Freshman to senior: How experience shaped my perspective


Staff Writer

Mikaela Millslagle | Opinion Editor

Over the course of my time here at Buena Vista University I have watched the campus evolve to the point that, four years later at the start of my senior year, I would not regard it as the same place. Sure, BVU still resides lakeside in small-town, Iowa. It’s still full of bustling college students and professors, home to many different sports teams, and has an all-around welcoming atmosphere. These things have all remained the same, and yet there’s something different lingering about each time I walk across my home away from home.

Through the span of my four years, this campus has seen the likes of seven different classes. Seven! I have also seen the likes of these seven different classes, some of which I have been closer to than others. Each class brought something great with them, and left their mark on this place many of us regard as our own. New professors have begun careers at our university, and many have left to start journeys elsewhere. Traditions that were once strong during the beginning of my adventure at BVU have faded away, and new ones have taken its place. The college world I have grown to love has changed tremendously the more I focus on how it used to be, but I think in many ways it has done so for the better. The campus is as beautiful as it’s ever been, and the atmosphere is more welcoming than I ever thought possible.

A lot of this change could be attributed to how I’ve grown and changed during my time away from home immersed in the college settings. As I walk through campus from classes or to the serve, I feel a warmer sense of friendliness. As a freshman, this was not always the case as I often felt shy and reserved from those around me. The new classes that have come onto campus following me have all been open and welcoming, bringing a sense of spirit with them that I have found contagious. Sporting events have grown in popularity, although some have always had their die-hard groups of support. I’ve watched volleyball grow into a great program, softball build up its strengths, football put on exciting games every Saturday, and basketball bring in the crowd to overflow the Beaver Den. I’ve witnessed crowds in the soccer stands grow in size, and even spent time enjoying the enthusiasm constantly surrounding the baseball team and their conquests for conference championships. Much of this I can attribute to my growing involvement in campus life, but I think it is very much due to the way the school spirit of campus has shifted as well.

Campus activities are more inviting today than they seemed to be four years ago, and every opportunity that is presented seems more enticing than in previous years. New committee members have been in charge of our student organizations, putting their own personal touches on Homecoming and Welcome Week events (I mean, who could ever forget the paint rave of 2014!). As a freshman, unfortunate circumstances led to the cancellation of The Johnny Holm band, but the tradition has held true for the final three years at BVU. This is something that I think is very special about our small community and offers a great jump into the new academic year. Along with this, there’s the Plunge, another small tradition that has hardly changed over my last four years. This is an event that I look forward to every year, not only for the goodies that get passed out, but for the opportunity to see what I can be a part of or how I can involve myself outside of the BVU community. Small things like this have yet to change, and experiencing them always signifies the beginning of a new year for the BVU family.

While everything I have done and seen has shaped my view of Buena Vista University and all it has to offer over the last three years, I know this will continue as I progress through my final year on campus. Watching a place that is so dear to your heart evolve with you is something I hope everyone gets the chance to experience, and that three years from now the current freshman may fully understand the things I have felt. Buena Vista University has truly been a wonderful place to grow with, and will forever be held dear to my heart.

Photo by Stephanie Steiner