Senior, English (Creative Writing)
When I graduated high school, I was so paralyzed with fear about the big decisions I had to make that I simply couldn’t make them and had to take the fall semester off. I didn’t know where I was going to college; I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I liked to write and had a vague fantasy about being a published writer someday, but it was a disjointed dream. How could I make that happen when I couldn’t even make basic decisions for my post-high school life?
I came to Bethany by chance. Long story short, I followed my best friend here. Everyone tells you not to make decisions based on what your friends do, and it’s good advice; but when I think about where I could have ended up if I hadn’t followed my friend to Bethany, I see nothing but gray.
Freshman year was hard, as it usually is for everyone. I was in a new environment, and when my friend and I stopped speaking at the end of the spring semester, I was truly on my own. A terrifying realization, but I’ve never been so grateful to have been terrified as I am now. Being scared forced me into speaking when I wanted to be silent, into stepping out when I wanted to stay in my room, into approaching others when I most wanted to hide. I joined the Writers Club and could barely speak during meetings because I was so nervous, but I came every week. I had to wrap myself in a blanket to get through some hard classes, but I survived. The thought of approaching potential friends and possibly being rejected was painful, but I did and they didn’t.
Fast forward through sophomore and junior years. They are collages of fear and exhaustion and stress and assignments I thought I’d never get done, but they were also harbingers of opportunity. I became a writing tutor, was published in the school’s literary magazine and later got to edit said magazine, won some awards in my department, became president of the Writers Club, made the kind of friends I’ve been wanting to make my whole life, got my heart broken and learned to love myself through it, and somehow along the way I became more confident, independent, and compassionate toward the world around me.
It’s funny how we can get caught up in the day-to-day of a place and think we’re not having the best time of our lives, how we fail to realize we’re becoming the selves we were always destined to be. It’s only now that I approach the end of my time at Bethany that I can make this realization. I think I was supposed to be here. I was supposed to feel uncertain about college. I was supposed to follow my best friend here and then make this place my own. I was supposed to hurt, stress, laugh, love, complain, write, and thrive. And I was supposed to do it all in no other place but Bethany College. Now, I’m incredibly grateful that I did.
Buckhannon, West Virginia
Sophomore, Social Work major with a minor in Nonprofit Management
I’ve realized through my time here at Bethany that making the decision to be a Bethanian was easily one of the best choices in my life. I recall my first day coming to Bethany, instantly falling in love with the campus and its history. One thing that struck me about Bethany that no other college had was the feeling of being home, as soon as I walked on campus it felt right. The campus was beautiful and all the faculty and coaches seemed to really care about what was best for me. I left campus that day with several phone numbers of current students, coaches, and my admissions counselor. I found myself struck by how often they would check up on me and listen to my concerns.
Once I was a Bethany student, I found myself building personal relationships with my professors every day through office hours, eating with them, or finding them scattered across campus and enjoying a coffee and chat. Any time I was stuck on course material, they always had a way of getting me help. I found myself having one-on-one talks with the President of the college, something I thought would never happen at a college. I learned everyone here at Bethany is here to help you become the best person you can be.
Bethany gave me the opportunity to be involved with campus life and leadership positions throughout its many clubs and activities always happening. I’ve heard people say there is nothing to do in a small town college, but at Bethany, there is always something going on if you take the time to look. I found myself joining my class council, Student Activities Council, and Social Awareness Club. I found a home within Bethany through Phi Kappa Tau and quickly took active leadership roles as Recruitment Chair and Secretary within the house.
Bethany has given me the opportunity to network with people across the world in a tight-knit, supportive community. It has allowed me to develop myself as a leader and a person through numerous leadership opportunities, challenging coursework, diverse ideas, and exposing the students to real life in the best way possible, as one Bethany.
Some advice I’d give to those considering Bethany and college in general would be to give the campus and the people here a chance to prove themselves. You may have your concerns going to a small college, but Bethany has amazing alumni, competent and caring faculty, and a family feeling that will help you get through the college adjustment. Most importantly, get involved as it opens SO many doors to you.
