A Love Letter to Hesston College
by Jordan Waidelich – Horizon Opinion Editor
I’m not sure there are words to describe my appreciation for you. And I’m afraid that if I try, I will forget so many important parts, but I need to try anyway.
From professors that pushed me to be better academically and personally, to friends that were always there to pick me up after a rough week, Hesston has given me so much more than I expected two short years ago.
Sure, Hesston has its flaws. Being 15 hours from home has gotten hard when I can really only go home for Christmas. And it never fails; I always forget to grab a sweatshirt in the “excitement” of the fire alarm because apparently no one understands how to use the microwaves.
But the late nights at Druber’s, Mod parents, and the countless traditions that make Hesston the special place that it is are worth every minute.
There’s something mysterious about this small private two-year liberal arts college in the middle of Kansas that the Marketing and Communications department sells as the “Hesston Experience.” And I’m not sure they could describe it any better than that. (Good work, Marathana.) Because I’m not convinced that anyone can really explain it simply using words.
Between the relationships formed with the faculty and staff, the friendships that will last a lifetime, and the long list of traditions, Hesston is an unforgettable experience.
I still remember sitting in my mod lounge one afternoon, and Kevin Wilder walked through and tossed me an ice cream sandwich, then just kept walking. When I refused to salsa dance at the Culture’s Fair, Marissa King told me that she had “raised me better than that.” And I’m convinced that a Karen Sheriff LeVan-hug could take away all of the problems in the world.
I could provide a similar story for every professor I’ve had at Hesston. And I can’t forget the other amazing staff members that I’ve gotten to know.
I should have known there was something special about this place as soon as Annali Murray, my admissions counselor, told me there had been a dance party in admissions after I told her I was coming to Hesston. Musical Fridays with RDs Heidi Zehr and Steph Swartzendruber make weekends even better. And words can’t describe how sweet Phyllis Weaver really is.
I may not have gotten to form relationships with everyone who works here, but I’ve been blessed by those that I’ve gotten to know. I can’t say enough good things about the faculty and staff here. Hesston taught me the value of human interactions, and the importance of simple conversations.
Those simple conversations were enough to start life-long friendships. When I think back on how I made friends here at Hesston, I can’t pinpoint one specific moment. My friends just seemed to fall in place.
Some came from my mod freshman year, 1CS, others just happened to have some of the same classes as me, and still many more just came from the ease of enjoyable conversation. I’m glad there are people here who love hugs just as much as I do.
I won’t even begin to name the friends that I’ve found at Hesston College because that would be a very long list, but Hesston’s sense of community has given me the opportunity to get to know people from all over the world, and for that, I am forever grateful.
Sure you might be able to find professors half as cool as mine at some other college, and you might even have some friends that sound a quarter as stellar as the ones I described above, but Hesston College’s traditions make Hesston the unique place it is.
For instance, a “B” in a Hugo class doesn’t mean anything to anyone who has never taken a quizzie, and the Creeper book just sounds… well… creepy. You might even be able to fool someone into thinking that Erb Moon actually has something to do with the moon.
A person visiting campus might ask where Bontrager Student Center is, and for once you think they might know this place better than you, until you realize that that’s just the cafeteria, and it’s pretty funny that the Bills and Normas trick freshmen into thinking that Freshmen Games are actually games.
But being able to say your Heilsgeschichte when your two years are all done makes you feel like you really can “Start Here and Go Everywhere.”
Of course I’ve had difficult moments in my past two years, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The emphasis on diversity has pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to see situations from perspectives different than my own.
Again, I can’t do justice to the amount of love that is in my heart for this place. And with two weeks left, I am reminded just how fast time flies.
My Hesston experience has meant so much to me that it will be difficult to get in that car and drive away, but as long as the 30-day rule lives on, I can leave with peace in my heart. Because I know I’ll be back. (I need to see what those crazy Bills and Normas will do for the Thanksgiving Talent Show next year!)