What Dance Has Taught Me

I realize I just posted an Instagram picture about dance, but I am also going to write a blog about it. It's been awhile since I have written one on it, and since we are just home from competition, it's the first thing on my mind. :)

our lyrical routine from isdta

our lyrical routine from isdta

Being in dance, as any sport, teaches one so many things. Obviously we learn concepts of the sport itself, which for dance would include technique, French terminology, how to be expressive, performance value, etc. But there is so much more to a sport than just what meets the eye. Over my past year and a half of dancing at Dordt, and the 13 years of studio dance plus high school dance team before that, I have gleaned so much. Here's just five of the things dance has taught me:

1. Dance is a means of glorifying God. It is a gift. In my first studio, there is a wall decal that reads Psalm 149:3. "Let them praise His name with dancing; Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre." We use the beauty of dance to bring glory to God.

our hip hop routine from isdta

our hip hop routine from isdta

2. Dance is a way to express oneself through physical movement which is unique to its nature. Beauty, anger, grace, power, sadness, joy, and so much can be portrayed through a dance. It is also an outlet from the stress of daily life. When we walk through the door to the studio or currently to the areobics room to practice, we leave our homework, jobs, and other co-curriculars there and our minds can just focus on dance.

3. Dance instills confidence in each individual. From being on stage and performing to a teacher and coach's positive encouragement in studio class or a practice to seeing improvement in the mirrors, one's confidence is built.

our pom routine from isdta

our pom routine from isdta

4. Dance teaches hard work. As with any sport, progress doesn't just happen over night. Team turns, high leaps, and getting the precision of the movements all together takes time and has work. This instilled work ethic carries over into our school work, relationships, jobs, and more. Whether or not we come home with trophies from competitions, we can see confidence being gained and progress being made.

5. Dance friends are the best friends. We have used this statement for years, but honestly it's not wrong. From studio memories to carpooling to high school morning practices together to spending 10-15 hours a week practicing together in college, friendships are built. And they last. And it's beautiful.

These are just a few of the things I have learned from dance. No matter how long I will be involved in dance in college or beyond, I will never lose the lessons I have been taught from it and will treasure the memories and relationships forever.



During my freshman year, going home for the first time was the most bizarre experience. I was so excited to spend Thanksgiving break all cozy and surrounded by my family and pets. On the ride home, I could feel the school break start to set in. I was so ready for a relaxing week at home.

Only, when I got home, it somehow didn’t feel like home. Don’t get me wrong, I was overjoyed to see my parents and sister and fluffy cats, but there was something very strange about this home, now. I felt out of place. So many things had happened within those three months that I’d been away, and I was almost overwhelmed by the amount of things that I needed to catch up on in order to feel at home. Home seemed to be in two places now; it had been snipped in half and dispersed in equal parts in Ames and Sioux Center. I had never felt this dislocated before. I was scared -- would I feel like this for all four years of college? I had never been one for homesickness, so what was this sensation?

It wasn’t that I felt I didn’t have a home, but rather that my home was scattered. When I was at Dordt, I missed Ames, and when I was in Ames, I missed Dordt. It was an impossible riddle to solve. The only way to fix this feeling would be to be in two places at once, and modern science has yet to allow me to accomplish that.

It would be a simpler fix if I had a preference for one place over the other. If I loved Ames more than Dordt, I would relish school breaks. But, it’s just not that simple.

I’ve spoken with a few other students about this experience, and it seems that this is a surprisingly common feeling. It is especially prevalent for students’ first time home since coming to college.

The first time home was the hardest for me, and (thank goodness) it has gotten much easier to transition between Ames life and Dordt life (ba-dum-tss) as I’ve progressed throughout college. For example, here I am, sitting in my favorite hometown coffee shop (Cafe Diem, if you’re wondering; get a peppermint mocha if you’re ever here), writing a blog post. This Thanksgiving break has been such a complete turnaround from last year’s. Of course, there was a bit of a metamorphosis that had to take place the first night back in Ames, but it was nothing so strenuous as my first return.

I think this ability to transition between places quickly, and learn how to switch off school mode and switch on relax mode with ease, is an incredibly valuable skill to learn. Adapting between different environments effortlessly is something that will come in handy along the way in whatever career you have. This is one of those unexpected ways that college will prepare you for your future.

