The general conversation starters I have found to be most used here over the past couple weeks have been “Where are you from?” or “How did you hear about Goshen College?” I tell people that I am actually from Elkhart, and until a year ago I did not know a lot about Goshen College.

A little over a year ago my youngest sister auditioned for the Youth Honors Symphony Orchestra that practices in the Music Center. I went with her to her practices and week after week I noticed more of the campus. Eventually I decided to look up the college and the first thing I looked for were the majors and minors that were offered. The school went beyond my expectations.

The next week I walked into the Music Center with her and I was completely in awe at how beautiful the building is. I took some time and walked around the campus and I knew that this was where I needed to be. I went through the application process and after about six weeks I had heard back with my acceptance. I made more trips out to walk around campus when my sister was in the Symphony.

Now that I have been here a few weeks, I am still as captivated as I was the first time I walked into the Music Center. The professors are fantastic and I love the class sizes. I read the announcements e-mail every day to find out more about the opportunities on campus and I constantly find myself becoming interested in something new.

We are only a few weeks into the year and I am already involved in activities and, of course, actively seeking out others to look into. I feel like I can walk around campus and somehow find out that there is another group to become a part of. Through the job listings posted online, I was fortunate enough to have already found an on-campus job that can fulfill my work-study as a convocation/chapel scanner.

There are so many opportunities available here for everybody that I am starting to have a hard time figuring out what would be best for me and still have time to balance homework as well. However, I think that it is important, as I am learning, especially this school year, to approach all opportunities with an open mind and to not be afraid to branch out from my comfort zone to try something new. That is partly what college is for: to find out who you are and what you love to do.

The spiritual vibe that is evident all over campus is great, and I do not think that it is as present on other campuses. Spirituality is a big part of what makes up Goshen College’s identity, and you can see it through the staff and students.

I have been finding out so much about myself and what the world can offer me in these past few weeks, and I know that I will continue to grow as a person within this campus. Another thing that I have been learning here is that it is okay to be alone for a while. This helps to reflect on what has been happening during the day or week and I find it can just be a stress reliever. I can honestly say that I have been alone in my dorm room and just danced simply because I was alone and felt like it. Some people may feel comfortable doing that in front of other people, while others may not. I am just finding some alone time to be beneficial. So while new students are adjusting to the campus and returning students are getting back in the swing of things, my advice is to take every opportunity and try it out. Even if not everything appeals to you, there is sure to be something for you on this growing campus. Everybody’s experiences are going to be a little bit different, but I know that every day I will be able to feel that same feeling I had when I first walked onto the campus a year ago. I wish everybody a safe and great school year.