After graduating from high school, I found myself in an awkward position. I had no idea which major or career field I wanted to pursue in college. For many people, their desired career is a major factor in deciding which college they want to attend. However, while I didn't have a specific major in mind, I did have some criteria that I was looking for.

I wanted small class sizes, a wide variety of clubs, and something that was close to home. Of these three requirements, I felt most passionately about having small classes. I did not want to be part of a classroom with over 100 other students, and I wanted to be able to have a strong connection with my instructors. Luckily for me, my two older sisters had already found the perfect college at Saint Leo University. The combination of the beautiful campus, intimate learning environment, and presence of my older sisters ultimately led to my decision of enrolling at Saint Leo.

A Family of Lions

When I graduated from high school, my second-oldest sister, Kenna, was already close to earning her bachelor's degree in biology at Saint Leo. She was the one who first found Saint Leo through a recruiter and introduced the rest of my family to the school. My family visited Kenna on several occasions, and events such as the Fall Family Festival always gave us something fun to do. My third-oldest sister, Jacie, would end up following in Kenna's footsteps and pursued a degree in business management at Saint Leo. During her freshmen year, she met her future husband, Clark, who was also majoring in business management.

Making Social Connections on Campus

When I finally arrived at Saint Leo, Jacie and Clark really helped me get used to college life during my freshmen year and also gave me plenty of advice. I also got along with many of the other students in the freshmen class, especially my roommate, Joseph Perrotta. Thanks to Jo, I later got involved in some of the clubs on campus as he introduced me to the eSports Club, as well as leading me to participate in the Computer Club events. These events typically involved some sort of tabletop role-playing game, such as Dungeons & Dragons or Call of Cthulhu. Each event allowed me to have a great time while meeting new people. Jo also got me involved in other Dungeons & Dragons games on campus. It was at these games where I made most of my friends at Saint Leo, which is ironic because I had never considered playing games like Dungeons & Dragons before college.

My Favorite Saint Leo Professors

When it comes to my instructors at Saint Leo, I cannot express just how amazing they all were. My professors in the multimedia management degree program (now called the communication major) shaped my Saint Leo experience for the better and I have so much respect for them, as well as the time and care they put into their teaching. Each made their class special in their own unique way that put the students first and enhanced my learning experience. They were kind, fair, and easy to approach. And while I want to focus specifically on the three who had the greatest impact on me, I feel the need to, at the very least, acknowledge each and every one of the other 23: Brian Camp, Burgsbee Hobbs, Michael Tkacik, Patrick Crerand, Pamela DeCius, Stephen Okey, Aubrey Hall, Timothy Wiseman, Stephen Baglione, Ricky Scott, Raymond Kurt Yann, Patrick Murphy, Lucia Farriss, Kelly Atkins, Keith Jones, Joshua Adams, Joe Little, Diane Monahan, Barney Lowder, Mubarak Banisakher, Emma Brown, Thomas Ricard, and Timothy Jussaume.

The first professor who greatly impacted me is Dr. Kenny Embry. Dr. Embry has what I can only describe as a very warm personality. Starting on the first day of his class, he shows so much genuine care for his students and their success. He always felt approachable, perhaps more so than any other professor, which is definitely saying something considering how I've already said that all of my professors felt approachable. I often found myself wanting to talk to him even if I didn't have a reason to.

Next is Dr. Bryan Reagan. Dr. Reagan's classes were always a favorite of mine. I loved the humor he brought to computers and coding. He was also the instructor overseeing the Computer Club and would head up the awesome role-playing games that I mentioned earlier. He was always there to help with whatever I needed and would ask me how I was doing whenever I saw him.

The last professor I have to talk about is Dr. Jennifer Toole, my advisor for my major. As a result, she was one of the instructors I saw the most. Dr. Toole brings such an energy and love of the subject she teaches that you can't help but get wrapped up in it yourself. She helped me so many times throughout the last few years that I'm sure I would have failed without her. I could not have asked for a better advisor.

Summing it All Up

Saint Leo University has been an amazing experience and I have met so many extraordinary people here. I may have focused on instructors above, but the other staff were all lovely people with whom I enjoyed interacting every day. From those working in the cafeteria to my bosses as a student worker in the Financial Aid department, everyone was just so incredibly nice. With such great people around me who created a strong and memorable learning environment, I was able to find a career path that interested me – multimedia management. My time at Saint Leo University may be coming to a close, but I feel confident in my ability to enter the working world.

Author bio: William Dieffenwierth was born and raised in Jacksonville, FL. He graduated from Eagle's View Academy and is a graduating senior at Saint Leo University. In the future, he hopes to become the social media manager for a video game publisher. A fun fact about William is that he has traveled to both Germany and Ireland.

Photo credit: The photograph included in this blog article was provided by William Dieffenwierth and is used with permission.