Also, this disorientation reminds me that my real home -- our true home, where we will feel complete comfort and belonging -- is not on this earth. Home in this life is malleable. It can contort, move, spread out. It is not in one place or another, because it’s shifty. Sure, you can find home in one physical place or another, or in certain people, but ultimately our sense of home is connected to our heavenly Father. I think God gave me this sense of displacement as a reminder that nowhere in this life will be my real home. My comfort is in Him, and sometimes it takes earthly discomfort for me to really realize that.

This sense of home in two separate places, equally planted but strangely different, had never crossed my mind before. So, I hope that reading this will serve as a bit of a heads’ up for soon-to-be college students, or maybe a bit of relatability for current college students experiencing the same home-identity crisis.

With that being said, I hope your Thanksgiving break has been a time of peace, family fun, and lots of good food.

- Emi

Feeling Imbalanced

There are ideas that I strive for, but don't always achieve.

One of them is getting up early in the morning. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't. Often it depends on when I went to be the night prior. I love the idea of taking my time in the morning, to prepare for the day. In some of my other posts, I talk about the pleasure of drinking coffee. I enjoy drinking coffee, but even more, I love the process of making coffee. The whole morning is a process that I enjoy. During one of these mornings, I spent some time thinking. One thought kept coming back to me was the idea of imbalance. So I want to share with you my thoughts. 

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, by definition, imbalance means a "lack of balance, the state of being out of equilibrium or out of proportion." Our lives can so easily feel in a state of imbalance. At the beginning of the school year, things are good, in a state of balance: not a lot of homework, settling into the dorms, shifting into college life and reuniting with friends after a few months. However, as the months pass by, academics soon become overwhelming, sometimes up to the point where you feel like you're drowning in homework. Life seems to hang in the balance between control, and chaos. This imbalance can continue for weeks and life feels rough. I want to give you some encouragement.

Lean on Him

Spend time with him. Talk with him. Share with him your burdens, your worries, the things that stress you out. Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:29, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Take his yoke upon you, learn from him, and lean on him, for we are restless until we find rest in Him.

Even though Jesus can't do our homework for us, what he can do is give us peace, joy, strength, and perseverance to live our lives more fully.

Peace fam, until next time,

- Ian Smit

Hey Defender Nation...Go Defender Nation...Atta Way

coach penner addressing his team

coach penner addressing his team

Saturday was Dordt's last football game of the season. (They won, whoop whoop!) I'm just going to share a few words on how awesome the football program is from what I have seen of it on the sidelines.

the "atta ways"

the "atta ways"

At the end of every game the team circles up and Coach Penner leads them in some closing remarks about the game (or in yesterday's case, about the season and specifically the seniors.) Following that, he encourages his players to start their "atta ways." What occurs then is one of the coolest things I have ever seen, and each week, I swear it only gets cooler. Players take turns raising their hands and Coach Penners calls on them. They stand, call out a specific teammate, group of guys, coach, etc. and accredit them with some positive comment about that specific game or week of practice (or in yesterday's case again, the season.) It concludes with either their name on the count of three, or the team doing a call-and-reponse "Hey ___, go ____, atta way" ending with two claps. These "atta ways" go on for quite some time before coach tells the team that it is their final one. Honestly though, how cool is that?! Coach Penner also takes the time to realize the support system of Dordt Football by continually thanking them each week and giving "Defender Nation" an "atta way." Yesterday ended with the coaches, spouses, and children receiving an "atta way" for their support and dedication to the football program because man oh man, it's a great one. After the "atta ways," everyone (players, coaches, and Defender Nation fans gathered on the field) gathers in to a tight huddle and places hands on one another while Coach Penner offers up a prayer of thanksgiving. What a way to witness!!

defender nation prayer

defender nation prayer

If Dordt football is not a program entirely dedicated to the work of the college-"equipping students, alumni, and the broader community to work effectively toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life" then I don't know what is. Encouragement, passion, and hard work all done with the glory given back to God. Soli deo gloria. :)

HUGE thank you to Adri Van Groningen for the awesome images.


Mind Your Busyness

Busy, busy, busy. Every year, I seem to commit to more and more things, and I never seem to learn. This isn’t just a me thing, either. When I ask friends how they’re doing, 50% of the time their response is “busy.”


“How are you?”

“I’m busy.”

