Make the most of the college experience
Steve Briggs, College President
Berry is a special place. For many of us, Berry feels like home. It’s the kind of place where people are genuinely interested in your success and care for you as a person. Living, studying, eating, working and playing every day with a group of talented people your own age creates remarkable possibilities and friendships. It’s the great benefit of living on a residential campus. In many ways, your years here offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
So if you are new to Berry, my advice is to make the most of this year. Your time in college will be as rich and exciting as you make it. You should want to become a quick and agile learner. Explore, ask questions, seek challenges, be interested in others. That’s the kind of person all of us want to be around.
Go meet your professors outside of class. Talk with them about ideas you find interesting. Ask them to explain concepts you don’t understand. Ask their advice about how to make progress toward your personal goals.
Your supervisors at work, your coaches and your Resident Assistants are interested in helping you get connected here at Berry. They will be interested in why you are here, where you are from and where you hope to go in the years ahead.
Martha Berry used to say “Everybody must be headed somewhere.” It’s important to get some sense of direction in the year ahead, so make that your ambition. Think about what is important to you and what you would like to do in the years after college, and continue to ask yourself why.
Your time at Berry will be as rich in experience as you make it. Be an intriguing person. Be Berry!
Find mentorship through faculty
Mary Boyd, Provost
I entered college some decades ago as a chemistry major. My schedule was typical for the time and was very heavy with courses in the sciences and calculus. During my first year, I had to learn how to manage my time, learn how to study, share a room for the first time (and my roommate came down with chicken pox) and much more. It was pretty overwhelming at times, and I was fortunate to have a wonderful academic adviser in the chemistry department, faculty who cared about my success and friends to share the journey.
As a professor of organic chemistry, I emphasized active learning, keeping up with the material despite the onslaught of new content that never slowed, and coming to my office hours to ask questions. At the start of each semester I asked students to come to my office to introduce themselves, and students would come by in a trickle. By the third class period, I would tell the class I could make the office visit mandatory. That was enough to encourage the rest of the students that I really wanted to get to know each of them individually.
Berry College similarly wants students to engage with their faculty. I encourage you to set a goal each semester of getting to know at least one faculty member really well. These faculty will be your mentors, guiding you in your personal and professional development. They ultimately will write letters of recommendation. Although no one who has met me recently believes it, I was the shy student who initially didn’t speak in class or go to office hours. We support all students and provide resources for all students to be successful.
I encourage you to say yes to opportunities. My regrets have come when I have declined to participate in a new project or a new role. Make room in your life for new challenges and explore what Berry has to offer. We are all committed to ensuring that you are successful. Please contact the Office of the Provost if you are in need of support or guidance. I look forward to reading your name at commencement when you walk across the stage to receive your diploma.
Explore everything that Berry has to offer
Lindsey Taylor, Dean of Students
Welcome to Berry and to the new academic year. I join others in welcoming the new members of our community and welcoming back those of you for whom this is already home.
We talk often about community and what it means to “Be Berry.” If you are a first-year student, you are just learning about what we mean by the Berry community. If you are a returner, you may be looking forward to ways that you begin or continue to make a difference in this community you call home. If you are a student leader, the responsibility of your position is both exciting and a little overwhelming. Regardless of your class year or your position, there is a great amount of responsibility each of us has to make our community one of respect for everyone. I hope that this year is full of opportunities and experiences that require you to demonstrate a commitment to the collective good.
J.R.R. Tolkien’s poem, “All that is gold does not glitter,” has a prevalent line: “not all who wander are lost”. These words are my hope for your year and tenure as a Berry student. You will have opportunities to explore, learn, and test who you are. Wander through your foundation courses with curiosity and open-mindedness – who knows, you may just stumble upon a love for a major that you didn’t know was a possibility. Wander through student clubs and organizations until you find one into which you want to invest your time and talents. Find ways to use your gifts and abilities to make Berry a better place. Seek people and experiences who stretch and challenge your thinking.
Find at least one way to serve your Berry community – make your residence hall floor a better place to live, make your student organization a better representation of Berry, invest in your workplace so that our departments become better. Find a way to serve those who need help – stop by Berry College Volunteer Services to learn about the needs in our Rome community and where your talents will make a difference. In short, find ways to “Be Berry.”
J.R.R. Tolkien also wrote, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” Four years will go by quickly – ask any senior just how fast their first three years have gone! Decide what you want these four years to look like and who you want to be upon graduation – remember, you have eight semesters to craft the best version of yourself. Pursue opportunities that help you reach your goal while also contributing to the betterment of our community. If you engage from the beginning, if you treat your time at Berry with great care, you’ll quickly find your place in the Berry community. And in doing so, bring to life Martha Berry’s quote “I pray that I may leave the world more beautiful than when I found it.”
I look forward to a great year!
