By allowing herself to change, senior Raygan Rensing has grown exponentially throughout her time at Lees-McRae

Perhaps one of the biggest lessons that senior Exercise Science major and Student Body President Raygan Rensing has learned throughout her time at Lees-McRae is that change is okay. In fact, she said, in many ways it is necessary to grow.

“I came into Lees-McRae with this goal of majoring in Exercise Science and then going to get my doctorate in Physical Therapy, but being involved on campus as an RA, a member of Order of the Tower, and all these different things, I really found that I enjoy being a part of residence life,” Rensing said, noting that she has already begun applying for a few residence life positions at various institutions. “I changed in college, so I’ve had to realize that the love I had for certain things has also changed and that’s okay.”

Rensing came into Lees-McRae with a softball scholarship, goals of becoming a physical therapist, and a shy demeanor despite her desires to break out of her shell and get involved on campus. Over the last three years, however, she has grown, evolved, and changed into the person she is today: a capable leader, student advocate, and outgoing friend.

Rensing said these characteristics, along with strengthened skills of communication and time management, are primarily due to her willingness to go outside her comfort zone and let her love of Lees-McRae motivate her to get involved. As student body president she has been in charge of leading SGA meetings, facilitating important conversations and events on campus, and acting as a bridge between the student body and college administration. As a member of Order of the Tower she has been responsible for leading campus tours of prospective students and maintaining an extensive knowledge of all things Lees-McRae. As a resident assistant (RA) she has had to maintain a high quality of life for her residents by organizing events and community-building opportunities in her residence hall.

Each one of these has positioned Rensing as a leader on campus and given her the skills she needs to be an effective one; lessons she will take with her into her professional life after graduation.

“You get to know people a little bit better just by being able to listen to what they’re saying. That’s something I really learned a lot this year, especially in being the student body president. Being able to listen to what other people have to say, relay that message, and talk about changes people want to see,” Rensing said. “In high school I was not as outgoing. I was pretty shy, which surprises a lot of people when I tell them that. Being involved in a lot of different things, I’ve really grown out of my shell and become a more sociable person.”

Not only has her time at Lees-McRae helped Rensing grow on a personal and social level, but she said she has also gained a much clearer vision of her post-graduate goals and the ways she wants to use these skills going forward.

While she said she has valued and enjoyed her time in the Exercise Science academic program, becoming involved in campus life and being a point of reference for her fellow students has sparked in Rensing a desire to be a resource for even more students throughout her career by pursuing positions at other higher education institutions.

“I wasn’t coming into college with the goal of working at a college after, but being a resident assistant especially, I found that I really enjoy helping people and getting to know my fellow students and being that person that they look to when they don’t know what to do,” Rensing said. “Being able to point students in the right direction and build those relationships is really cool. That really sparked my interest in residence life and made me want to help students. It made me realize that college is more than just academics. You live here. It’s your home for four years, so I really want to help shape that experience.”

Being able to help shape the college experience for future students is one of Rensing’s main motivations. While she said that college is truly what you make it, having institutional and community support can make all the difference to a student who comes into college with big dreams and goals, but is not quite sure how to achieve them.

Rensing said she felt the same as a freshman, and often fell back on her teammates on the softball team for support. When she was injured during her sophomore year, however, and could no longer play, it was up to her to find all the other things she would come to enjoy. Looking back on this journey Rensing said she is proud of how she has grown, and of the way she adapted from her injury and found even more to be passionate about.

“Coming in my freshman year I had these goals, and my goals have changed throughout college, but I think it’s a good thing,” Rensing said. “It really shows that I’ve grown and that what I thought I wanted might not necessarily be what I want now, and that I can just be okay with changes that come. I think it has really prepared me for life because life is full of changes and now I know that it’s okay to change.”

Hear more about Rensing’s journey at Lees-McRae and her dreams for the future at Commencement where she will be one of two student speakers to deliver a Commencement address. The Commencement ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 6 on Tate Lawn.

By Maya JarrellApril 21, 2023
Campus LifeAcademics