Archives for Eric Preheim

Growing to realize

Bethel College is filled with people from all different walks of life. We have Mennonites, we have atheists. We have people who have never questioned their love of Bethel and those who have considered transferring.

I am both, oddly enough, a Mennonite and someone who has considered transferring away from Bethel. Bethel was a long way from home and much different from the high school life that I had come to know and love. Doubt flooded my veins and I wondered if I would be better off at a fraternity in a big university.

My friends and my coach were instrumental in bringing me back to Bethel. My skepticism slowly turned to reassurance that I had indeed made the right decision in coming to Bethel.

Starting my sophomore year, I would grow to love Bethel not because I am Mennonite and have family history at Bethel, but because I genuinely cherished the education I was receiving, the friends I was making and the community in which I grew into the person I am today.

Growth is a part of life and it is certainly a part of college. I am fortunate to be able to have stumbled only to find an entire college ready to help me find my own path and grow in my own way. I have grown to realize that being a Thresher is something very special.

On Campus Therapy

School is stressful. For the most part, this is true no matter where you attend and what grade level you find yourself. It comes as no surprise then that I, like most seniors, have developed creative ways to relieve stress.

For instance, I have mastered the 15-minute nap. When reading gets to the point where I reread the same line over and over I usually decide I need to recharge.  A quick nap can leave me feeling refreshed without being groggy.

In stark contrast to a nap, sometimes an alternative is exercise. This usually comes in the form of a 3-mile jog. It’s just enough to make it worth taking a break from studying without it being too long that I need another nap just to recover from my run.

Another sedentary option that I frequently employ to relieve stress is eating. Candy, fast food or snacks…I don’t care. It is a great way to take your mind off of homework and feel better about life.

Finally, I enjoy playing disc golf on the course on Bethel’s campus. It is a quick and easy way to get exercise and take in the natural beauty that surrounds us.

Like I said, college is stressful but college is certainly manageable. You just have to find the stress relievers that work best for you.


Until next time-


Serving together

My favorite tradition as a Bethel College soccer player has been volunteering every November at the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) center. The entire team, coaches included, work for several hours together grinding, weighing, canning, cooking and labeling meat.

New players usually dread the thought of assembly line work and food processing. What appears to be tough manual labor, which it technically is at times, turns out to be an incredibly bonding experience for the entire team.


Teammates vary in their responses to the work. Some are incredibly focused on their job and work at an intense pace, while others work with friends and can be seen smiling and laughing throughout the process.

Whatever method you choose to complete the work, you end up feeling accomplished and satisfied by the end of the shift. It has been an absolutely pivotal team bonding moment for the team before we head into another off-season.

However, the greatest value of this event is not in the benefits of the team. The thousands of pounds of meat canned at MCC are sent to impoverished countries where many people struggle to find meals.


It is not just the soccer team who is involved with this process. Mennonite organizations provide several workers who travel with this project across the central USA in order to lead groups in food processing missions. Local community members volunteer their time to work shifts before, after and during the time soccer players are present.

Bethel’s emphasis on serving is not limited to donations and internal service projects. Bethel provides opportunities for students to volunteer their time among the community as we together serve one another,  our community, those in need and God.

Until next time-


Strength in Community

Sometimes Bethel College feels like the safest place on earth. Living in a quiet town with low crime, many students worry most about their next test.

Sadly, no community is immune from tragedy. Students and faculty alike were shaken with the news that one of our students had passed away in a car accident coming back from fall break. In my four years as a student here, this was the first time we had to receive an e-mail with this kind of news.

The Bethel community responded like only it could. An informal meeting was held in the freshman residence hall in remembrance of the student that night. I, like many students, chose to attend despite not ever having the pleasure of meeting Qadrey.

The lounge was so incredibly full that students spilled out into the foyer. Even more amazing was that it was not just students who attended. It was professors and faculty members as well. Many in attendance were not there because Qadrey had changed our lives. Instead we were there because Qadrey had changed the lives of people who had changed our lives and who we considered to be friends, neighbors and colleagues.

Losing a teammate, a roommate or a friend is devastating in itself. However, trying to cope with death alone can be unbearable. Whether it was the vice president humbling himself before students as he expressed his sorrow or teammates of Qadrey giving heartfelt testimony to her character, everyone who attended that night was made vulnerable by their own choice. In doing so, a community of strength developed like I have never seen in my life.