Get involved through SGA
Anna Katherine Drew, Student Body President
On behalf of the Student Government Association, I am so excited to welcome Berry students back to campus! We cannot wait to get to know our incoming class of 2023, and get to know our upperclassmen even better. Be sure to soak up the beautiful weather on our beautiful campus – take a hike to the House O’ Dreams or Reservoir with friends, set up a hammock in the trees on campus or watch the sunset from Winshape retreat!
Your SGA Officers are incredibly excited to kick off the 2019-2020 year! SGA meets every Tuesday night in the Krannert Ballroom; our first meeting of the semester will be Tuesday, Sept. 3. As a reminder, SGA meetings are open to all students! We invite students to attend our meetings to hear updates from Berry’s leaders and discuss campus issues. Additionally, there are multiple ways to get involved with your SGA. We encourage you to serve as organization representatives, run for class office, join committees and have an active voice in our meetings. We encourage everyone to utilize the class officers. They are here to be a helping hand, listen to your concerns and work with the SGA Executive Officers to accomplish change around campus.
SGA will be hosting several exciting meetings and projects in the first few weeks of the semester. Freshman Class Officer Nominations will begin mid-September. Following a week of nominations, freshmen will have a week to campaign before voting begins. We will also be sponsoring a blood drive with the American Red Cross in mid-September. Finally, President Steve Briggs will deliver his “State of the College” address to students during SGA on Tuesday, Sept. 3. Make sure to attend this meeting to hear updates about Berry—including new programs, initiatives and construction.
Don’t forget that the SGA Office is always open for student feedback! Please stop by and visit your Executive Officer Team if you have concerns, issues, or ideas. Our office is located in Krannert 302 and we offer fresh coffee and snacks to students that stop by to talk to us.
Once again, welcome home to Berry! I hope this is your best year yet.
Dig deep into Berry’s opportunities
Sue Tarpley, Director of Career Center
Greetings on behalf of Berry’s Center for Personal and Professional Development (Career Center and LifeWorks Program). We hope your first days and weeks of fall semester are filled with new friends, interesting classes and valuable work assignments!
While you are at Berry, dig deep. Take advantage of the many campus opportunities and look for ways to cultivate and demonstrate your talents. Develop your academic capacity, grow through your work experiences and hone interpersonal skills. Reflect on how you communicate, lead a team and use problem-solving skills in your campus engagement. Sooner than later, employers and graduate programs will ask how you spent your college days. Berry is the perfect place to build a compelling story they want to hear!
Whether you are new to Berry or preparing to graduate, the time is right to ask yourself, “Am I prepared for the next step?” Our staff can help you maximize your Berry experience. Stop by the LifeWorks Program office, Krannert 320, to inquire about campus work experiences that will complement your curiosity and provide outlets to pursue your interests. Talk with our career advisors (Krannert 310) to share your dreams, connect the dots and document your successes. We look forward to working with you, here’s to a successful year!
Pursue spiritual wellness in college
Jonathan Huggins, Chaplain
Welcome back to Berry for another great school year. I want to give a special welcome to all of our first-year students. Welcome to the brilliant, beautiful and beloved Berry College! I love this place, and I know you will too.
I look forward to meeting you or seeing you again. You have come to a wonderful community with great people and countless opportunities to learn and grow in every area of your life, including your spiritual life. I hope you will take advantage of this important time in your life. As Chaplain, I want you to know that our office is here to serve you.
The Chaplain’s Office aims to offer many opportunities to explore and express your faith through on-campus worship, Christian concerts, guest preachers and lecturers, Bible studies and several student fellowship groups. One great opportunity for regular worship, nurture, and service is Evensong – a Wednesday night worship gathering in the chapel, every other week at 8pm. This is a college-wide, inter-denominational, Christian worship service.
During your college years it’s important not to neglect your spiritual life but to nurture it. Spirituality has to do with one’s inner life – sometimes referred to as one’s “soul” or “spirit.” Spirituality is not only about one’s inner life, but it does often begin there. I tend to think of humans as thinking, feeling, doing creatures. The health of our thinking, feeling and doing is largely connected to our spiritual wellness. These three aspects of an individual correspond to Berry’s mission to provide education for the “head, heart and hands.” In other words, one of Berry College’s core values is to promote spiritual wellness.
How does one go about seeking to be spiritually healthy? Or, to put it another way, how does one aim to think well, feel well (appropriately) and do well?
There are historic practices that have proven helpful in cultivating spiritual wellness. These include: prayer, solitude, meditation, reflective writing (journaling about one’s experiences, thoughts, and feelings), mutuality (caring for others in a community), devotional study of sacred texts (like the Bible), service to others, religious worship, and rituals (which can provide meaning and stability to life). Any or all of these are great to consider.
