When I first arrived at Arcadia almost four years ago, I was full of expectations. I was 18 and didn’t know where my college journey would take me. Now, as a senior, observing those four years in the rear view mirror, I can’t help but laugh to myself: I was full of expectations, but I had no idea what to expect. Here are some of the (many) highlights.
At Arcadia, all incoming students take a First-Year Seminar. The catalogue of classes offered is dazzling. You can learn about practically anything (yes, anything), from “For the Love of Dogs” to a class on the sociology of Harry Potter. My seminar was called Citizenship and the Law. It was taught by Christopher Judge Cerski. Judge, as he is affectionately called by his students, devised the class to engage students in their citizenship, to inspire us to consider how the law of the United States affects us. As part of the seminar, we traveled to Washington, D.C., where we toured the Library of Congress and explored the National Mall.
Another experience that stands out is Preview. This program is one of the things that really defined Arcadia in my eyes. In Spring 2018, I had the absolute pleasure to accompany Ryan Genova and Allan Powell, as well as a score of other bright-eyed students, to the beautiful Central American country of Nicaragua. When Arcadia says that we have a “global perspective,” we mean it. The two things that most amazed me about Nicaragua were the immense natural beauty and the genuine kindness of her people. We saw the capital city of Managua, then journeyed south to the spectacular city of Granada on the shores of Lake Nicaragua. Lastly, we spent several days at the southern tip of the country in San Juan del Sur. San Juan is on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast, and I took the opportunity to rent a surfboard and enjoy the waves for the first time since leaving home. I loved returning to the ocean, and most of all, I loved teaching surfing to my classmates, some of whom were naturals.
Nicaragua was not the only time that I took the opportunity to travel in these four years. After I got back from Preview, I instantly started researching where I would spend a full semester abroad. I chose the Umbra Institute in Perugia, Italy. Perugia was on the map for me because it is home to one of the best volleyball teams in the world. But in addition, the region called the Heart of Italy (il Cuore dell’Italia) was as beautiful (if not more beautiful) than Nicaragua. Its location provided the opportunity to travel quite a bit: Florence, Rome, and even Athens. I learned an immense amount in my classes as well, perhaps more than I ever learned in any other four months of my life.
Turning away from traveling, and back to life in Glenside, one experience that made an impact on me was assisting my professors with their research during my junior year. I was honored to be selected as a research assistant in the Historical and Political Science (HAPS) department. I helped Judge research the United States’ various policies on Protection from Abuse Orders, and their Free Exercise of Election clauses. The discoveries we made amazed me. I also was tapped to organize the applications that the HAPS department received for an International Studies professor. When I had finished, Dr. Widestrom, one of the chairs of the department, asked for my opinion on some of the best candidates. I was flattered, of course.
Another highlight of my life at Arcadia was being a member of the varsity men’s volleyball team. Our coach, Eli Porr, is the best mentor I have ever had. The comradery of my teammates has blossomed into some really great friendships—I live with a bunch of them. Of course, I have to mention that we won a conference championship in 2018, but I would be remiss to put too much emphasis on that one game. The time that I have spent as a Knight has enriched my life.
But my Arcadia journey is not over. I am getting my master’s degree in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. This next year will be full of more of the things that made these last four years so worthwhile. More traveling—the IPCR program goes to Cyprus and Paris—more learning and building professional relationships, and more volleyball. However, I also cannot wait to see how this next year will surprise me. The road ahead will be an interesting one, of that I am sure. Whatever comes my way, I will take in stride. I’m ready for anything.