Tuesday night’s remembrance ceremony was followed with a chapel service dedicated to Qadrey on Wednesday morning. Neither Easter nor Christmas has ever brought the numbers and the energy to chapel that today’s service brought.

Gatherers once again featured people from all walks of life joining hands together because when a part of our community hurts, we all hurt. Strength is supposed to lie in numbers and we had lots of numbers in that chapel service (people standing in the aisles, in fact).

To me, our strength did not come from the number of people that attended either service. Instead, the strength produced was a result of people putting their own pride, pain and schedules to the side in order to provide a community for one another.

There is nothing that was done or could have been done that will erase what has happened but Bethel can take pride in providing an environment in which an energy developed that I hope will carry over throughout the year. Others’ needs were put first, kind words were abundant and all were allowed to display their emotions without worry of ridicule. I am proud to be a Bethel Thresher.

Oh death where is thy sting —


How to Fall Break at Bethel

Fall break is a great time of the year on Bethel’s campus. You have almost made it through the semester and you are looking forward to your Thanksgiving and, more importantly, Christmas vacation. As you enjoy the latter half of the semester it is comforting to receive a two-day relief from classes.

Everyone has their own use of these two days. Some people take the opportunity to go home and see family for a few days. Others do as only college students can, and stay up late, sleep in and watch movies all day. Others still, like myself, find a balance between catching up on schoolwork and rest while enjoying the season of fall.


It sometimes feels like fall never really happens in North Newton, Kansas. One day, it’s blistering hot summer and the next day it’s cold and bleak winter. Of course this is an exaggeration, but one can get so caught up in the extremes of the seasons that they forget to relish the brisk autumn afternoons.

The views on campus are truly one-of-a-kind this time of year. The many trees on campus are shedding their colorful leaves and leaving us with the opportunity to add a crunch to our walk to class. It’s the perfect college weather when everything from shorts to sweats to T-shirts to coats are all acceptable. So open your books, take your naps and bundle up on your walks. Fall break is only two days but it’s a great two days to be at Bethel.

Until next time –


Finding Joy in All Hours

Bethel students are known for being busy. Seriously, not like your average college student busy, I mean really busy. As a small liberal arts college, Bethel encourages one to get involved with their college experience.

Bethel students also happen to be incredibly driven and skilled in many areas. The result is, as I said, lots of busy students around campus. As someone who often feels overwhelmed with a busy schedule, I was struggling to be completely happy with my life of moving from one class, job, practice, etc. to the next.

This is due in part to the way I would view my schedule. There were three categories: free time (time to watch TV, sleep or whatever else I want); homework time; and scheduled time (practice, class or work). Free time is hard to find in my schedule and I found myself only able to be truly happy during this time. All other time was hours I had to grind through in order to get to my next block of free time.

Recently, I decided to make a switch in the way I perceived my time. All time, regardless of the category, was an opportunity to find happiness. Rather than surviving class or begrudgingly walking into work just waiting for my shift to be over, I decided to look at these hours as part of my happiness.

When I study, I make it a point to take breaks and talk to people or study with a small group of people. While I am focused in class, I try to participate and engage classmates in discussion. Suddenly the busy schedule seems like less of a burden and more of a blessing.

Like everyone else I enjoy my free time and time alone. I have come to find that the students at Bethel are incredibly special, and the more I talk to people, the more I want to understand their thoughts and beliefs or simply share a laugh with them.

My advice to my fellow Bethel students and future Bethel students is to embrace the busy schedule and the stress that comes with it. Find ways to experience joy and happiness through it all.

Bethel surrounds its students with caring professors, diverse and intelligent students and opportunities for work as well as play. My days left as a student at Bethel are numbered but I look forward to each one.



The picture captures the joy of waking up early to photograph a Kansas sunsrise.


Mega Saturday


Yesterday was, as student event staff manager Brenan Erb calls it, “Mega Saturday.” It’s one of maybe two days each year when the sports schedules align and drop a bomb of competition and chaos on Bethel’s campus.

Yesterday, volleyball played McPherson College, soccer (both men’s and women’s) played York College and football played Bethany College — all at home. That is a lot of activity on the small campus of Bethel College. Wisely, it was also designated as Family Weekend. There were families traveling from all over to come visit their sons and daughters as the season begins to change to fall.