What does that mean, exactly? Good? Bad? In between? Are you so occupied with events and meetings, work and school, clubs and rehearsals, that you don’t even know how you’re doing? You don’t even have the chance to step back and ruminate for half a second?

Don’t get me wrong – commitments are great. Extracurricular activities are some of the best ways to get involved on a college campus. Rigorous schedules can help you on the path to heightened responsibility. Also, there are those times in life (especially college life) when you just gotta bite the proverbial bullet and get through a difficult, crazily-scheduled week or two. It happens. That kind of frenzied rush of things all happening at once. Midterms, big papers, fun friend outing, topped off with 5 hours of shut eye if you're lucky.

This schedule from Hell pops up in everybody's life at least once every few months, but in college it seems so much more prevalent.

I asked a few of my friends what their take was on the busyness of your average college student.

"Mainly, I don't want to miss out on stuff."

"Over-committing was a huge problem my freshman year, it kept me distracted so I wouldn't feel homesick."

"We're just juicing our youth."

From this conversation with my pals, it seemed to me that the temptation of overcommitting is rooted in some bigger fears.

FOMO ("Fear Of Missing Out") is frequently joked about, but as the immediacy of social media progresses, I'm beginning to see that this is a real fear for young folks. Lately, just being alone and at peace is not fun enough. If you see an exciting event on a friend's SnapChat story, you'll probably feel left out. You feel like you're missing something, like you're not being what a college student should be -- engaged, constantly at 100% energy level, and always surrounded by friends.

Then, there's the fear of thinking. Often for me, being still and quiet is relaxing, refreshing, and helps me recharge my energy for human interaction. But sometimes, it has the exact opposite effect. When my friend mentioned over-committing as a distraction tactic, it felt like I'd gotten punched in the gut. She was so right. When you have so many activities to participate in, you are less likely to have enough time to really pay attention to how you're feeling. You can't settle down and journal for twenty minutes when you have class, then work, then a meeting, then a group project, writing session, class, rehearsal, coffee date, class, audition, football game, choir, band practice, dinner, homework, sleep. For some, busyness is a coping mechanism. Because, why think when you can go, go, go?

This last one made me laugh. "Juicing our youth." It has a whole lot of truth to it. We youngsters want to live vividly, take every opportunity there is to develop as people, and stuff our lives full of interesting things to do. We want to jump into adventures and experience hanging by a thread, because we know that, one day, the unique ability to just drop everything and go for it will be stunted. The clock is ticking, and as college students we are acutely aware of just how much time we have left to write for the school newspaper, star in a school play, or volunteer at a local charity event.

Okay, so these things individually are not bad, but you already know that. This blog post isn't meant to discourage joining groups -- far from it, actually. As a matter of fact, when you're picky about what activities you choose to participate in, there's a greater chance you actually care about that activity, and you can dedicate more of your time to it when you're not also involved in 20+ other commitments.

Aaaaaand, again, I am the poster child for over-commitment -- so I get it. I understand that it's hard enough to say no to something you don't particularly care about, much less to something you care deeply about. But, please, for your own sanity and well-being, take your time seriously. Value it. Try not to commit to things just because you'll be missing out if you don't, or you'll have to actually sit and think about how you're feeling if you're not busy, or because you're afraid that you're running out of unique opportunities.

Hope you have an awesome day, and that you take some time to relax in the near future :)

- Emi



One Word Makes a Difference

Dordt is a unique campus. Anyone who goes here would tell you that.  This past spring break I went with a worship team and an admissions counselor from Dordt to Chicago area and western Michigan. Leading worship for the high school chapels was great, but the time after worship was even better. After chapel, the admissions counselor, the worship team, and I got to spend time with students who had come to the Dordt College information session. One of the things that our admissions counselor boasts of is the fact that it takes about five minutes to walk from one end of the campus to the other, but in reality, it takes about twice as long because you end up stopping to see people you know and seeing how they’re doing. There’s something in the atmosphere on Dordt’s campus that I haven’t found anywhere else, and yet it can be created by using only one word. Here are a few examples. 

Just say: Hey

Just saying this one word can brighten someone's day or spark a conversation. Saying hello (often followed by "How are you?" ) to someone is a way of letting the other know that you care about their wellbeing. Greeting someone is a way of acknowledging them and who they are as a person.  

