Caitlin Davis '17

FIVE LARGER-THAN-LIFE LESSONS I LEARNED AT MOUNT MARTY COLLEGE

A successful college experience is much more than memorizing words from textbooks and filling notebooks with handwritten words. Academics are important, but a truly beneficial college experience gives you a desire for continuous self-exploration and the tools for exponential growth. As a law school student now studying at Colorado Law, I am thankful for the personal and professional experiences and relationships that I gained at Mount Marty College. The five lessons below are what I learned, and I hope that you can benefit from these reflections in some capacity.

Develop your own personal mission statement.

To this day, I can still recite my personal mission statement by memory. I wrote it during my Freshman Seminar class at Mount Marty College, and today it’s written on my wall, subtly reminding me of my purpose every day.

“To live courageously by always seeking the adventure and simplicity in life. To dance to the beat of my own rhythm while positively impacting those that I encounter along the way.”

I am thankful for that class and the growth that it prompted during my first year away from home. My professor, Jan Hausman, was passionate about her students. Her lessons taught me to utilize all of the opportunities available to me. By dismissing an opportunity before even engaging in it, you’re missing out on a chance to be a better version of yourself. This is only one of the many valuable lessons that I gained from Mount Marty College, and I continue to cherish them as I grow at Colorado Law.

The most meaningful thing that you’ll ever do for yourself is to use your gifts to serve those around you.

Before college, I didn’t participate much in volunteering or service. To be honest, I was seventeen years old with too narrow of a perspective to see the value within such an activity. Mount Marty’s mission is to prepare students for a contemporary world of work, service to the human community, and personal growth. My freshman year, I made the decision to leap out of my comfort zone and attend a winter service trip to Oklahoma and Texas where we worked with Habitat for Humanity and helped with the aftermath of a fertilizer plant explosion. It was on this first service trip that I realized the inherent power that we possess – to positively impact those around us. A seed was planted inside of me, which sparked my love for serving others in whatever capacity I am able. That same year, I went to Haiti with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes where we worshipped with the community, conducted sports camps for children, and learned from one another. These experiences humbled me to my core and created a fire within my soul to continue serving others for the rest of my life.

Never underestimate the power of community.

Perhaps the most important lesson that I learned through Mount Marty is that there is endless power in community. It wasn’t until I became a Resident Assistant that I fully appreciated community. Through this leadership position, I was able to facilitate community activities and provide support to my community members. In addition, the college has many clubs and organizations that allow for a sense of community. My favorites were Student Government, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), and STEP (Service Training and Exploring our Potential) Club. With a smaller atmosphere, I was able to be involved in all of these activities, enabling me to become more involved in my community. I could always feel the sense of community on campus as I walked through the halls and said hello to everyone I encountered by name. Every face was comforting and familiar.

Community is a crucial value in my life. I believe in the importance of fostering your community and connecting with those around you; life is more meaningful in communion with others. That’s why I fiercely appreciate my communities in Boulder.

You are capable of anything you desire, surround yourself with those that agree.

One of my favorite aspects about MMC was the small class sizes that allowed for a meaningful relationship with my professors.  I double majored in Human Services and Criminal Justice, which means I was fortunate enough to have two advisors!

I had at least one class every semester with Lori Lincoln, my Human Services advisor. She helped me decide that I wanted to pursue my law degree. There was a time that I doubted my ability to pursue my law degree, but she constantly reminded me of my capabilities and my passions. When that decision was solidified, I felt empowered to make the decision to run across the country for cancer with the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. In all of my personal and professional endeavors, I knew that I always had her support.

Dana DeWitt, my Criminal Justice advisor cultivated my interest in the Criminal Justice system and fueled my desire for knowledge. He also cared deeply about my personal development. He’d always ask me how my track meets went and supported my journey  running across the country, as well.

It’s so important to have a mentor!

I am so thankful for my mentors outside of the classroom, as well, as they helped me grow into the person that I am today. More importantly, they taught me the value of having a mentor. You’re never too old or too good for a mentor. Mentors are life supporters that propel you to greater heights.

Randy Fischer, my track and field coach, is my forever coach, friend, and mentor. He constantly instilled courage into my perspective. At first, it frightened me how much he enthusiastically believed in my capabilities. However, his belief in me slowly became my own, and courage flourished in my mentality both on and off the track. Life expands with a courageous perspective. You don’t have to participate in a collegiate level sport to experience this type of growth. Any form of exercise teaches you to be disciplined, to persevere, and to grow stronger. It nourishes your body, mind, and soul. Whatever it is, do it with every fiber of your being and you won’t regret it.

Jordan Foos, now the Campus Ministry Director, was another mentor to me. As the RA program director, he always brought a more meaningful, thought-provoking element to our team that I appreciated immensely. I, also, worked with him when I was a tutor, and I was fortunate enough to spend time with him on service trips, too. He always encouraged personal growth within a professional atmosphere, and I valued his words and wisdom.

The best part is that I know I could randomly call any of them up at any moment and they would all still be there for me.

These mentors, service experiences, and community values gained at MMC are continuing to empower me in Boulder, Colorado. I signed up for a mentor who is in his second year of law school, and I try to utilize his wisdom as much as possible to guide me through my first year of law school. My love for service is continuing to flourish as I’ve signed up for the Acequia Project, helping farmers with water distribution, and the Korey Wise Innocence Project at Colorado Law, which is aimed at fixing the mistakes made by the Criminal Justice System that lead to innocent people being incarcerated. These projects correlate with my core values and further my mission to positively impact.

I cannot wait to see what the future holds, but I will never forget the past; I am so thankful for the experiences and the people who played a part in my journey. I’ll carry these lessons with me throughout the entirety of my existence.

With so much love,

Cait