Becca Groninga

Hometown

Green Isle, Minnesota

The Story

WHAT DREW ME TO ENGINEERING

When I was little, I enjoyed tinkering with things. Sometimes I would lock myself in my room and play with Legos for as long as I could. I enjoyed building things and designing things myself. So I was looking for something where I could actually do something like that in real life. My uncle is an engineer, and he said I should go for engineering.

MUSICAL EXPERIENCES

I didn’t think I would end up doing [music] when I got to Dordt. I didn’t do it a lot in high school; I started writing in high school but I didn’t share it with anyone. I wrote when I felt like it; I had two songs. I had a friend in high school who wanted to be a rapper, and we’d hang out a lot. I think in a way that inspired me to actually start writing a little more. So I wrote a lot freshman and sophomore year of college. Then in junior and senior year, it started to kick off, because then I did my song for TX which people really enjoyed, so I kept going. One of the guys on the worship team said, “You should record that.” So Dordt had all the resources to do that for me. I pretty much got my first song recorded for free, which is pretty cool. I kept doing it from there.

I think my best stuff usually comes from random inspiration. So sometimes I’ll just be sitting and thinking about something, and then lyrics will come in. It’s easier to process ideas when I do it through music. And then also if I’m given a topic or something like that—so something for chapel, when Campus Ministries Coordinator Jon De Groot says, “We’re going through this book of the Bible for chapel,” I’ll read the passage and then I can write up some lyrics that relate to that or how I’ve seen that working out in my life or other people’s lives.

I really like the spoken word I just did for chapel. It was hard to do, but it was something that needed to be said. And so I really liked that one. I liked my other songs that have been like that. Some of them aren’t quite released yet, but I’m working on it. I have a new song coming out soon called “Criminal,” and I think that’s going to be pretty good.

I titled it [my spoken word piece], “To My Future,” it was a longer piece than I usually do. It kind of outlines my journey of singleness. I think that’s something we don’t like to talk about in the church, especially when it comes to women. We don’t really like to admit things like that or go into that. I kind of outlined some of those struggles that were happening in my own life and how those things can become idols and how we can break down those idols. I formatted it like a letter to my future husband.

I think probably the biggest thing is having people who are willing to work with me and give me the resources to actually do that because usually what I end up doing is I write the lyrics first and then find a track to go with it. And usually recording costs quite a bit, and mixing and mastering and finding people who will do that for you is kind of difficult and doing it well. Having that resource right down in the Worship Arts area is a big part of it. And also being able to perform on campus has helped me a lot—to come out of my shell and actually want to share more. I don’t necessarily like being up in front of people, which is weird for someone who likes to do rap and spoken word. Having to do those and having that experience has helped a lot.

ACADEMICS AT DORDT

It’s very clear that my professors care about me. Dr. Ethan Brue, professor of engineering, works all the time. He’s a really good professor, and if he has a spare minute he’ll talk to you. I was having trouble finding jobs, so I talked to him and I got an interview with a place in Illinois. So that interview process is going well, and I’m hoping I’ll get an offer soon from that. 

I think I found a mentor in Dr. Rebekah Earnshaw, assistant professor of theology. I read a book that she was thinking of using for her singleness mentor group in Core 399. Since then we’ve met every Tuesday to read the Bible together, so that’s been really cool for me and has been super helpful.

COOL THINGS I DID AT DORDT

I would say most of my time has been spent doing schoolwork but then I’ve had the opportunity to do a couple intramural sports and then freshman and sophomore year I did rugby, so that was a lot of fun.

Once I decided to start working with music and praying about that and realizing that God has given me an opportunity and a ministry in that area and an outlet for my own issues, I realized I wanted to do it more and that I didn’t have all the skills necessary other than writing lyrics, so I started putting things on Instagram—just throwing things on Facebook and Instagram, putting the right hashtags on there, and following other people who were already in the business. And so I got into—there was a competition they have, so sometimes artists will give you part of their song without the lyrics in it so you can write a remix verse for it. So I did that, and the competition was actually over by the time I submitted it, but I tagged both the people who were running the competition. One of the people that I tagged unknowingly was the owner of the record company. And so I think he messaged me shortly after that and asked if I wanted to do a song for one of the random tracks they had laying around. So he sent me that and I worked on it. And I actually hadn’t had it done yet, but over spring break he messaged me again and said, “I’ve been praying about it, and I think we should bring you onto the label.” So I talked with Jon De Groot and prayed about it.

It’s not a huge contract—it’s not like I’ll be making a ton of money. They’re pretty much starting out, but there’s a lot of support that comes with that. People have the skills of mixing and mastering tracks.

[Rap and engineering are] kind of two separate worlds. It’s interesting, because I think I’ve heard before that quite a few engineers are also really into music or they’re doing orchestra or band or something like that. And I don’t know if it’s just—it gives you a rest from the analytical part of things and then you can be calm and use the other side of your brain for a while. I don’t know what it is—it seems like they go together well.

HOW DORDT IMPACTED ME

I think I’ve had a better education at Dordt than I would have had otherwise because I’ve been able to talk with professors because of class sizes. I’ve been able to see improvement over my four years because of what I’ve studied and what I’ve chosen to spend my time on. Having that resource—people are helping you develop, like the Career Development Center. People are helping me to develop resumes and set up mock interviews where you can actually practice with that. They have people with different companies coming every once in a while to talk with students.

WHAT I WOULD TELL PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS

I think for finding jobs and for preparing yourself, why would you not take advantage of all the things Dordt offers, especially with professors who care about you and want you to succeed? Sometimes trying to find a job or getting tips is as easy as walking into your prof’s office and saying, “I’m having trouble finding this specific thing. Can you help me?” Going into the Career Development Center, having someone help you build a LinkedIn profile and a resume helps you build a network and sets you up for success when you eventually leave.