When I first visited Bethany, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It would be my first time away from home, and all I knew previously about West Virginia was summed up in John Denver’s, “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” However, when I first stepped onto campus during Green & White Day, I immediately felt at home.
My tour guide exuded an energy and a vibe I could tell was a product of his experiences at Bethany, and I too, wanted to experience that. It seemed everyone knew everyone— which was understood by the numerous amount of waves and greetings between students I witnessed as I took a tour of campus for the first time.
I have to admit, a small, liberal arts college in West Virginia, was the last place I expected myself to go to college, but I’m so grateful that my path led me to Bethany.
This school is unique in the sense that each professor, and each faculty member is dedicated to helping you succeed. Bethany is a college that works on a personal level— and that’s what makes it so great. You know all of your professors by name, and most likely, every student in your class by name also. There are a multitude of opportunities to network, build your resume, and access one of a kind resources. Bethany helped me grow as an individual and a leader. The clubs and extracurriculars on campus are a great way to stay involved and gain leadership roles— and if an organization you wanted isn’t already at Bethany, the process of starting a club is so simple!
My advice would be to come in with an open mind. In college, you have the opportunity to reinvent yourself and realize your full potential. Go out of your comfort zone and try something new. Join new clubs— start a club! Do whatever it takes and put yourself out there. There’s nothing hard work, passion, and perseverance can’t accomplish!
I chose to come to Bethany because I wanted experience the closeness and intimacy that a small liberal arts college, like Bethany had to offer. Attending Bethany has given me many opportunities to grow and connect inside and outside of the classroom. The small class sizes allowed me to build relationships with my professors and have learning opportunities that I didn’t think were possible.
The campus size gives me the chance to be involved in numerous clubs and even hold leadership positions. Bethany has given me the tools I need to succeed in the real world, from leadership skills to cultural education and immersion; Bethany offers it all.
Bethany has so much to offer, but you have to get out there and involve yourself. Join one of the many clubs. Check out greek life. Apply for leadership positions. Make the most out of Bethany and Bethany will make the most out of you. Do not be afraid to open up and explore your full potential. I promise Bethany College will help you get there. It helped me, and now, country roads will always take me home to Bethany, West Virginia.
Senior, Psychology and Education Interdisciplinary
When I first walked on Bethany’s campus, I knew I wanted to make this my home for the next four years of my life. I loved the campus environment and the small class sizes. Getting to know my professors personally has enhanced my learning experience at Bethany drastically giving me the tools I need to succeed.
Along with professor involvement, Dr. Debra Hall helped me gain an amazing opportunity to intern at Augusta Levy Learning Center. This field experience has helped me gain so much knowledge and has given me the opportunity to become certified to become a Registered Behavioral Technician.
Here at Bethany, I took on the role as a scholar athlete, completing three years of softball. Along with campus involvement, I had a great opportunity to become the Panhellenic and Phi Mu president. This small campus has given me so much and has given me tons of life lessons. Bethany will always have a special place in my heart, and I will forever cherish all of the great experiences provided to me.
Sophomore, Physical Education
When I was searching for colleges and visiting them, none of them really stood out. It seemed as if I was merely a number, and it didn’t matter who I was if the college was receiving money from me. That image came to a halting stop when I was introduced to Bethany College. My first interactions were when I was being recruited by the football team.
When I arrived at the college for the first time, I was greeted by the coaches. I assumed the conversation would start with the obvious, football. But I was wrong. They wanted to get to know me as a person and what I wanted to pursue in addition to getting my degree. This was the first time a college coach wasn’t just interested in whether or not I could play football, but what type of person I was.
I found out that the personal connection wasn’t just with the football staff but the whole staff at Bethany College. Each professor not only wanted us to succeed in their class but also wanted to see us grow as individuals. They would often open their offices to us students even if the topic wasn’t class related. If I had any issues outside of the classroom, I am confident that they would be willing to help.
If having a caring professor isn’t enough to convince you to join the Bethany family, the opportunities present at this small college campus will put the cherry on top. At Bethany College, you have a chance to be a leader and be very involved. I never thought I would join Greek life, but I am now an executive member of my fraternity.
