Theatre, Community, and Growth

A picture of Jacob VanDyken with his family

Jacob arrived at Dordt University halfway through his freshman year, worried that he would struggle to make friends and find his place at Dordt. However, he found that it was easy to find friends and meet new people through his various extracurricular activities.

“I spent a lot of time involved in theatre, and did all sorts of things with them,” Jacob says. “I acted in a few plays, helped with tech with all the plays, and even directed a short play for a class I took. I also went to a national theatre conference a few years, which was fun! Outside of theatre, I spent time in the business club working at the coffee shop, and went on a few trips with the business club to Chicago and Pella. I went on a PLIA trip to Colorado one spring. I did a little bit of intramural sports as well.”

Although he majored in theatre arts and business administration, after graduating, Jacob began working as a police officer for the City of Sioux Falls. His work experience does not line up with his degrees in the most classic way, but Jacob says that his education was very helpful in helping him succeed. The computer and writing skills from his business classes help Jacob’s daily computer work. Skills from Jacob’s theatre degree, such as talking to people, being put on the spot, and quickly adapting to situations without freaking out have also been beneficial.

“My experience at Dordt prepared me for a job in which I am constantly interacting with people,” he explains. “I am able to attempt to be a positive influence to those people, sometimes when they're going through not so good experiences themselves. What I learned from my major has helped me out a lot every day in my work.”

Jacob is also grateful for the community of students and faculty at Dordt. He was surprised to find that professors and staff at Dordt are there for students any time they need it, to help with class related things, but also to offer general advice and support.

“Not only did I learn a good amount of ‘book smarts’ from my time at Dordt,” he says, “I gained countless relationships and personal experience as well. Things like learning how to manage a schedule, do research, initiate a conversation and talk to people, be patient, and so many other skills as well. I would not be where I am today without my time at Dordt.”