Founders Classical Academy of Lewisville (Class of 2016)
The last time that we heard from Rylie Frederick, she had just started college at the University of Arkansas and could feel the ‘world at her fingertips.’ Three years later she is still a proud Razorback and looking forward to graduating in May 2020 from the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences with a bachelor’s degree in English and creative writing.
Frederick had previously mentioned that when she first started her studies at U of A, she wasn’t sure if her high school had adequately prepared her. Transitioning to the life of a college student was difficult after attending a Founders Classical Academy. “Our minds were trained to approach the world in a way quite different than the rest of our generation,” says Frederick.
She has come to realize that although the content she was studying was new and different from the coursework in high school, the charter school experience prepared her with exactly what she needed to be an independent learner, to be social, and to branch out of her comfort zone. “I went from the expansive liberal arts to specialized classes targeting my particular career path. I used the academic methods learned at Founders Classical Academy to aid that transition.” Frederick continues, “Even though the actual material taught to me in high school does not apply to my major, my ability to be an engaged, responsible, and independent student can absolutely be traced back to Founders.”
In the fourth year of her major, Frederick says that she still loves the route she chose and has added a minor in journalism. “I went from wanting to be a fiction writer to considering a position as an editor, or perhaps a job at a publishing house somewhere exciting such as New York City.” Frederick says that since leaving Founders she has realized how big the world of writing is and has dived into creative and journalistic writing.
“Because I attended Founders Classical Academy of Lewisville during its first years, I didn’t have the opportunity to participate in any writing clubs or school papers,” she says. Frederick has been able to explore and hone her writing skills across various platforms. She has been a member of the campus writing club and created social media content for the Office of Sty Abroad and International Exchange. “I’ve done freelance articles for national companies, had my reviews posted on websites, been published in a journal, been taken on as a social media ambassador, and been selected as a peer mentor for incoming freshmen,” Frederick proudly says.
Outside of her studies and academic clubs, she is a weekly volunteer for New Life Church’s children’s ministry and has been an active member of an undergraduate ministry program focusing on diversity and equality. Frederick studies hard and enjoys volunteering, but says that meeting new people has been one of the biggest rewards of attending a campus that’s not close to home. “Going from my graduating class of 20-something to a campus of 27,000 was a massive culture shock.” Frederick goes on to say, “ I’ve come in contact with so many brilliant kids and professors that have pushed me to new heights. Many of my friends are much more accomplished than I am, and their successes both motivate me and help keep me accountable to my own dreams. I’m not in college to learn everything about everything. I’m in college to discover who I am, what kinds of things I want to produce in this world, and surround myself with people who are already great so that they can guide me down my own path to greatness.”
This is one of the pieces of advice she has for high school students and a quote you may have heard before, “If you are the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room.” Frederick says the world of a college campus is a unique place that you can’t find elsewhere. “It’s like the real world but with bumpers on the bowling alley lane. Use these four years as a trial run for the rest of your life. You don’t have to graduate having everything figured out, but this is the perfect place to try anything and everything you think you might have an interest in.”
She encourages incoming students to simply ‘get involved.’ Whether it’s joining a registered student organization, rushing a sorority or fraternity, meeting with professors after class, applying for internships, putting yourself out there, or building a network of professionals and friendships that can create unforeseen opportunities in your path to career building. Frederick says, “So many good things happened to me because I was nervous, unprepared, and hesitant, and showed up anyway.” The connections you build in college can put you in contact with industry professionals, help you with graduate school applications, write letters of recommendation and help with the portfolio you will use to apply to industry positions. Although Frederick has made the Chancellor’s and Dean’s lists multiple times, she says that her GPA hasn’t gotten her as far as the relationships she’s built can.
Frederick concludes, “I used to believe that my high school caused me to fall behind, but I now realize that it taught me things that are just as important as experience: work ethic, persistence, a comprehensive understanding of the power of knowledge, the ability to solve seemingly impossible problems, and accountability.”
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