If you don’t see a club or organization that is right for you, you can organize your own club. Bethany College also gives you the opportunity to travel and view different sites. For example, during baseball season, they offer van trips to Pittsburgh pirate games. They also offer different day trips once a semester. Last semester, I got the opportunity to go to Nashville, Tennessee. If you want to get a degree, you can go to any college. But if you want the opportunity to get a personal education, to grow as a person, to get involved in different activities, and find a home, then Bethany College is the place for you!
Senior, Social Work
Growing up in the city of Richmond, being out in the middle of Kansas for two years, and then transferring into Bethany College was a great growing experience for me. Going from flatland to practically being embedded in the mountains of West Virginia was much to get used to.
What stuck out to me the most about Bethany College were the people I was able to find, the opportunities the college enabled for me, and the relationship I was able to have with my professors.
I wanted to make sure that I was making a decision bigger than basketball, and choosing to go to Bethany was the right decision for me.
Bethany has truly taught me to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. Before coming to college, I remained in my comfort zone and was hesitant to take risks; however, I learned throughout my freshman year that it’s important to join organizations and activities that wouldn’t normally be your first choice because it builds character and presents opportunities.
When I reflect on my first year at Bethany College, most of my involvement in executive positions was due to the encouragement of others. Oftentimes, individuals nominated me for these roles because they’ve seen traits in me that I couldn’t see in myself. Over only a few short months, I’ve garnered a new confidence and gained a strong support system. Without my friends, coaches, professors, advisers, and Bethany President Dr. Rodenberg, I would not be the person I am today.
One of the greatest qualities about the school is the ability to be involved in various activities across campus. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to serve as a Presidential Scholar and compete as a two-sport athlete, while holding multiple executive positions, at many other colleges. From attending trustee meetings to establishing the first college partnership with the Special Olympics in the state of West Virginia, I have been granted an abundance of skills and resources that I will take with me when I leave my home away from home in a few years.
A lot of the tasks I have already been handed are far from comfortable, but I’m grateful Bethany College has taught me to embrace them rather than fear them. Choosing to be a Bethanian was one of my best decisions, and I’m so proud to be a part of this wonderful community!
Gabrielle Ashton and Sammy Seymour
Gabrielle Ashton (Accounting and Finance Double Major with Spanish Minor) and Sammy Seymour (Social Work Major and Senior Education Minor) both recently landed summer internships in Washington, D.C. Gabrielle will be working in the financial department at the Nestlé headquarters, and Sammy will be a Speech-Language Pathology and RBT Therapy Intern at The Language and Behavior Center.
These opportunities were made possible through the encouragement and generosity of Bethany alumni.
Gabrielle got the internship through connections of Kylie and Matt McCardle, who provide Bethany students with the D.C. summer housing grant.
“Kylie and Matt have been very helpful in securing an internship for me. Without both of them, I would not have this wonderful opportunity to be [in D.C.] for the summer,” said Gabrielle.
In addition to providing Sammy the D.C. housing grant as well, Kylie and Matt spent countless hours helping her fine-tune her resume and interview skills.
“I know Bethany is the right place for me because of opportunities like this one,” said Sammy.
“I would never have had the opportunity to live in D.C. and pursue my dream internship had it not been for the generosity, expertise, and unwavering support of Bethany Alumni Kylie and Matt McCardle. I am so incredibly grateful for this new adventure!”
Rachel Gantzer, Austin Paul-Orecchio, and Brooklyn Wilson
Chemistry majors Rachel Gantzer, Austin Paul-Orecchio, and Brooklyn Wilson had the opportunity to attend Research Day at the Capitol.