One could summarize the goals and purposes of healthy spirituality as formation, reformation, and transformation. By “formation” I mean seeking to have good things formed within us that might not otherwise be there. By “reformation” I mean seeking to have whatever is immature, misdirected, or misinformed within us reformed to accord with wisdom, truth, and maturity. By “transformation” I mean seeking to have whatever is wrong, bad, or hurtful within us transformed into something good, true, and beautiful. As these things are developed within us, we will not only become spiritually “well” people but will also seek for these things to be realized in the world around us.
This sense of overall personal wellness has many positive effects. It creates an internal climate for one to think deeply and clearly, to feel compassion, joy, hope, and peace, and to do what is just and good – not simply for one’s own sake, but for the common good. Imagine such a world for just a moment – where everyone sought such spiritual health, where all were internally full and free to give to others. The Hebrew word for this kind of wholeness is “shalom” (often translated as “peace’). Shalom is a state of perfect over-flowing goodness, peace, and flourishing. The effects of healthy spirituality should be both personal wellness and, more importantly, universal shalom!
Marshall Jenkins, Director of Counseling
The Counseling Center welcomes you with five bits of wisdom for thriving in college:
1) It’s okay not to be okay. All of us have struggles, and most of us try to conceal it. If you feel down or stressed, you may think you are alone. You are not. Rather, you are going through a significant change, and the more change, the more stress. Dismiss social media images that suggest there is something wrong with you if you are not on top of the world. Pain points to needs. Respect your feelings and yourself, and then trace the pain back to identify the need.
2) Find a mirror. No, I don’t mean one like the mirror you used to put on your face this morning. I mean a listener. Someone who respects your feelings, gives you time to express them, puts herself in your shoes without overidentifying, and doesn’t rush to give you advice. Counselors like Terri Cordle, Carley Price, and me do this every day at work, but look for listeners in your environment too. There are more people here who care than you may realize, all of them honored to listen when asked. And don’t forget to be a listener. It adds meaning to your life.
3) Commit to self-care. If that sounds selfish, remember what flight attendants say: “If there is a loss of air pressure and you are traveling with a small child, put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then help the child.” Recall activities that give you energy (we usually call them “fun”) and build them into your routine. Do at least two engaging activities for every one escape (e.g., video games or checking social media), and develop a repertoire for body, mind, soul and relationships.
4) Sleep enough, and when you are awake, really be awake. Studying and playing at the expense of sleep impedes performance because you need deep sleep to consolidate the memories of what you learned that day. Also, you need sleep to optimize your focus and stress resilience and to really be awake when you are awake. Really being awake means mindfulness – open awareness in the present moment without negative judgment. Take breaks to set aside worrying, planning, and ruminating to focus on here and now. Notice whatever you sense or feel with kind acceptance. In the evening, list 3-5 experiences that day for which you are thankful. With practice, you will develop greater skill at stepping back from your thoughts and choosing attitudes and activities more wisely.
5) Follow the Serenity Prayer Principle: This tried and true saying helps you regain inner balance when life feels out-of-control: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference” (Reinhold Niebuhr). If you are not religious, don’t worry. It will still help to keep in mind the practical goal of discerning what you can change and what you cannot. If you are religious or spiritual, pray it. Your spiritual life offers great resources.
For more wisdom, read the Pot Thoughts and emails from the Peer Educators, and go to the programs they sponsor. The Peer Educators are a team of seven Berry students in the Counseling Center who work hard (and have fun) promoting choices that keep you healthy and that support a great college experience. As for the three counselors, we are licensed mental health professionals who specialize in helping college students. You can make an appointment at the Counseling Center in Ladd or by calling 706-236-2259 and speaking with Teresa Czekalla, our kind and able Office Manager. We are open 8-5, M-F, and there is no fee. Our services are confidential.
Stay healthy in college
Health and Wellness Center
Welcome back, Vikings! The Health Center is excited to have all of our Berry students back on campus for the 2019-2020 school year.
The Health Center offers: a free self-help cabinet stocked with an abundance of over the counter medication for students to fill up their first aid kits, medical professionals to provide treatment for when you are feeling under the weather, free rental of medical equipment (crutches, wheelchairs, etc.), allergy shots, GYN services and more!
Our mission is to promote student health through education and awareness, assessment, treatment and referral. The use of these services at Berry College facilitates the individual’s health care decision-making and contributes to academic success. Treatment choices within the scope of practice of an acute care ambulatory health clinic provides the basic tools to realize optimal health and wellbeing, and ensure personal privacy, confidentiality, honesty and mutual respect.
We are located in the Ladd Center. Our hours are Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Walk-ins are always welcome but the best way to guarantee that you’ll be seen is to schedule an appointment. You can make an appointment online by going to our website, berry.medicatconnect.com, and selecting the date, time, and provider that works best for you or by phone at 706-236-2267. We can also be reached by email at email@example.com. Keep up with the Health Center through campus-wide emails, events hosted by the Health Center, and follow us on Instagram (@berrycollegehealthcenter).
