PRCC freshmen open encouraging letters from family and employees.
Poplarville – Transitioning to college can be an overwhelming experience for some incoming freshman. Pearl River Community College is trying to ease that stress by offering extra encouragement a few weeks into the semester.
Studies show that at about the 3rd week of classes, a student starts to feel like they can’t do the whole “college thing” and begin to have real doubts about their abilities. As part of the ROAR summer orientation program, PRCC asks parents to write a letter to their student filled with words of encouragement and reassurances. Family members are encouraged to include what they themselves feel would have benefited them at this crucial point in their own lives. What do they wish someone would have said to them? These uplifting letters are then delivered by PRCC employees to the students during the 3rd-4th week period to help ease insecurities the student may be experiencing.
The Office of Student Success is responsible for ROAR orientation and find these letters to be an instrumental part of the first year freshman experience.
“Adjusting to college for a brand new student can be a little overwhelming. One way we try to provide connections is through our ROAR summer orientation sessions. While students are busy learning about the college and being advised, we invite parents or other persons that are part of a student’s support system to write a personal note to their student expressing their love, support, and encouragement. About the third week of the semester, a bunch of giddy PRCC personnel have the honor of hand delivering these letters,” said Dr. Amy Townsend, Associate Vice President of Student Success. “It’s hard to know who is the more blessed – the student or the one delivering letters. Through the years, students have expressed how much it has meant to receive this ‘touch of home’ just when they need a bit of encouragement. ROAR letters have now become part of our PRCC tradition. “
This year faculty and staff on campus noticed there was a significant number of students that attended ROAR that didn’t have letters to be delivered. It was decided that these students deserved encouragement as well. Faculty, staff, and administrators came together to hand write a letter to each of these 800 or so students. These letters included sentiments about sticking with their studies even as the semester gets tougher and not being afraid to reach out for help when they need it.
One of the individuals that delivered letters was Dr. Martha Smith, Vice President of the Poplarville Campus and Education. She spoke about the importance of the letters. “Success means different things to different people. Student success might mean good grades for some. For others, it might mean simply having the courage to face the challenges of a particular situation. It often takes many people to support each student toward whatever success means for that person. Handing out the letters allows me to deliver the hug the parent sent. It is an emotional experience, and I’m honored to be allowed to share it.”
Aleea Burge, PRCC Marketing Specialist, received an email from one of the students to which she wrote a letter. The student expressed gratitude to her for reaching out during a time in the semester when things were starting to become stressful. Burge stated that even if just that one student was positively affected by the letters written, it was well worth it.
PRCC looks forward to seeing what goals these new Wildcats reach as they continue their education and anticipates keeping the tradition of supporting their students, new or returning, alive.
Pearl River Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities. The College does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, veteran status, or disability. For inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or to request accommodations, special assistance, or alternate format publication please contact Tonia M. Seal, Director of Admissions and Records/ ADA/Civil Rights Coordinator at P.O. Box 5559, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1060 or Maghan James, Assistant Vice President of Student Services/Title IX Coordinator at P.O. Box 5805, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1132.