College. Four years of your life that could be absolutely anything. Four years that have the potential to be the most challenging, stressful, rewarding, mind numbing, pulse-thrilling years of your entire life. Of course, there are memories that come before the college years, but the eighth grade history day project and the junior year prom will probably be outshone by four of the most eventful years of your life.
But why listen to someone who’s only a sophomore? Seniors Hannah Hart and Nathan Friend already have one foot in the real world, but their stories would not be complete without their time at Dordt College.
Coming to Dordt from Urbandale, Iowa not knowing anyone was intimidating for Hannah Hart as a freshman. Sure, she knew her older brother, but moving into West Hall without a familiar face to welcome her was somewhat frightening, to say the least. But all that changed when one warm-hearted RA welcomed her in. “Wendy Gomez was my RA, and the best one to have,” Hart remembered with a smile. And it wasn’t just her RA that made her feel at home. “Not only Wendy, but my whole wing was close,” said Hart. “She encouraged us to be a real community, to open our doors; it was a community that was carried into the commons even when we ate.”
Choosing a major was a slightly more difficult process for Hart. Accounting was the obvious first choice, for its practicality and marketability, but Hart knew that her passions truly laid with English. However, when she switched her major to English, she still wasn’t completely satisfied. “I loved to read and to write,” Hart said, “but when my parents asked me the hard questions about what was really practical, I realized you can have these passions and loves, and pursue them, but you don’t have to have them as your major.” Despite how much the decision upset her, Hart switched her major back to accounting. In the end, she realized that business also held a piece of her heart, and even though she didn’t feel excited switching her major back to accounting, “I felt at peace about it.”
For Nathan Friend, the decision to come to Dordt was one easily made. “It’s my family’s college,” a fact that made the college selection much easier. “Coming to Dordt was the path of least resistance,” he said simply. But once the choice of college was made, the path of least resistance quickly ran out. Knowing only that he liked math made choosing a major difficult, but it helped, he remembered humorously, when “I very quickly realized that playing around with concrete was not my dream career.” This prompted a switch in majors to Computer Engineering, and after a programming for engineers class he officially switched his major to Computer Science, and, he says, “I haven’t had second thoughts about the switch since.”
Friend realized that he too found himself in a good group early on in his first semester. “I’m still incredibly close to these same people nearly four years later,” he said. “They’re all ridiculously smart and talented people – it was a humbling experience to spend time with them, and good for me –witnessing the intelligence and work ethic displayed by friends helped me gain valuable perspective of myself.” He also remembers De Roo’s CORE 200 class standing out as a shaping moment in his life. “His rational, humorous, slightly cynical, and relatable look at philosophy opened my eyes to hypocrisies and inconsistencies in my own life; if there was a class that will have prepared me more than any at Dordt to enter the real world, it’s that one.”
These are the moments and experiences that have built a foundation for these seniors’ lives after Dordt. Friend titled his last semester at Dordt “Job Search,” but hasn’t found it difficult to find future employers, knowing that his own experience of turning down future employees is not something most college graduates have the luxury to do. “I owe it all to my field of study,” Friend said. “The job market is incredibly hot for anyone that can do any kind of computer programming. One of the most exciting experiences I’ve had was a recent interview in Seattle with Amazon for a software development position with their Ordering team.” This gives him confidence in the future, even though he isn’t entirely sure where his future job lies. “I feel confident in my knowledge and experience leaving Dordt – my work for Computer Services and a variety of other places, combined with several invaluable CMSC courses, has given me a great head-start in the industry,” Friend said. This, and the kind of “perspective-shattering experience that can’t be found anywhere else,” is what he feels has truly prepared him for the future.
The kind of true community that Hart found in her first days on campus is an attitude she wants to carry with her all her life. She already has a position ready for her at Ernest & Young starting in October, and she knows it will be a shock going from a Christian community to a secular workplace. Even so, she says with confidence that “one thing I think I’ll take from Dordt and want to implement is a sense of community. You can have community with anyone, in your neighborhood and at work, and even when it’s not explicitly with Christian people.” Hart hopes that her life will be a witness to her co-workers, and believes that seeing everyone around her as an image bearer of Christ and approaching them tactfully and with humility will be a challenge she can live up to and grow in even more as she leaves Dordt College.
Hannah DeVries, Co-Editor