My name is Emily Nolan, and I am an English major and a journalism minor graduating this spring. As a senior this year, I often find myself reminiscing about my first experiences at Wittenberg. I find it only fitting that I begin this feature with a short narrative of my initial visit to campus.
I first journeyed to Wittenberg in the early spring of my senior year of high school. My mother and I had spent the morning at another university in Columbus, and I distinctly remember how tired and stubborn I was feeling during our car ride. At one point, I turned to my mother and announced that we should turn around because “there was no way I would be attending Wittenberg.” My mother smirked, and, to this day, she still mockingly asks me if she should have turned the car around.
Upon arriving at the Benham-Pence Student Center, I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of belonging. Perhaps it was because of the countless “Welcome Tigers!” signs, but it was the first time I felt such a strong connection to a university. My memories from the visit day events are largely a blur, but I do remember a presentation about the community service requirement. As someone who had always been passionate about nonprofit work, I was impressed to hear that Wittenberg required community service to meet graduation standards. My mother and I actually nudged each other on the arm when we heard that. If I was not already regretting my stubborn declaration from the car, I most certainly was then. Ultimately, I would consider my two greatest takeaways from that campus visit to be that my mother is always right, and most adventures are worth the wait.
Having spent the last three years at Wittenberg, I can still say with confidence that Witt was worth the wait. I have had some wonderful experiences at Wittenberg—from delivering weekly editions of The Torch with the help of a trusty wagon to spending hours discussing my Honors thesis with my wonderful thesis director, Dr. Robin Inboden. I have been able to hone skills that have made me a strong candidate for the workforce and built friendships that I hope can last a lifetime.
My most notable experience at Wittenberg has been my experience as a member of a three-person research team. As a recipient of a First-Year Research Award (FYRA), I conducted research in the Writing Center field with two of my now closest Witt friends. Though the research experience was only meant to last a year, the three of us continued our work and presented our findings at a regional and international conference. We also had the opportunity to attend an undergraduate workshop in York, Pennsylvania, which helped us write our research article that will be published in May. This experience has opened doors for me professionally and has allowed me to grow closer to my two truly incredible research partners.
Looking ahead, I recently accepted a position as the communications and development specialist at the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies (OACAA), and I am excited to continue to hone skills that I developed at Wittenberg. As an added bonus, I will be able to continue to explore my passion for nonprofit work at this role—a passion that was strengthened by my Wittenberg community service experience. I am extremely grateful for all of the Wittenberg faculty, staff, and students who believed in me. It has truly been an incredible journey. And, I will always be thankful that my mother ignored her stubborn high schooler and decided not to turn the car around.
Emily Nolan ’21
Hometown and state: Hilliard, Ohio
Major: English minor