With Commencement fast approaching, two soon-to-be alumni, Harley Paul ’23 and Natsumi Kato ’23, answer the question “Why Witt?” while sharing what items made their time at Wittenberg memorable.
Harley Paul, a psychology major and music minor from Columbus, Ohio, chose Wittenberg because she wanted the ecosystem of support the University offered.
“I was looking for a school where I felt supported by the professors and where my education was going to be valued,” she said. “I found all of that and more when I sat in on a class and met with professors here at Wittenberg. I got to know people who I am now graduating with during admission visit days, and I knew I could build a community here.”
With music always bringing her happiness, Paul can often be spotted with her earbuds crisscrossing campus. She also loves reading, keeping track of her activities in her planner, and remembering all the papers and projects she produced on her well decorated laptop. A water bottle, mug, and tote bag round out her list, too.
“I try my best to stay hydrated every day, and I never left my dorm or apartment without a water bottle,” she said. “I have gone through many during my times at Witt, from leaving them places and never finding them again to them falling out of my backpack and breaking. But now I have water bottles I associate with times at Witt and this one I have had as a reminder of my last semester at Wittenberg.”
As for the mug, it’s of Chip from Beauty and the Beast.
“Drinking coffee in this mug was always my way of relaxing after a crazy week or day, and it shows my love for Disney and caffeine. My first birthday gifts when on campus were coffee mugs that I still have. Especially on a cold day on campus after all my classes, nothing is better than a cup of hot chocolate or coffee in this cute mug,” Paul added.
Lastly, Paul likes a special tote bag from her study abroad in Europe.
“I got to study abroad in Germany last spring, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I got a lot of things as gifts for friends and family, and I found this tote bag in Berlin that I use so often. It is a simple reminder of all the adventures I had for those three and half months away.”
Like Paul, Kato chose Wittenberg for its friendly, welcoming environment. A communication major from Suita, Osaka, Japan, she also wanted a college where relationships between students and professors were possible.
“With my university in Japan, Kansai Gaidai University, having around 12,000 students, it was quite difficult to build relationships with professors,” she explained. “With around 1,300 students at Wittenberg, it was easier for me to build more relationships here. Even with the language barrier between English and Japanese, it is also very helpful to have a small class size.”
Being so far from home brought its own challenges, however, so Kato, who could always be found with her laptop and heavy backpack, found ways to bring home to her.
“My necklace and my watch, these are from my mom, so when I have an important presentation, or when I go to travel, I always put these on to remind me of her,” Kato said. “Being an international student, I experienced a lot of difficulties, culture shock, and a language barrier. Therefore, when I put those on, I felt as if I was with my mom.”
A particular family photo, which Kato said gave her a great deal of courage to push through her homesickness, also helped as did the special care packages that occasionally arrived.
“When studying here, I really missed my food from back home, alongside everything else. My parents sent me a lot of Japanese food and tea, especially, green tea and miso soup, both of which reminded me of home,” she said.
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