Well, I'm done. Graduation Sunday was last weekend. It was a really nice day – warm but not unbearable, and just breezy enough to keep us cool, but not blow our mortarboards off! Everyone moved out on Monday, which was not a particularly enjoyable experience, mostly because I knew I wouldn't be coming back to Bethel.
The point of this blog is to hear how awesome Bethel is from actual students. So here goes:
I love Bethel because of the community of friends that we have here. The word “community” is so overused, but only because it's true. Throughout the last four years, I have gotten to know so many good people (students, faculty, staff) so well. The depth and sheer number of relationships that I have cultivated here is just so fantastic, and I have enjoyed all of the interactions that I have had over the past four years.
People hold the door open for you. That sounds really insignificant, but it doesn't really happen in too many other places. Perhaps I'm reading too much into it, but I think it says “Hey, I'm pausing a bit in my day so that yours can be just a bit better.”
The music is great. Bethel College choirs and instrumental groups have consistently been highly ranked within the state and nation. We have had many well-known musical groups perform at Bethel, including Celtic Crossroads, the Glen Miller Orchestra, the Wailin' Jennys, and the King's Singers. At chapel services, the four-part harmony is just beautiful. Before I came to Bethel, I had no idea how to sing a hymn. I still can't sing very well, but at least I can follow the notes in the hymnal and try to match my singing to others around me!
The professors care so much about students. I can't tell you how many notes and words of encouragement I have received from professors, even ones whom I have never had as teachers! They really pour so much effort into their students' lives and academic work. I guess I can't really say how that compares to other colleges and universities, but I think that the professors at Bethel are just top notch.
There are so many opportunities for involvement here. Since the student body is so small, one doesn't necessarily have to be the best in his or her respective field in order to participate. For example, many students here have made their theater debut at Bethel, found that they enjoyed it, and continued to participate in many of the shows. Same with sports – last year one of my modmates threw javelin for Bethel, having never done it before. In my own experience, I had never done theater photography before I came to Bethel, but by the time my four years were up, I was the primary photographer for the shows. Same with sports photography and portraiture. Bethel is a place where a person can really hone their skills or develop them further.
In closing, the atmosphere of Bethel is vibrant, caring, and friendly. I have had the best experience here, and while it would definitely be an overstatement to say that I've enjoyed every minute, I will certainly say that it is a very fun and exciting place to be.
This coming September, I will be moving to Oakland, California to work in a Catholic Worker house, a community house that works with Latin American immigrants and homeless. I am super excited to head out there, not only because I'll get to use and improve my Spanish, but also because my boyfriend, Ben, plans to stay in the area after he finishes up his Mennonite Voluntary Service placement in San Francisco. It's been wonderful to share my Bethel experience with you all, and I hope that your summers and coming school years are full of exciting experiences and new friends.