It’s hard to believe that I’ve spent four years of my life in Orange City, Iowa, and even harder to comprehend that my time at Northwestern has come to an end. They say that college can change a person and I believe that whole-heartedly. I am definitely not the same person I was on my very first move-in day, and I’m forever grateful to Northwestern for that.
As a homebody, I was at initially resistant to fully call this small campus “home,” but now, 208 8th Street SW in Orange City is programmed into my phone just as that – home.
But what does that really mean, calling a college home?
For me, it was (dare I say it) the community. Though all NW students use this word a lot, it’s honestly true. The deep, serious relationships I made with friends throughout my years truly transformed me into being a more open-minded person and granted me the ability to see the world from different perspectives other than my own.
Living in Fern Smith Hall all four years also helped. Coming back from classes to the warm, welcoming faces of my friends was one of the favorite parts of my days. Those ladies heard all my frustrations, fears, complaints, doubts and anxieties with open arms and shoulders to cry on. They also celebrated accomplishments, encouraged dreams and prayed. Wing dinners happened regularly and almost always ended with laughter. My wing mates were my family, to the point that I wasn’t embarrassed by how loud or weird we were.
The professors, just like parents, pushed me too – hard, I might add, for my benefit. NW academics aren’t easy. Though they are difficult, they really do prepare you for your future. My writing has only improved since my first day and my ecological classes have provided me with hands-on learning of what my future in conservation work has in store for me. Overall, the courses here have opened many doors for me while my professors offered insights and perspectives I would have never considered. Plus, small classes mean more time to ask your professors questions or grab a cup of coffee with them. Most professors here love to talk with you about more than just your academic load, but also your life and passions.
My spiritual growth was the biggest transformation I went through at NW. It wasn’t a smooth one either. I went through many sleepless nights, difficult conversations and many moments of doubt to reach the point I’m at today. My faith was challenged every year, if not every day, and I’m very thankful for my friends, professors and chapel speakers for that. And the best part about it? I’m still growing. The opportunities and individuals at NW made sure of that, providing conversations, testimonies and safe places to continually grow, learn and experience God more.
So, why do I call NW home? Well because it has been a place where I could truly express and be myself while still growing and learning. It’s a place where I found my identity in Christ and my call as a follower of Jesus. The campus also provided me with lifelong friends and professors that have both challenged and shaped me. And finally, like my home in Fairmont, Minnesota, I’m sad to leave this place for new experiences and adventures. But, there will be a soft spot in my heart for this place–this community–for the rest of my life.
Alyson Eversman is a 2019 graduate of Northwestern College. While a student, she double majored in ecological science and writing and rhetoric and spent most of her free time outside walking on the Puddle Jumper, playing Spikeball on the campus green or hammocking. Alyson was involved in many activities outside classroom hours, which included being a writing tutor in the Peer Learning Center; the arts and cultural editor of the Beacon; and the layout editor for Spectrum, Northwestern’s literacy magazine. When not studying or working, Alyson enjoyed spending quality time participating in wing events, having coffee with friends and participating in spontaneous activities. Alyson now resides in Bemidji, Minnesota, where she works as a seasonal crew member for Conservation Corps.