The college planned an outdoor meal on the plaza for lunch, and a tailgating meal for dinner before the football game. Turnout was outstanding and the weather was pristine but Family Weekend of 2015 will be memorable for more than just the sunshine and community.

This was Mega Saturday and a chance to reiterate the turnaround of Bethel’s sports programs. Mega Saturday provided four opportunities for Threshers to win in front of large home crowds. If there was any doubt whether Bethel athletics were moving in the right direction, yesterday put those doubts to rest. Volleyball won, women’s soccer won, men’s soccer won and football won.

What has been at times the exception is quickly becoming the norm in North Newton. Bethel sports are winning and the effect on campus is truly astounding. Support from families, fellow students, faculty and staff creates a community of support and joy in each other’s successes that is like no other.

It is important to mention that the Bethel cheer squad has grown in size and talent again this year. Their halftime performance was a glimpse into the future of what has and will become a cornerstone of Bethel athletics.

There was much to celebrate on Family Weekend and Mega Saturday. Thanks to everyone who did their part by supporting, working and competing for Bethel this past weekend. Days like yesterday are part of the reason why so many of us believe this college is an amazing place to go to school.

Until next time –


Seeking questions

As a student at Bethel, I have matured in a myriad of ways. Some of my developments have been obvious to all and probably met with a great deal of relief that they came about. Other changes have occurred on a much more subtle level that are less likely to be noticed except by myself and perhaps the perceptive friend or teacher.

One of these seemingly minor changes has provided a new mindset for me when approaching all aspects of life. So often I was motivated to seek the correct answer. In many classes, this is the seemingly obvious calling. You know the question, find the answer.

Since I have arrived at Bethel I have noticed that it is not always that simple. In many of my courses that I take and situations I find myself in, I have noticed that the person with the greatest grasp on the topic or situation is doing more than simply answering questions. They are asking the right questions, too.

I am grateful to Bethel has a whole, to the students and professors that have challenged me and impressed me and I am certainly grateful for the natural maturation that is bound to occur on some level between the ages of 18-21. Seeking questions is a simple way to engage an entire class or group of people. It allows for creativity, discussion and discernment to take place. Answers are important, but seeking the questions that can make one stop and think; this is something that I have gained a true appreciation for in my time at Bethel.

Until next time –


My Last August at Bethel

Hello to the Bethel community,

My name is Eric Preheim and I am now a senior at Bethel. Reflecting on who I was and where I was, four years at Bethel has changed much about my life.

I am by no means ready to hit cruise control and coast to the finish. At the same time, I feel the need to “experience” college and participate in every single activity less and less. My energies have been realigned to focus on my final (sigh) soccer season, finishing up my academic year strong and connecting with and supporting the many people at Bethel I have come to admire, appreciate and continue to learn from.

When I am not at practice, in the classroom or studying I can usually be found at Applebees eating half-priced apps with my girlfriend, Kiley, or enjoying the music of the on-campus bluegrass band, The Flannelbacks.

In true Bethel fashion, this year has already provided me with new opportunities in my career path of interest, marketing, and put me in contact with new people that I can already call friends (I live with 5 new transfers and the soccer team has doubled in size).

It is only August but another great year seems to be on the horizon. I look forward to sharing more good news and the occasional struggle of living as a senior at Bethel College.

Until next time,


Summers in North Newton

Greetings from North Newton, Kansas!

This is the summer before my senior year at Bethel College and it is my first staying on campus. Rather than go back home, I have decided to live on campus and do adult things – buy groceries, make dinner, work full-time and go to bed by 10 p.m. This small preview of adult life has been an adventure that I am fully enjoying.

Being on campus is great because I am able to see friends and faculty that I would otherwise not see for the three months of summer and I am able to be involved with the preparation for the upcoming school year. One of the greatest perks is being able to participate in (both as a referee and player) the summer soccer league put together by the Bethel soccer coaches. There are two full men’s divisions and a women’s division and five hours of soccer twice a week.

There are student workers all over campus, doing anything from maintenance to graphic design to research. Much to my surprise, this campus does not shut down and fall into a three-month-long sleep. Instead, the campus is busy as ever with a sense of anticipation and excitement in the air. Can’t wait for everyone else to join us in North Newton soon!

Eric Preheim