By Danielle Steinwart - Marketing and Development Intern
I have never been a fan of change. Until college, I lived in the same house my entire life. I’ve gone to the same church since I was a toddler. I attended the same school from preschool to eighth grade. And my taste in food hasn’t changed since I was eight (corndogs continue to be a staple in my diet).
So when I had to move (a whopping two hours away) to Valparaiso University (Valpo), you can probably imagine my feelings on the topic. You know that Yellow Man on Google Street-view Maps that you drag and drop to different places? Have you ever noticed how much that Yellow Man squirms when you move him? That’s how I felt about college. Squirmy.
Going to Valpo meant removing myself from a safely content life of friends and family and faith, and dropping into a Street View I didn’t recognize and didn’t particularly want to get to know. In that place in my heart hollowed of friends and comfort, fears began to fester. I thought these were fears of being disliked, of not finding a group or club or place where I felt comfortable to be myself, of not feeling free to figure out what kind of person I wanted to be.
But, like most things people fear, I was really just afraid of what I didn’t know. And once I stopped confining college inside that dark rigid space of the unknown, Valpo became home to me. I got to spend four beautiful years at Valpo, full of music and love and lifelong friends. Moreover, Valpo provided me with amazing opportunities that shaped me and allowed me to start paving a path of purpose for myself.
In some ways, I consider the CAPS program, through which I got my internship here at LSA, to be a final opportunity from Valpo, a last point in the right vocational direction. Here, I’ve been able to work in many different areas of marketing and communications. Under my supervisors’ leadership (read more about how great they are in my last blog), I’ve worked on social media, event planning, content writing, proofreading, campaign tracking and analysis, website updates, and template building. This internship has both shown me what it looks like to work in marketing and communications and has helped cultivate in me the skills needed to succeed in the field.
This summer, DC has become a kind of extension of Valpo, a temporary home, once again full of (jazz) music, (roommate) love, and lifelong friends. And once again, I feel like I’m dangling over a hazy future, waiting to be dropped right in. But this time, I feel much more at peace (much like the newly updated Yellow Man. At this point, I’m not sure how squirmy the Yellow Man used to be, but for the sake of the analogy, we’re running with it). Sure, I’m scared, but Valpo and DC and LSA have shown me the opportunities to be had from traveling outside my comfort zone. They have taught me to trust in God’s plan for my life, have helped me develop my sense of self and purpose, and have given me more beautiful places to call home. I don’t think I could have hoped for anything quite as good as that.