Just say: Yes

This is a great word. 'Yes' can open up doors of opportunities, whether that be saying yes to studying abroad, saying yes to a friend in the library offering you their leftovers from the Grille, saying yes to agreeing to go on a date with that guy/girl who's had you on their mind recently, saying yes to a colleague's request for help on homework, or saying yes to participating in your local church's ministry! If you have an opportunity, don't be afraid to say yes!

Just say: Thank-you

This word can technically be two words and is often spelled as two words, but it can also be written as a single word to (hehe). Saying thank-you shows whoever you are thanking that you appreciate them as a person. Say thank-you to the one who holds the door open for you, to the one who lends you clothes, to the people who cook for you, to the people who teach you, to the people who lead you and mentor you. Give thanks to everyone (and to God) in all circumstances. 

So don't be afraid to say hello as you pass by others on the way to/from class. Don't be afraid to say yes to that adventure or challenging task that seems to be shrouded in uncertainty. Don't be afraid to say thank-you when someone helps you out. Only one word makes a difference.

Until next time,


A Day In the Life...

When I was in high school, anticipating college, I remember one of the biggest questions and thoughts I had was, "What does a typical day of a college student look like?" I knew the days would look different than high school because classes are fewer each day and spread out more, but when did college kids do homework? Did they really hang out with friends every day and do fun activities? Do they really take naps daily? Well, this blog is going to try and answer some of those questions by giving you a look into a day in the life of Anna on a Monday! Here we go!

4:29 am. 

I started my Monday off with a 5 am. workout at the local CrossFit gym: CrossFit BKN. Although it requires me to get up (and move) at an extremely early and unheard of time, I cannot think of a better way to start off my day! Waking up this early is not for everybody, but thankfully I went to bed on time the night before and still got 6 hours of sleep. 


6:28 am. 

Time for the first nap of the day! Scheduled for 6:30-7:15 AM. After I returned from CrossFit and showered, I crawled back in bed and slept for another 45 minutes. When you wake up at 4:30, you will take any time you can to sleep a bit more ;) 


8:00 am. 

I made it to my first class of the day: Human Biology 1. Yes, I am a theology major so you may be wondering, why biology? Well, it meets my CORE science/lab requirement and I am also getting my coaching endorsement which requires me to have this class. Today, like every Monday, we had a quiz. The best part is is that we get to use a notecard for the quiz and fill it with as much information as we would like. I don't think many people could read my writing :) 


8:55 am. 

Here's a familiar sight: the GIFT statue. Every day on my way to my 9 am. class in the classroom building, I pass this iconic sculpture. The class I was headed to was 'Biblical Study Methods'. For the past few weeks in this class, we have been giving and watching presentations. Thankfully, I chose to give mine early so now I can sit back and enjoy them without worrying about my own. That's a hidden piece of advice: As much as you want to sign up to give a presentation at the latest date possible, I suggest that you sign up for an earlier slot: you will end up being very thankful. 


10:00 am. 

Time for my third class in a row of the morning: Old Testament Pentateuch. In this class, we have been going through the first 5 book of the Bible, aka the Pentateuch. Today we started the final book of 5: Deuteronomy. Professor Earnshaw spent the class introducing the book to us; its characters, the setting, the big themes, and so on. We even got to have a discussion on what country we would choose to visit or live in!


11:00 am.

The first Monday of every month at Dordt, there is something called "FIrst Monday's". The Andreas Center on campus invites speakers to come and present to the college on various topics such as space, religion, politics, race, and much more. Often times, professors require their students to go for an assignment, but students, faculty, and staff also attend on their own will--to learn more about the world. Today's speaker was Dr. John Inazu and he gave a presentation entitled, "Confident Pularism: Surviving and Thriving Through Deep Difference." 

12:00 am. 

Theatre class! Once again, theology major--why are you taking a theatre class? Well, there is something called the CORE program at Dordt and one of those classes is Introduction to the Arts. I am lucky enough to be in the theatre subsection right now. Today we learned by getting up and doing some acting of our own! (Side note: because I went to First Monday's, I did not have time to sit down and each lunch. So, I went to the grille grab and go line and grabbed food and ate in my theatre class. Totally acceptable and a common thing for college students to do!)


1:00 pm. 

Time for my daily visit to my mom's office ;) This may or may not be my favorite part of every day: one: because I like talking to my mom, and two: she has a large bowl of m&m's :) Thanks for the visit and chocolate mom!


1:15 pm. 

