It was your typical blustery, cold New England morning, fresh off a 16-inch “dusting” of snow, and the day that my daughter was going to tour Bay Path College for the first time (it was still a College at this point). I wasn’t overly optimistic; we went through the college touring process that previous year, looking at many schools, and in much more touring conducive weather.
While perusing some of the region’s most beautiful campuses, all strewn with century old buildings, and quads full of blooming arbors, we found a place that really suited her…or so we thought. Within weeks of her starting school, she loathed the experience.
So here it is, Open House at the Longmeadow campus; me, my wife, and my cautiously pessimistic daughter in tow. I called ahead to make sure that the event was still on, and received a cheery confirmation. Most of the secondary roads weren’t plowed yet, but we piled into the SUV, and headed out. During the drive in, I’m thinking to myself that this is going to be a disaster. We’re going to get the abbreviated tour, because many of the groundspeople will be clearing snow, and some of the buildings will be closed or roped off in fear the visitors will track salt through the carpeted classrooms. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
As we pulled through the main gate, it was like I was staring into an illustration from a Robert Frost poem. The campus was plowed clean to the blacktop, with the walkways just as bare. It looked like the snow was carved away from the concrete in perfect ninety-degree edges. To me, that’s not a sign that the grounds team is headed by a psychopath, but instead, that the institution had amazing leadership and incredible spirit. Truth be told, I was probably the only one in the vehicle that thought this, but, like the old adage goes, it’s the little things in life that make a difference.
To me, this was more than the administration at Bay Path not wanting their guests to ruin a pair of shoes or leave with wet socks. This was a statement, and as it did that day, has continued to ring true, now almost five years later. It’s a statement saying that the college’s leadership is going to hold the faculty and staff to a higher standard, which in turn, will hold the students to that same level. Truly preparing my daughter for the bitter-reality of what she’ll be dealing with as a professional.
Our first visit to the campus was off to a good start. This was a Sunday morning, and we were meeting droves of department heads and faculty members; none of whom seemed coerced into being there; a standard which turned out to be the norm. At virtually every function we’ve attended since, there have been several administrators and faculty members engaging the parents. The proverbial cherry on the sundae would be the outstanding faculty and academic support staff that the College’s administration has assembled. I was pleasantly surprised to hear my daughter’s advisor called her at 10:00 PM to help her select classes. Another example of going the extra mile; not for the aesthetics, but because they truly care about their students.
It’s comforting to know that these are the minds that will be assisting in the development and transformation of our child, and that they really do care. My daughter has never been a number or a statistic in a cohort, she is looked at as a future ambassador of Bay Path University; and the institution is going to do everything in their power to help her succeed. It’s been inspiring to watch her blossom into an independent thinking, confident woman; thanks to the daily mentoring, and inspirational support she’s received.
Many nights I have strolled the campus, free of any fear or anxiety. The Campus Safety team seems to be around every corner; very comforting as a parent. Like I said, it’s the little things in life that make a difference, and the leadership at Bay Path University have dotted their i’s and crossed all of their t’s…and my gut told me this on day one!