To all of our Vikings, first-year and returning we wish you a healthy and successful school year!
Study smarter with ASC
Academic Success Center
As we are all preparing for classes to begin once again, the Academic Success Center would like to extend a friendly welcome! Whether you are a new or returning student, we want to invite you to The Commons (in the library basement), where we have ASC Sessions (kind of like tutoring), Individual Academic Consultations, and Study Smarter Workshops. This summer, we were able to upgrade some of our furniture and added some technology that will be helpful as you work on homework and test prep. In our Evans office, you can speak with Assistant Director Katrina Meehan, who is a fantastic resource for information about accessibility resources on Berry’s campus. We hope you’ll visit both locations soon!
Here at the ASC, we are dedicated to creating a supportive community of peers and professionals in a welcoming and engaging atmosphere. Through consultations, tutoring, workshops, and accessibility resources, Berry students will master their academics with confidence. We aren’t just about studying all the time, though, and are excited to begin preparations for upcoming events throughout the school year, like Treat Yo’self and a partnership with BOLD to provide an Open Quantum+Stress Reduction. Please be on the lookout for more information as the school year continues.
The ASC truly wants to see all students succeed not just in their academics but also with other personal endeavors, and we hope to be an important element in your success. Best wishes with the upcoming school year!
Come out to support athletics
Angel Mason, Director of Athletics
An exciting new school year is upon us. For all first-year students, congratulations on making a great decision to join the Viking family. As a new member to our community myself, I hope that you are enjoying it as much as I am. For all Viking veteran students, welcome back as you continue to build on the foundation you have started.
As your director of athletics, I am proud to support you all and I look forward to seeing you around campus, working out in the Cage Center and at athletic events. Your classmates are competitors within the NCAA as Division III members of the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) as well as the International Horse Show Association (IHSA). We offer 21 competitive athletic programs in a variety of Olympic and team sports. From conference championship teams to individual national champions, Viking athletes go head to head and know how to come out victorious. We invite you to join us on the fields, in the arena, at the courses, in the pool and on the courts to show your Viking pride!
We welcome in a new year together with vast opportunities to grow, serve, and experience all that Berry College provides you access to. Good luck in all your academic endeavors and challenge yourself to try something you have never done before. To new beginnings!
Connect with the world off campus
Chris Borda, Director of International Programs
“Oh the things you can find, if you don’t stay behind!” – Dr. Seuss
Welcome back, Vikings! Every day here at Berry, you are given an opportunity to expand your worldview, gain new knowledge and grow as a person.
Now is also the best time for you to go see the world for yourself. Not only do you have financial aid that can be applied toward study abroad, but you can take classes that you didn’t know existed, learn about a new place while you live there, meet requirements AND new friends, and bring home stories that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
When we ask your friends who have come back from study abroad what their No. 1 piece of advice would be for someone who is considering it, they consistently say the same thing: JUST GO! Don’t make excuses, don’t think of reasons to stay home, just go. You won’t regret it.
Your journey starts in 331 Krannert. Come find out where it can take you!
Get to know your neighbors
Lindsay Norman, Associate Dean of Students
Welcome to all of our students! For those living on campus, I hope you have had the chance to get yourself settled in your room. I could offer lots of advice for on-campus living, considering that I’ve spent almost half of my life living on a college campus, but I’ll limit my advice to what I think is most important: your neighbors. I want to encourage you to take advantage of your neighbors. Not in the sense of ‘borrow their hair dryer and never return it; I want you to get to know them – all of them! For most of us, this will be the only time that you get to live near so many peers who are all pursuing similar goals and facing comparable challenges in the process. This is a unique time, and it will never be easier to deeply connect with peers.
Berry has been residential since its founding, because Martha Berry understood the transformative effect of living and working alongside others. Sharing the experience creates connections that help you make it through the difficult times and make celebrating the good times that much sweeter.
Here are some ways you can connect with your neighbors:
1) Since it’s still the beginning of the semester, go ahead and introduce yourself when you see someone on your floor.
2) Keep your door open while you’re home and stop by and connect with a neighbor if their door is open.
3) If you’re creative, create door decorations (door decs), those little signs on your door with your name on them, for your neighbors.
4) You’re the next baking champion? Share your treats with all the hungry folks on the floor.
5) Reach out to the community however you feel most comfortable. Your RA is also there to help you connect.
6) Promise me that you won’t treat your on-campus housing experience like a hotel! This residential community is designed to foster connections with people that you will never forget. Your housing assignment is temporary, but the lessons we learn and the connections we make will last a lifetime.
The Residence Life team includes your RA, Head Resident (HR), Area Coordinator (AC), and the professional staff supporting our main office in the Ladd Center. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need anything.