The Last Chapter: Lauren Owens

Four years ago, a naïve 17-year-old college freshman drove nervously to FMU with the anticipation that life was about to begin. Little did I know the next four years would be some of the most challenging, but rewarding, years of my life.

I’m now at the end of my college career, and I can’t help but reminisce over all of the memories I have made at FMU, starting from the nervous drive down Old River Road from my hometown of Johnsonville, S.C., to winding down my last semester at FMU.

Prior to coming to college, I wanted to go as far away from my hometown as possible. I was certain I would go to an out-of-state university and find a home somewhere unfamiliar.

Little did I know, when I first settled into the Belle Isle hall, that I had found a home at FMU. I found friends, organizations and the beginning of a career. I got involved with “The Patriot” during the third week of classes, and I fell in love with journalism. I started off as a photographer, but by my second semester, I began writing news stories and switched my major to mass communication, which I know is my passion and what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Though FMU was close to home, I found a sea of opportunities ready for me that I hadn’t expected.

Over the course of the past four years, I have been able to be involved with so much. I’ve travelled outside of the U.S. and across the country, been involved in many leadership opportunities and developed professionally. Most importantly, I found myself by taking advantage of these opportunities.

As I am approaching graduation, I find myself becoming more and more sentimental about the small things college has offered me, not just the big opportunities, such as friendly professors who have supported me throughout my college career and friends who have become as close as my family.

At any other college, I don’t think I would have found professors who invest in their students as much as FMU professors do.

For example, one month into changing my major to mass communication, Tim Hanson, chair of the mass communication department, reached out to me to help me with my photography. I spent multiple days in his office discussing aperture and shutter speed. He also made it possible for me to attend a Rocky Mountain School of Photography workshop, to hone my photography skills. At any other university, opportunities like this wouldn’t be readily available  to a college freshman who just started a new major.

Also, the group of friends I have found at FMU is something special. Through being involved with “The Patriot” and Baptist Collegiate Ministry, I have found some of the sweetest friends. The many memories I have made with them through late-night gatherings playing board games, deep conversations over coffee and long weekends in the newspaper office, are ones I will cherish forever.

Looking back on my once dreaded decision to come to FMU, I see the decision as the best possible one I could’ve made. I’m no longer the naïve 17-year-old I was four years ago. I have grown tremendously as a result of my time at FMU. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the relationships and opportunities I found at FMU. Being here has helped me grow into the person I was meant to be, and I know that after graduation, my career will be greatly impacted by the special environment FMU provided me with.

As one of my favorite songs “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise” by the Avett Brothers says, “decide what to be and go be it,” I have done just that at FMU.