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VALUABLE EXPERIENCES AT DORDT
Leading Week of Welcome (WOW), Dordt's freshmen orientation week, was an interesting experience. With WOW, everything is long-term and future goal-oriented. When planning WOW, I put my knowledge of curriculum design into practice. I thought, “What do I want freshmen to know by the time they’re done with WOW and how am I going to get there?” And then I worked backward from there. What do I want freshmen to know? What do my WOW staff need to know to get the freshmen there? And what do my superstaff have to know to get them there?
I especially appreciated investing into the lives of the WOW leaders. I loved being a WOW leader, interacting with the freshmen, and seeing them get excited about being at Dordt. As WOW coordinator, I had a chance to talk with my superstaff and prepare them to make a difference in the lives of incoming students and for the entire Dordt community.
COOL THINGS I DID AT DORDT
I play tuba in concert band, but over the course of time you learn all the instruments. I have a few that I really like and spend more time on.
I’ve been involved in choir, band, and Kantorei for all four years. I was heavily involved with pep band, which is a student-led activity—it’s student-volunteered and student directed for football and basketball season. I helped to direct and coordinate some of those details and worked with athletic and music department to figure out details. I was also involved in the art club, which was interesting. I knew some people who were on the board, and they invited me to be involved since I attended a lot of their events. I’ve had a chance to be part of that and to create with other people—not just art majors, but to come together and create things.
I’ve enjoyed being able to do Defender ambassadors, where you work as a student volunteer to lead the tours on Thursday night for visiting students. I’ve actually had a couple students that I led on tours show up on WOW week. That first touch where they’re not even students here yet and then you get to meet them and tell them what you love about Dordt—that’s been a lot of fun too.
ACADEMICS AT DORDT
It’s been awesome. I do have a tendency to overcommit; some of my professors are very aware of that and will talk with me about how to set priorities and to check in. They were more concerned about that dedication to doing everything well rather than trying to do everything. That was both in the music department and in the education department. Especially in student teaching, Dr. Ryan Zonnefeld and Dr. Ed Starkenburg, professors of education, check in during student-teaching and have open office hours. Dr. Starkenburg has sent out a couple emails to us student teachers, encouraging us and saying he’s praying for us. It's personal communication—you know they’re thinking about you.
HOW DORDT IMPACTED ME
I feel well-prepared to take what I know and move from there continually learning and engaging with people I’ll be with with the intent to help them grow. It doesn’t feel like I am checklist-ing items. I’ve been given the abilities to assess, plan, organize, and enact as well as review and modify whatever those plans are.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR ME
I have a job lined up at Calvin Christian School in Escondido, California. They timed it really well; they sent the offer when we were on spring break music tour driving through a blizzard. I’ll be doing mostly instrumental and choral music, grades 5-12. It’s exciting. I’m already starting to think about the classroom and what I want to be doing. It’s something fun to look forward to.
WHAT I WOULD TELL PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS
Dordt has been awesome; they’ve offered so many opportunities. When students get engaged at every level—whether that’s a communal aspect of activities, the academics, or the continuation of education—it makes a difference because it’s the intent that when you engage here, you care about being here and you want to see it improved.
Dordt’s great. I love it here. I’ve really enjoyed my four years. The people have made such a difference, and the small interactions between faculty has always been great and supportive. I think the atmosphere that Dordt is creating brings the people that care, and that’s what’s made the biggest impact for me. It’s finding such a great group of people who are interested and continuing to learn and to help not just themselves grow but this whole community grow. It’s been fun.