Students in Action

Mackenna Cummings

"Eckerd is uniquely wonderful and brilliant."

Mackenna Cummings
Majors: Creative Writing, Literature
Minor: Spanish
Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a junior at Eckerd College. I have many interests and passions, such as reading, writing, history, politics, music, theatre, and traveling. I hope to travel the world and write along the way. I have two homes, one is a constant, where my family is (currently southern California) and the other is Eckerd, where I've really grown into a person I never knew I could be.

Why did you decide to attend EC?

I didn't know much about colleges or majors. I had never even heard of a liberal arts education before my junior year of high school. I'm a first generation college student, so the entire process was quite a new one. With extensive research, I narrowed my choices down to a few liberal arts colleges with the majors I wanted. Ultimately, Eckerd went quite a few steps further than any other college in every aspect. It has a fantastic study abroad program, something I wanted desperately, the theatre program was open so that all students could audition, and its location is incredible. Honestly, how many students attend a college on a beach? It was not one specific thing that made Eckerd my top choice, it was the many great things that Eckerd offers that have left me without regrets in my college career.

Do you have a “that’s so Eckerd” moment? What is it?

Strangely enough, my "that's so Eckerd" moments have occurred off campus, more specifically on study abroad trips. I believe that is because Eckerd is not just a college, it is not the location or the name, Eckerd is the people, the incredible group of students and staff are what makes Eckerd, Eckerd. My most recent moment was on an language and culture immersion trip to Ecuador. Throughout the trip our entire group showed so much passion, not just in learning a new language, but for the culture and religions of the people we encountered and there was so much interest on the hikes we went on, even with the majority of us not being science students. I would say a "that's so Eckerd" moment is when you see students acting with passion and enthusiasm.

How has Eckerd changed your life?

In high school I had so many interests that I was afraid I would have to give up once I attended college. But at Eckerd, I have had so many opportunities to enjoy things that I am interested in. I have been able to partake in theatre, continue playing the piano, travel, and take music, language, and sociology courses in my free time. I have really grown during my time as an Eckerd student. Eckerd has made me more open-minded, challenged me to see other views, and given me opportunities that I would have never had if I were not attending Eckerd. I have learned, traveled, experienced and discovered so much about myself and others during my time here.

What are some traits or characteristics found in most Eckerd students?

As I mentioned before, passion is definitely a characteristic of most Eckerd students. Many students are very laid-back and open-minded, but driven and determined as well. It is very difficult to describe the student body as one because it also extremely diverse. Eckerd students are from all different backgrounds and that really helps create an exciting environment.

When did you know you made the right choice coming to Eckerd?

I was very happy at Eckerd from the start, I never had a huge moment of doubt, my only concern was being 3,000 miles from home. But I remember during my first year at Eckerd, going home for winter break, which, as a freshman, was six weeks long because I decided not to take a winter term. At first six weeks at home with my high school friends sounded like the best thing, but after my second week home I couldn't wait for my flight back to school. I missed the environment that Eckerd has more than I thought was possible. The people, the location, the classes and professors are all something hard to lose, even briefly. All of my high school friends were dreading starting school again and I couldn't wait for Spring Semester. That was when I knew I had made the best choice.

How would you describe the academic environment at Eckerd?

The academic environment at Eckerd is unique in the best way. Most classes are small, usually no more than 20 students. I have never been bored in one of my classes. The professors really encourage participation, so theories and thoughts are formed and expressed during classes and built upon by other students. Some of my classes have been as small as four students, and those have been my favorites. Most classes are discussion-based and they are never dull. The classes are tough, but because they are so small it is very rare for students to feel lost.

How do you describe the social scene at Eckerd?

Eckerd students are definitely not shy. It is almost impossible not to have friends at Eckerd and there is always something going on where you can meet more people. Monthly parties at the waterfront with themes, games, and lots of food are always popular as well as karaoke night at the pub and the buses to first Friday in downtown St. Pete. Even Pitchers with Professors that occur one Friday a month, where you can talk with your professor in a casual setting with other students.

What are some of your favorite things at Eckerd?

Creative writing classes, winter terms abroad, ice cream at the pub, yellow bikes, the beach, paddle boarding at the waterfront, kappa carnival, late night breakfast, open mic night, trivia at the pub, Eckerd London house, and the current population of Eckerd College.

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