College life is never easy. Day after day we must sit through seemingly unending lectures. Week after week we must write research papers and essays, create presentations and give speeches.
Finally, when the lectures are over and the papers have been handed in, we still have the dreaded finals week to look forward to, making us evaluate our own sanity once more. It's a tricky lifestyle, and one that filters out the elite from the standard.
What makes a student "elite," though? Is it a high grade-point average? A 4.0 is surely an admirable achievement. Is an "elite" one who participates in the campus community, such as athletics or the campus newspaper? Those gold medals and front page articles also are worth much praise.
In my three years of college life, I have come to a conclusion about what traits can make one student stand out above the rest. I have found one such student who personifies these ideals.
Ashley Ranck is a freshman at Mansfield University.
She is majoring in graphic design, in the field of print, and is heavily considering a minor in marketing.
Ranck has a full-time 15-credit class schedule, and commutes daily from her home in Wellsboro. She works 24 hours a week as the cook for The Frog Hut, in Wellsboro, as well as six hours a week at her work-study program at the college.
As if this was not enough for one person to handle, Ranck also is the treasurer for the Art and Design Guild at the college, as well as a dependable babysitter for two families.
Then, of course, there is the homework. As I have mentioned, college life comes hand-in-hand with research papers and presentations. However, since she is an art student, much of her homework also involves working on various pieces of art.
"I probably spend about nine hours a week on my different art projects," Ranck said. Given her brimming schedule, I cannot imagine where she finds the hours to accomplish these tasks, but she does.
Not only does Ranck simply do these things, but she does them well.
Recently, Ranck was awarded with the Freshman Drawing Award at the annual student award ceremony held at the college. This proves that Ranck has a passion for her field of work, and already has demonstrated remarkable talent.
This is what an "elite" student is. It is a person who is truly willing to give it his or her all. An elite may trip, stumble and fall. An elite student may become anxious, stressed and angry, but will never give up. An elite will overcome the obstacles in his or her path and push forward, while also pushing him or herself.
Ranck is holding a 3.9 grade-point average on top of the rest of her achievements. Although she is uncertain exactly what she wants to be doing after she graduates, Ranck would like to find a career where she can integrate a passion for art and a firm grasp of marketing skills.
"I'm just doing the best I can, and working as hard as I can," she said, "The most important thing I've learned, though, is to just be me."
Do not get me wrong. A student who does not work full-time but maintains a full-time student status is not less of a student, or a bad one.
On the contrary, good for them for focusing on their studies. I believe that not only Ranck, but every individual student that pushes their limits and succeeds deserves credit for their efforts.
Good job, my friends, keep up the good work - and best of luck on your finals!
Mahosky is a student in Dan Mason's Introduction to Journalism class at Mansfield University.
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