Seniors reflect on last four years at Centre
RELEASED: May 18, 2006
With less than a week left in their Centre College experience, members of the class of 2006 are looking back on the last four years. Whether they're headed to exciting first jobs, off to graduate school or to the other side of the world, soon-to-be alumni feel they wouldn't be who they are today without their extraordinary Centre experiences. We surveyed the entire senior class and here's what some of them had to say about their time at Centre.
Ben Angel, Campbellsville, Ky.
I grew up a lot during my time here at Centre. I came to realize what it is I want to do with my life, and I gained the skills and force of will to accomplish my goals. I can safely say that without my Centre experience I would almost certainly have settled for less than what I'm capable of accomplishing. I'll be studying moral philosophy and medical ethics at Blackfriars Hall of Oxford University for one year, in addition to traveling Europe and learning Greek. After next year I hope to attend medical school, become a physician, and ultimately teach medical ethics while practicing medicine.
Michael Swartzentruber, Goshen, Ky.
My Centre experience has truly been transformative. I entered Centre with high expectations of becoming a "business man" and doing great things in the financial world. As a result, I decided to major in economics and have enjoyed my major thoroughly. It has taught me critical thinking skills that are invaluable to me. However, in taking some general education courses, I stumbled upon the field of religious studies and fell in love. I double majored in economics and religion and picked up a philosophy minor. This combination of study has changed my life by challenging me intellectually, spiritual and emotionally. I'm confident that I'll leave Centre a much stronger person academically, religiously, and socially.
Having the opportunity to be involved in so many organizations on campus provided me with the experience necessary to make important life decisions about my future. Next year, I'll be student pastoring a local congregation and volunteer coaching with a football program. Then, it's my hope to attend graduate school for religious studies in order to become a professor of religion.
Raven Turner, Hardyville, Ky.
I'll have to say that Centre has helped me figure out who and what I am. And, I'm proud to say that in 18 months, I'll be a Lexington Police Officer. When I tell people about that aspiration, sometimes they question my reasoning. But, through internships, Centre has allowed me to do with Lexington Metro, Lexington Homicide Division, and the Commonwealth Attorney's office in Lexington; I'm sure that this is the position that suits me. I also relish the thought that it's a mere stepping-stone. I hope to work for the FBI, ATF, or DEA within the next 4-6 years, but I need law enforcement experience to back up my undergraduate degree; hence my involvement with Lexington Police. I've come a long way in four years, and that means a lot coming from me. I've always been a driven, ambitious young woman, but, with the help of Centre, that drive found its direction.
Katie Smallwood McLain, Berea, Ky.
For me, my Centre experience has been largely about growing up and analyzing my own beliefs and values. The thing about Centre is that you encounter so many passionate professors who put forth their values and knowledge so persuasively that sometimes the sheer volume of concepts, philosophy and often-current issues is overwhelming. For instance, after having Professor Axtell's Religion 110 class and the myriad of classes I've had with Professor Hartmann-Mahmud, it's easy to become as impassioned as they are about their subjects. It becomes frustrating when you can't do everything, can't be an effective activist for every issue that deserves it. As a result, I have allowed those experiences (and a multitude of others) to shape my beliefs and my concerns and I can only hope that they will become an active part of my life.
The other thing that a liberal arts education has provided me is the opportunity to immerse myself in many different disciplines. I'm a double English and Government major and it's very nice to go from the sometimes-disheartening world of political reality to Shakespeare. I've really enjoyed my experience with both departments.
Laura Walters, London, Ky.
Although my main intention in coming to Centre College was to improve my academic knowledge (which I did), I think what I've learned the most in the past four years is about myself. Centre gave me opportunities that I honestly don't believe I would have had otherwise. I've made friends and had experiences that will be a part of me for the rest of my life. I always dreaded this point when I was getting ready to graduate and leave Centre. However, now that it's almost here, I actually feel ready. I plan on taking a year off and then applying to graduate school. I'll miss Centre, but it's now a part of me and will be for the rest of my life.
Emily LaMaster, Prospect, Ky.
The classes at Centre are small, especially once you get into your major, allowing for a very personal education. My professors very encouraging, attentive and engaging. Many will go out of their way to make sure that you understand the material and provide extra help, if you need it. The small campus size also allowed me to get to know a lot of the students here, through my involvement in a sorority and many different clubs. All in all, my Centre experience was very focused around my goals, my interests, and me.
Sean McCormick, Bellbrook, Ohio
Since I’ve been at Centre I've played four years of football and golf. I've studied/visited Vietnam, Ireland and England. I joined the Phi-Delta-Theta Fraternity, and spent the last school year as President. I've been involved in Student Government and have written for The Cento. It's been a remarkable run and I am constantly reminded of how lucky I'm and what a unique experience college has been.
There is no question I'll miss my friends the most when I leave here on May 21st, many of them being my fraternity brothers. They've been a constant support group for me since I arrived, and there's no question the friendships I’ve made with many of them will last a lifetime. It's those friendships, and the times we shared here, that will be the topic of conversations for years to come, and I cherish that. Often people look back on an experience and remark on how they didn’t realize how good they had it at the time, but would give anything to go back to the “glory days.” Joining Phi-Delt was one of those rare experiences where I realized everyday how great it was, and did my best to soak it all in. While I realize many on this campus are not staunch supporters of the Greek system' please understand how vital it is to college life at Centre. These organizations do more than provide a social outlet; they offer a wealth of service and philanthropic opportunities, in addition to attracting the type of well-rounded prospective students Centre has come to enjoy.
My athletic experience offered me the rare opportunity to participate in two NCAA sports. The victories, defeats, relationships, knowledge and values I learned while competing on an inter-collegiate level were immeasurable. Sports are a great metaphor for life, and teach you a lot about what kind of person you are, and hopefully about what kind of person you believe you can be. It is that hope that athletics provided that kept me vibrant. I was constantly trying to improve myself both on the field as a player, and off as a human being.
I've taken a job as an assistant football coach at Randolph Macon College in Ashland, VA for the next two years, and I look forward to pursuing that dream with the excitement and uncertainty life’s journey often throws at us. I can't say it will be easy to leave this place I had scarcely heard of four years ago, that has become such an important part of my life. I'll do my best to take what I learned here and pass it on to others, and though we will be separated by distance, Centre College will always occupy a special place in my heart. The definitive evaluation of my Centre experience is that I will leave here a better person than I was four years ago, and for that I will be forever grateful.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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