Time to sit down, finish my lunch and catch up on some homework for the first time all day. At 2:00 I had a lab quiz so this was my chance to study one last time and do some reading for another class. 


2:00 pm. 

Biology lab time! In the lab, we explored blood pressure and heart rate by using a blood pressure cuff and running in place. Let's just say some things worked and some things didn't :) Regardless, our lab table had a fun time learning and experiementing together (as we always do). 


4:00 pm.

4 o'clock on Monday's means Concert Choir time! We are preparing a piece to be sung with the Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra next week so we rehearsed that song: Polovetzian Dances. Choir is always one of my favorite times of the day because it's relaxing and a chance to do something I always love: singing! 


5:00 pm. 

Today I did something that I do not normally do, I went home to eat supper. I was in a time crunch and had to leave campus anyways for something later, so I decided to ask my mom if they had extra food for me! Thankfully they allowed me to come home so I got to see my dog and eat some good food!

6:00 pm. 

Inservice time at work! Work for me is the Terrace View Event Center. If you are looking for a fun way to make a little extra money, join the team! Inservice was a great learning experience and it ended with cookies and ice cream! How could it get better?


7:30 pm. 

Back to the dorm room for the first time all day! This is not uncommon for me--to stay on the other side of campus all day long and not return to my room until late at night. I enjoyed the hour and a half of relaxing (and a little nap) before I headed off to the next thing.


9:15 pm.

Second choir rehearsal of the day. As I mentioned earlier, we are singing with the symphony so tonight was a chance to rehearse all together for the first time! The picture is a view of where I stand during the song; the organ loft in the BJ Haan! Being a person who is afraid of heights, this is a little brave of me, but it turned out not being as bad as I thought. 


Well, there is my day! Monday's are usually the busiest days of the week, but today was an abnormally busy day. Everything got crossed off the list and I even got a little homework done. I hope this is helpful for people wondering what a college day is like. There is a lot of freedom in what you do with your free time so it's helpful to stay organized! Thanks for reading! 

- Anna. 


Church Search

Happy Saturday, folks! Emi here. I’d love to have a moment of your time to discuss a topic that has become really near and dear to my heart while at Dordt: church hopping.

For those who are unfamiliar with this term, “church hopping” is when you go to a different church practically every Sunday morning and never quite settle down and call a particular community home. (This is different than church “shopping,” which just means that you’re on the lookout for a church community.)

I know, I know -- it is so easy to just tag along with a group of friends and go wherever the free food is. Trust me, I did this for all of my first semester freshman year. Within the first month of school, I had one church that I was actually really interested in regularly attending, but none of my friends wanted to go there so I ended up church hopping with them for the whole semester.

Church hopping might at first seem like a fun way to mix things up every Sunday, but I’ve found that it is actually really unhealthy. Finding a solid church body to connect with while at college is crucial for further developing your faith. If you find yourself attending a different church  every week, you can’t expect to truly connect with the people there -- and those relationships that you build are precisely where your spiritual involvement will thrive.

Let me break it down with a couple examples of how my faith was stagnant when I church hopped.


1. The friends that I came to church with were my only connections.

You guys. This one is major. When I church hopped, I was thoroughly nestled in the depths of my comfort zone. That sounds pretty nice, doesn’t it? Little did I know, my comfort zone was a death sentence for my spiritual growth. I was not concerned one bit with engaging in the other members of the church. Church was simply something on my checklist, rather than an environment to help my faith flourish among other believers in Christ.


2. Loss of accountability.

During my church hopping times, I wouldn’t feel bad one bit about sleeping in on a Sunday and skipping church, because nobody except my friends would know that I wasn’t there. I don’t know about you, but that was really dangerous for me. I am, admittedly, not the most consistent or self-disciplined person. If I’m tired and nobody will notice my absence, there’s a good chance I won’t show. If you are anything like me, this loss of accountability is really going to threaten your spiritual growth.


3. No sense of spiritual belonging.

This ties in with number 1. Again, I understand how much easier it is to make church just a part of your checklist. But the truth is, connecting to a body of believers is incredibly impactful for your faith journey. Once you feel as if you belong at a church, it does wonders for the expansion and depth of your faith in Christ. If you really want to grow, find opportunities to serve, and engage with other Christians outside of your regular friend group, you need to find a church and attend regularly.

