Not “Just Rowan” After All, Says Gloucester County Native

people walking near willow hall under cherry blossom trees

When I was a senior in high school there were multiple things I THOUGHT I wanted in a university—I wanted to be around two hours away, which would allow me to be far enough away from where I grew up, while still having the option to come home on weekends. I wanted a Division I school because it seemed to the gateway to college fun—big football games and tailgates and all the school spirit that I could wish for. I could not have been more excited or more ready to see what the future held for me.bicycles in a rack at rowan university

My mom made me look at Rowan because of its proximity to my Gloucester County home in southern New Jersey, but really I did not even want to apply. I live roughly 10 minutes down the road from Rowan, so to me, it was “just Rowan.” Nothing special, just the place where people went after they graduated from our nearby high school. But still, my mom made me check it out. She signed the two of us up for a tour and I was absolutely dreading it—I just knew it was going to be a waste of my time. I was not going to like it, I was not going to apply, and there was no way that I would end up going to Rowan. But I was wrong.close up of mixed use space Whitney Center on Rowan Boulevard at Rowan University

I ended up loving the tour. I never realized how far the campus extends past Route 322 and all of the future plans for building. I took tours of both academic buildings and residence halls, and was impressed by how much I did not know. They had reputable programs, some of the best in the country, and I never even knew! But I could not let my mom be right, so I kept it to myself. When it came time to actually commit to a college, I decided I would go to a university in North Jersey. This school had everything I thought I wanted.

Rowan mascot Whoo RU with arms outstretched at a football gameBefore I knew it, I was getting ready to move into my new dorm, my first home away from home. But as my friends started leaving one by one, the more I realized that I did not want to leave my hometown where I grew up. I did not want to be away from my family and the people that I knew and loved—it was all so overwhelming. But I kept these thoughts to myself because I did not want my parents to be mad at me—after all, we had taken countless trips and ordered the university’s apparel and paid the enrollment fee and I knew it would make them mad.

So the day finally came for me to move into school. Without going into detail, everything just went wrong. Nothing was going the way that your college move in day was “supposed” to go, and after already having these ideas in my head of wanting to be home, I knew right then and there that I would never truly love that university because I simply wanted to be somewhere else.

After my first semester away at school, I knew I wanted to be home. Luckily, I applied to Rowan University while I was a senior in high school so I did not have to completely re-apply, but instead I could just re-open my previous application. I remember lying in my bunk bed in North Jersey scheduling classes for the coming semester at Rowan, thinking about how I couldn’t wait to be at my new school.

Mackenna holds a craft catepillar volunteering with Camp Kesem
I volunteer with Camp Kesem through Rowan University

My first semester at Rowan was a whirlwind of emotions, but specifically one of (dare I say) appreciation. I was able to be close to my hometown. I had fun at both sporting and intramural events. My professors were all reputable and more than willing to help me. I made new friends and really gained that college experience—and I did it all 10 minutes away from home.

Mackenna holds gold balloons that spell the initials of her sorority, ASA.
Joining sorority Alpha Sigma Alpha is just one of the things that has made Rowan feel like home to me. Its not “just Rowan” after all!

Looking back now, it has been one year since I transferred to Rowan University. My GPA has rapidly increased. I hold close connections with both my past and present professors. I had the opportunity to live on campus. I hold an executive board position for a club on campus. I joined a sorority. Simply put, I never thought that I would be attending college at Rowan University, but I could not be happier. I like to think that everything happens for a reason, and that maybe if I had attended Rowan all along I would not be nearly as appreciative of the little things as I am now. All I know is that I would not want to be anything but a Prof!

By: Mackenna Smith, Mullica Hill, NJ (Gloucester County)
Double major: Communication Studies and Public Relations

Like what you see?