Rachel Gantzer, of Morgantown, WV
Title: Zirconium Complexes as Photosensitizers for Solar Energy Conversion
Poster reflected summer research experience at WVU
Austin Paul-Orecchio, of Wintersville, OH
Title: Photovoltaic Systems Using Organic Dyes and Quasi-Solid State Electrolytes
Advised by Scott Brothers
WV NASA Space Grant Consortium Fellow, Gans Funded Project
Brooklyn Wilson, of Washington, OH
Title: The Effects of Teeth Whitening on Enamel
Advised by Scott Brothers
WV NASA Space Grant Consortium Fellow, Gans Funded Project
Junior, Integrated Media & Marketing
I chose to come to Bethany College because I believe that college is a great opportunity to go to a new place, have a different cultural immersion, and give my chance to really learn to be self-sufficient. I want to travel, give back, and jump right into a new culture and role that is unfamiliar so I can learn as much as possible.
Going to Bethany has been an experience that has been filled with many learning opportunities because I went so far away from home. I also wanted to go to a small private school for the classes sizes, intimacy, and being involved in a campus community.
You have to open yourself up to trying something new and get involved. The only way to do it is to really apply yourself and put yourself out there, volunteer, and to try something new because Bethany College has so much to offer.
Huntington Beach, California
Senior, Finance & Managerial Economics
I chose Bethany College because I loved the campus and the opportunity to play baseball in college. I also liked the small class sizes for a more one-on-one teaching style with my professors.
I liked the small class sizes for a more one-on-one teaching style with my professors. This school can offer a lot for any student, but you have to be involved inside and outside of the classroom.
You have to be active on campus. Play a sport, join a fraternity or sorority and join as many clubs as possible. This school can offer a lot for any student, but they have to be involved inside and outside of the classroom.
When I first came here on a basketball visit, I was going around the Business Department, and Dr. Ramjee took the time and talked with me even though she had a meeting. It showed me that the professors really care about the well-being of the students, and that really spoke to me.
I received exposure to all types of finance within IBM, on the revenue side, the cost side, expense, accounts receivables – you name it, and I had exposure to it.
The best preparation I could ever receive was getting an education from Bethany College. I knew if I took it seriously and worked hard, I could do it.
Arthur, Ontario, Canada
I wanted my college experience to be an adventure. Bethany was away from home, but still felt like home during my visit. It seemed like there were endless opportunities, and the faculty and staff made college seem a lot less overwhelming than other schools had.
I really love Matriculation. As a freshman class, we walk up the main campus road and through the Oglebay Gates – the really big gates in front of Old Main that symbolize the entrance to the College. Then as a class we all sign the Book of Matriculation. When I graduate, I’ll walk back through those gates as a goodbye to Bethany. But, more than that, I’ll be walking through with my class. To me it symbolizes the closeness of the student body at Bethany – you’re never alone on your journey here.
Incoming students, I dare you to visit Bethany with your wildest dreams ready and let us show you how we can help you reach your potential.
Junior, Elementary Education
When I first came to Bethany I was very surprised by the way you are able to personally get to know your professors. Not only do they know you by name and talk to you outside of the classroom, but they also are always there to help you succeed.
I believe the close student and teacher connection at Bethany makes it very special, and a great learning environment. I also believe that the small campus life is enjoyable because everywhere you go you usually see a friend or someone you know. You will never feel like a stranger at Bethany.
Being a huge family-oriented person, I feel the most difficult thing about college is being away from my family. I overcome this challenge by keeping busy and making new friends. Soon your friends will feel like family.
One thing I wish I knew when I was a freshman is to take time for yourself and relax. I was and still am very busy, but I now find time to relax and have fun so that I do not get overwhelmed with everything that college brings.
Senior, Political Science
Being a triple legacy here at Bethany, it really feels as if this is my second home. My mom and dad grew up here, and I visited family members up here from the time that I was one year old. I’ve passed under that Bethany green bridge so many times, and every time I do it just feels like I’m back. This place has given me so much and will continue to give me many memories to come.
I interned at Cole, Scott & Kissane, P.A. in Jacksonville. I was able to help attorneys with case research and was able to use an online law database called WestLaw. I also attended many hearings, depositions, and countless meetings between clients and attorneys.
Honestly, Greek life is awesome and gives you a connection with people that not many people know. Everyone that joins a house loves it, so I implore you to try it out!