Within my first couple weeks at Dordt, I heard over and over again how necessary it was for me to find a church to call home. Being in Sioux Center, there are just so many options -- which is amazing, but does make it a bit difficult to find where you connect the best. So, I encourage you to explore, certainly, but have intentionality in that. Search, don’t hop. Don’t be a drifter like I was my first semester. Commit to consistently connecting, and you will definitely begin to see your faith thrive.

When searching for a church, keep in mind the things that you find important to your spiritual growth. For me, worship was a key element. My dad is a worship pastor, so the importance of engaging in meaningful worship has always been a crucial factor to connecting to God. Emphasis on the family unit is a big one for me, as well. I feel more able to grow in a church that has a large variance of ages. I think that God's body ought to be represented diversely, from newborns to people closer to heading to His kingdom. Find what matters to your growth, then go out and find where you connect best.

Thanks for letting me say my piece. As you can probably tell, I’m very passionate about this prominent issue within my generation. Have a wonderful rest of your Saturday, and a blessed Sunday rest.

- Emi

Did You Know

I'm sure there is a variety of people reading this blog; Dordt alumni, current students, parents of students, prospect students, parents of prospect students, Dordt faculty and staff, and many more. Because everyone's knowledge about Dordt could all be different, I'm going make a "Did you know" list about Dordt. Some things you may already know, and some things you might have never heard of. After reading this, I hope you find the information helpful and maybe funny too!

Did you know...

1.  The skywalk is extremely helpful (especially on cold and windy days)

2. Donut runs are a must at midnight on Friday nights

3. Friday nights can consist of roaming about Wal-mart as well. 

4. The president and his wife have every freshman over for dinner during their first year!

5. The president and his wife have every senior over for dinner during their senior year!

6. There's an unwritten rule that says, "Don't date before tri-state"

7. There's an unwritten rule that says, "Ring before spring"

8. That if you go to the library, don't expect to get a lot done--you'll most likely see friends there and just talk instead

9. The registrars office can fix all of your (academic) problems 

10. During WOW week you can find free cookies around every corner 

11. There's a swing dance club!

12. Dordt has been ranked #1 in student engagement by the Wall Street Journal two years in a row? :) 

13. The parking lots have names like Siberia, The Alps, and Little Italy

14. That there are people from the community that will take you in and invite you for dinner. 

15. There's fun events on campus throughout the year like Airband, DCXC, The Freshman talent show, the Fiesta, the Block Party, the Fall Fest, and much much more. 

16. There's a singing competition against Northwestern called NCDC in the Spring

17. The DeWitt gymnasium fills up with lots of people and sound at home basketball and volleyball games. 

18. The Dordt football team is Industry Standard. 

19. Intramurals are a highlight on campus--sand volleyball, slow-pitch softball, co-ed basketball, indoor soccer, and much more.

Professors Are Not Scary

Hello, readers! Hayley here. In case you have not heard yet, just recently Dordt was ranked #1 in student engagement by the Wall Street Journal again, for the second year in a row! I have a few words to say about that-this time, dealing with professors.

Here's a pic of roomie and I taken before a history class we had together last year!

Here's a pic of roomie and I taken before a history class we had together last year!

Let's format a little story here. Once there was a girl who loved school and enjoyed learning and was a decent student growing up. Throughout grade school and high school, she was not afraid of asking questions to her teachers or classmates to help her gain better understanding of whatever concepts were being taught. Then this girl moved to college. (Dordt College, of course!) Being in classes with people she did not know and professors she had previously never met, she got scared to ask questions. In the middle of her first semester, this girl got a grade on a history paper she was really not content with. History had never come easy for her, but she was too afraid to ask questions or inquire more information, so she was not doing as well as in that class she would have liked.  Looking at her syllabus for the remainder of the semester, she was wary of one more major paper coming up that she wanted to do particularly well on, to compensate for the one on which she did not. This student talked with her teammates about her fear of her upcoming paper, and one teammate in particular highly, highly encouraged her to set up an appointment with her professor to help her get a clear understanding of how to improve her writing on her next paper. This girl dreaded the idea more than anything and really did not want to take her teammates' advice. After prompting from her teammate on multiple occasions, she did set up an appointment with her professor. She was so incredibly nervous to go to his office and admit she needed assistance, but thanks to her teammate's encouragement, she did it.

