Students in Action

Rachel Feinberg

"Eckerd is where I'm meant to be."

Rachel Feinberg
Major: Psychology
Minor: Biology, Music
Tell us a little about yourself. What makes you a unique Eckerd student?

Before I came to Eckerd I was defined as a workaholic. I worked during all my free time, and when I wasn't working, I thought about all that I had to do. When I came to Eckerd, however, I found that I was able to define myself in so many more ways. I had the freedom to pursue other opportunities than just schoolwork. Now that I'm an Eckerd student, I'm so much more than a workaholic. I'm a psychology major that likes to kayak in the bay. I'm a freshman researcher who tans on the beach before watching the sun set. I'm a bookworm that plays piano barefoot in the practice rooms when I need a study break. I'm an Atlanta native who has found a new home at Eckerd College.

Why did you decide to attend EC?

When it came time to look into colleges, I was more afraid than anything. Just the thought of going off to school made my stomach sink. I just wanted to stay in high school where it was familiar and safe. So I began narrowing my search to a few criterion. But when I started to research Eckerd, something changed. Instead of my stomach churning immediately, my heart began pounding with excitement. Suddenly I wanted to know more. Sure enough, the more I learned about the school, the more I loved it. Finally I had found a place where teachers knew their students' names and were just as devoted to their students' wellbeing as they were to their own success. I found a place where I could explore any direction of any path I wanted to take and have support along the way. I found a place where I could flourish in a beautiful environment. I knew that from the moment I found Eckerd, I had found the one.

Eckerd is recognized as a college That Changes Lives (book by Loren Pope). How has EC changed your life?

An easier question might have been "How has Eckerd not changed your life?" Before Eckerd I was so unsure of myself. I didn't know who I was, what I was doing, or where I was going. I often felt like my life was full of questions and uncertainty, with little hope of ever finding answers. When I got to Eckerd, it was as if someone had flipped a switch. I immediately realized that it didn't matter if you knew exactly what your future held because it was Eckerd's mission to help you explore many options. I feel so full of life here and sometimes I can't explain why. But I do know that I have never been happier.

What are some traits or characteristics you find in most Eckerd students?

If there's one thing that I find in every Eckerd student, it's that you can strike up a conversation with any one of them. They're all so friendly, open-minded, and yearning for new experiences just as much as you are. But what I like most about the students are not what they have in common, but the things that make them all different. I always tell people that you can find one of every person here. Some people are preppy, hippies, jocks, or bros, but you really can't put a label on most students. Everyone has their unique style and personality that they'd all be more than happy to share with you.

How would you describe the academic environment at Eckerd?

I've always been a competitive student. From elementary school to the last weeks of high school I had to fight my way to the top of my class. But I didn't want to have the same experience in college that I had throughout my entire academic career. I wanted a place where I could be encouraged to succeed, but still enjoy and savor my experience. Eckerd met every one of my expectations and more. Here I can be driven, focused, and able to explore any area I please thanks to the dedication of teachers, faculty, and friends. At the same time, I am able to take advantage of Eckerd's beautiful environment, calming atmosphere, and fun activities to make my education experience an enjoyable one.

What are some of your favorite things at Eckerd? (professor, organization, class, club, event, café meal, etc.)

I love my classes because of the dedication of the teachers and interesting subjects. Going to Hillel events are great because I get to experience a bit of home in the traditions we share and in meeting friends who feel the same way. One of my definite favorites is kayaking in Boca Ciega Bay. Friends and I will take out some kayaks, ride out to the sandbar, and find tons of snails, crabs, manatees, stingrays, and dolphins. Every time you're guaranteed an adventure. More than anything, I really love just sitting on a hammock with a few friends rocking in the ocean breeze, not even having to say a word. I think sometimes the simplest joys at Eckerd are my favorite.

Describe your ideal day at Eckerd.

My perfect day would start at the crack of dawn to watch the sunrise over the waterfront. Then I'd meet up with friends to go to the Morning Market in downtown St. Petersburg where we'd get fresh empanadas for breakfast and buy ingredients for a picnic at St. Pete Beach. We'd go to the beach where the water would be just right and we'd lay out, play volleyball, test out the water, and collect seashells. When we'd gotten all the sun we could handle, we'd head back to campus, take some kayaks out to the sandbar, and watch the sunset. After dinner at the Caf, we'd build a bonfire on South Beach and meet new people and have a blast. Then we'd all spend the night in the common room and do it all over again the next day.

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