Taking Chances

A picture of Jenna Stephens

When she arrived at Dordt, Jenna had only taken one art class and occasionally sketched in her free time. She had virtually zero art experience. However, Jenna decided to major in graphic design. Throughout the next four years, Jenna took a variety of art classes, learning how to use various mediums, create artwork, and find her own style.

“My senior art show was probably one of the highlights of my time at Dordt,” she says. “All those hours of painting and classes like drawing and printmaking fed into my art. Art history—stuff that you don’t consciously think of, it all shaped how I paint. So, to finally see all the paintings on the walls felt like the culmination of four years of study. To be able to show my loved ones what I’d been working on was super exciting, and it gave me a boost of energy to keep pursuing art after Dordt.”

Jenna’s journalism minor was also important, because tying writing and art skills makes her more valuable to an employer. In addition to writing classes, Jenna loved working for the Diamond, Dordt’s student newspaper.

“The journalism classes pushed my writing, but they also pushed me to try to find the story in everyone’s lives,” she says. “To see how we can make a difference by telling other people’s stories because I think giving a voice to people is a lot stronger than just telling people what they should believe. If they hear it coming from someone who’s experienced something, it’s a little more meaningful.”

Although Jenna got married during the summer of her sophomore year and began living off campus, she found ways to stay engaged on campus. For example, spending hours with the track team every day allowed her to form strong connections and meet people from a variety of friend groups. Jenna also appreciated how invested professors are in the lives of their students, challenging, encouraging, and helping students in many ways. Attending chapel each week was a great way for Jenna to gather much of the Dordt community, worship, and refocus on God in the middle of a busy week.

“I’m starting to grasp the fact that it’s not where I want to go, it’s where God wants me to go. I'm trying to lean into that, no matter how hard it is. I don’t have a specific career path in mind right now, but I know that I’ve gained a bunch of skills in different areas that I could pursue a career in multiple areas and hopefully be successful at it. It’s not my life that I’m in charge of; it’s a life that I’m living for God. It’s easier said than done, but just remembering that and being willing to go to a place that’s uncomfortable, if that’s where he’s calling my husband and me.”