Let me spoil this story for you-this student was me. (Bet you didn't see that one coming!) Terrified as I was, I went to meet my professor who was 100%, completely, more than willing to meet with me. In fact, I vividly remember him saying in our meeting (paraphrasing here,) "This is exactly what students are supposed to do. I want students to come meet with me so I can help them format more solid outlines and thesis's for their final papers." Talk about relief!!! Leaving that meeting, not only did I feel like I was able to overcome a fear (which was a completely unnecessary one, but one nevertheless,) I also gained so much respect and appreciation for my professor, AND I felt so much less overwhelmed and better prepared in the writing of my final paper.

So, engaging. When professors list their open office hours on their syllabi, they actually want us to meet with them! Contrary to what we might think, they care deeply about our grades and are wholly invested into our learning. They want us to succeed! And that is engaging. :)


Digital Media and Dordt Engagement

Heya! It's Emi, your resident digital media sophomore here to talk about digital media things.

As the campus celebrates Dordt College's second year in a row of being ranked #1 in student engagement by the Wall Street Journal, I'd like to take a moment to reflect on what that means within my major.

First, a little bit about how I found Dordt: I have been intrigued in the art of filmmaking since I was around 8. Of course at first, this intrigue manifested in the form of really crummy "movies" made on the fly with my older brother's $40 camcorder, but eventually I got more seriously interested in pursuing a career in the film industry. With this developing passion for film, I had to start searching for a place to learn about film. I knew I learned best in a small-scale environment and that I didn't want to feel alone in my faith (especially when learning about this particular industry), so that narrowed my options by a whole lot. Somebody from my church mentioned Dordt's digital media production degree, one thing lead to another, and now I'm in my second year completely immersed in the film program and I am loving it.

If you are at all interested in video production, and the criteria that needs to be met for your best education experience matches up with mine, here's what getting a digital media degree at Dordt looks like.

On the set of my first Dordt film experience as a crew member for recent grad Kyle Fosse's senior project, "The Way Out."

On the set of my first Dordt film experience as a crew member for recent grad Kyle Fosse's senior project, "The Way Out."

While you don't take a film-specific course until your second semester, there are other ways to get involved in the on-campus digital media scene. My first semester last year, I volunteered to be a crew member for a senior film project. That experience was absolutely priceless. I find that I am now much more informed going into my film classes with general set, directing, and camera knowledge.

This year, there are 22 majors and 4 minors in digital media. All of those people will need help with their projects, whether that be crew, editors, actors, or countless other positions. I highly suggest that you experience all of these positions out if you are a digital media major or minor. Even if you know you're an editor extraordinaire, give acting a try! If nothing else, the experience of auditioning for an acting role will give you insight into what actors do. 

Senior digital media majors Ellen Inggrid Dengah and Ben Kuiper take an editing break (which may or may not have included a power nap on the floor).

Senior digital media majors Ellen Inggrid Dengah and Ben Kuiper take an editing break (which may or may not have included a power nap on the floor).

The few times I've been in the digital media lab (DML) at the wee hours of the morning have been some of my most memorable experiences at Dordt. There is a sense of camaraderie that rises to the surface whenever a group of similarly passionate, quirky oddballs get together at 2 am that I will never get tired of. It gets a little nutty in the DML, but that's just how we like it.

Me in the DML! (PS, take note of the coffee mug - you can expect your bloodstream to turn into 50% pure caffeine during your first year as a digital media major.)

Me in the DML! (PS, take note of the coffee mug - you can expect your bloodstream to turn into 50% pure caffeine during your first year as a digital media major.)

Whether you fancy yourself an editor, director, screenwriter, or producer, you will get the opportunity to pursue that throughout this program. If you are yet unsure of what your specific calling in the video-making industry is, you'll quickly find out what part suits your interests best. The neat part about this major is that all of those interests are incredibly valued here. For instance, my particular fascination with film is rooted in television production and cinematography, but I have friends within this major that have a really tailored interest in commercial production, or animation, or music video production! Isn't that cool? All of us have such different purpose that we pair with digital media, and every single talent we have in this field will be worked into a marketable skill over the course of four years.

To put it simply, Dordt College is #1 in student engagement not only because of the programs it offers, but also because of the deep care that the people running the programs have for the student's education. I love creativity and individuality, and to me those are vital components of any form of art - and I am grateful that my major, and my school's community at large, makes the conscious effort to cherish and personally assist me in further developing those aspects of my future career.

- Emi