, 2011

When Stefanie Collier arrived at Florida College, she didn’t know anyone—in a place where it seemed like everyone already had a friend.

Overwhelming? Definitely. It was “kind of a shock.” But by the end of the first week, she was making plans to stay for four years.

“I was amazed at how close everyone was,” she says. “You get used to making friends in a [military family], but I think FC was the fastest I’ve ever made friends.”

Stefanie came from an Air Force family that moved—a lot. She moved from California to Florida to Italy by the time she was in middle school. Then, in her junior year of high school, her family headed back to California.

That kind of schedule doesn’t leave a lot of room to learn about Florida College and no time to attend camp. But when it was time to make college plans, she chose FC because it could offer something the big schools could not.

“When I actually thought about it, I knew I wanted to surround myself with people with the same values,” she says. “I mean, I could count all my Christian friends on one hand.”

So she packed her bags and bravely headed cross-country—again—but without the ready-made circle of friends and acquaintances that many new students have.

“I knew it would be totally different and scary and strange, but I was ready for that change.”

After one great meeting with her advisor and a little time spent getting to know her new roommate, Stefanie was sold, and the four-year elementary education program was a perfect fit. And now, as she heads into her senior year, she definitely feels prepared to teach.

“Some of the courses are pretty tough,” she says. “But they want you to get into it, and really be the teacher. It’s hands-on and realistic and practical [learning].”

And to Stefanie, the real value in her Florida College education is not only in academic preparation, but also in a support network that caught her by surprise. And she’d encourage anyone who is unfamiliar with FC to just come anyway.

“I know the feeling. Not knowing a single person where you are going. And leaving people that you’ve known your whole life. That’s scary,” she says. “But I’ve made a second family. Even if I haven’t known them for 18 years, I know them now and can go forward with that, because of who they are.”

That’s how Stefanie Collier is living His way.