Scholars Speak: Guest Blog by Forman Scholar Elise Davenport

Elise Davenport shares her thoughts to our Scholars Speak student blog series. Elise is finishing up her studies in nursing at Messiah College in Pennsylvania. 

Read on to hear about Elise’s college journey, the lessons she’s learned along the way, and the responsibility she believes former Salem students have to give back to the community.  

What does pursuing a college degree mean to you?  

It’s about more than just getting my degree and becoming licensed in my field. It’s about proving to myself that I can achieve something difficult and push myself through challenges. It’s about taking advantage of the privileges I have and doing what I can to better myself and other people in turn.  

What’s something you didn’t know during your first year in college that you wish you knew?  

Fear of failure will be your greatest enemy if you let it. Failure is not the worst thing that can happen; it’s that you fail and don’t try again. 

What is your most memorable academic moment from your time in college? 

Once, I took a class for the second time because I didn’t pass the first time around. The experience taught me about humility and picking yourself up in the face of failure. No matter how many times you fail, if you work hard at what you’re passionate about you will be successful!

Tell us a time when you overcame a challenge. 

I didn’t do well on an exam once, and it pulled down my average exam score, placing me in jeopardy of being asked to leave my program. I was devastated and discouraged, but I worked extremely hard for the second exam. I committed myself to a rigorous study plan, and I ended up doing much better on future exams. 

For people who may not know about the Foundation, what role has the Foundation played in your educational journey?  

The Foundation is a support system for students throughout their entire college journeys, beginning with the college application process. It’s much more than a financial contributor; it invests in the futures of the students of Salem by offering encouraging words, resources and guidance through the most formative years of their lives. 

As someone who grew up in either Salem or the Salem area, how has your community shaped your upbringing, and what do you think is needed to ensure the best future for Salem? 

Salem has given me diverse roots, an array of perspectives and an appreciation for small-town community life. I think it’s important for the Salem youth to get out and experience life away from home, but it’s when we come back to encourage, motivate and educate our community that we can make a big difference. Whether by setting an example or actively mentoring Salem youth, I think we have a responsibility to show Salem that good things can come from this town. 

If you had to give one piece of advice to a student who is applying for college, what would it be and why?  

Go in without expectations! Everyone’s college experience is totally different, so listen to the advice of others, but remember that you will have a unique journey. Be open to new challenges, people and experiences, and see where that spirit of openness takes you. Make your plans flexible rather than rigid.