Monday, April 13, 2015

College is What You Make of It

During my college selection process, I had lists of colleges, lists of pros and cons for each university, lists of facts and figures, and lists of my lists.

I originally heard of Mac when I was contacted by the head coach of the men’s soccer team, Gregg Olson. I had applied to several schools on both coasts, so the small Midwestern Macalester College didn’t seem as exciting as the bigger schools. At the end of the day it was a tough choice, but it came down to three benefits: 1) I could continue playing soccer 2) the biology program has a great track record for acceptance to medical school and most important, 3) the merit scholarship offered by Macalester would enable me to earn a debt-free undergraduate degree, giving me more options for grad school.

My roommate Zeke (#1) and I (#3) leading the post game cheer after our 1-0 victory over Gustavus Adolphus College.
After I made my decision, I was feeling a mixture of excitement and nerves because I knew college is an experience that would probably determine my career path. I still wasn’t sold on the whole liberal arts experience, but my older brother, a senior at Santa Clara University in my home state of California told me, “College is what you make of it.”  

I’m a second year student here at Mac, and I am starting to realize the truth behind his words with the passage of every week. I have found that college presents so many opportunities to participate in clubs, organizations, sports and much more. I play on the men’s soccer team and I couldn’t imagine attending college without being a part of such a tight-knit group. Playing soccer has not only given me the opportunity to represent my school but it has also helped me make friends I know I will have for life.

I showed up on the first day of preseason soccer not knowing what to expect. The coach had hung the fitness test over our heads all summer to make sure everyone came to school fit. We ran and ran and ran, and then we became best friends. The guys on the team eat every meal together, many upperclassmen live together, and we all work out and play soccer together multiple times per week. The team is getting better, with an improving record over the last two seasons, and we are determined to make the conference playoffs again in fall 2015. As my brother said, college is what you make of it, and the Mac men’s soccer team is making the most of our time together.

 2014 Macalester Men’s Soccer Team
Soccer has also helped me tremendously with time management skills. During the season we play six days a week, so we have to balance our work on the field with our classwork. The busy schedule actually helps me stay on task and carve out time for other interests. I am studying both English and biology, a perfect path for a liberal arts student. I am learning two very different approaches to processing and applying information, which I really enjoy.

Here’s Patricia Baehler’s 18th Century British Literature Class after we practiced writing letters with quill pens and ink.
Macalester has so many great opportunities for sports, volunteering, art, internships, iand student organizations, which means it’s really up to each individual how involved he or she will be. The Macalester community is filled with people who have a broad range of interests, and it’s a place where participating in eclectic hobbies and activities is celebrated. Ours is a community that allows everyone to make the most out of college.

Austin Burrows ’17, 

Roseville, CA