To be honest, it’s been quite a ride, and I’ve loved every minute of it. I look back on my four years, and I’m filled with nostalgia. The decision to study at William Jewell College has been the best decision of my entire life. When I arrived at Jewell I decided to major in history because of my lifelong passion for the discipline. Over the summer, before the first year I came to campus, Dr. Gary Armstrong, professor of political science, welcomed new students and gave a speech about Sparta & Athens, World Politics and War Ethics. His speech convinced me to double major in political science, and I’ve never looked back.
From the American Revolution to Reconstruction after the Civil War to the study of historiography I learned what history is and how to write concisely. I learned that how we interpret history changes as, in a sense, all historical writing is revisionist history. Studying history has allowed me to tap into the mind of great historical figures and to see how they lived. My passion for history has encouraged me to pursue further education and to advance to a PhD. My study of history and understanding of historiography has prepared me for future study through concise writing and critical thinking. To judge historical events when they occurred rather than with present-day bias and our contemporary way of thinking and to critically evaluate primary and secondary sources.
Political science enabled me to witness how nations interact and that politics is about justice. Politics allows me to apply history to solve complex questions and fulfill my duty as a citizen. I identify as a political realist, and that has altered my worldview and how I view the United States’ current role in world politics. Political science led to Aristotle’s question and how we should live our lives. It exposed me to deeper questions of democracy, liberty, equality and free will. Political science allows us to help the world through public service. From studying Campaigns & Elections to the politics of Iran, World Politics and Political Theory I have created a global mindset to make me a global citizen.
In January 2015 I joined Lambda Chi Alpha and became part of a fraternity filled with my brothers on campus. They’ve been there for me since day one and have become a second family. I’ll never forget my time with my brothers since my first year. They have made me a better man in my personal and academic life. LCA reinforced leadership qualities of duty and trust that have allowed me to excel academically and personally by following LCA’s seven core values. LCA has built upon my college experience and encouraged me to pursue a life of public service in future studies after Jewell and to pursue my passion in my two majors. We embodied LCA core values through public service from semester Serve & Celebrate to LCA-led service projects through our philanthropy, Feeding America.
In January 2017 I studied abroad in Cardiff, Wales, in the United Kingdom. While abroad I became immersed in a new culture that made me part of a nation. I made lifelong friends and went out of my comfort zone to explore the UK. From walking every day to visiting museums, castles and other historical sites I spoke with Welsh, English and Irish citizens to answer Aristotle’s question: what is the good life? The good life is one of service to others. The simple life is being content with what we have but constantly striving to improve ourselves to live a life of meaning. I’ve always enjoyed visiting museums, art galleries and other historic sites both in the U.S. and abroad. I grew interested in art and the works of various artists such as Joseph Mallard, William Turner and Vincent Van Gogh. I lived the good life through traveling around the UK to 12th Century reenactment and sparring through Historia Normannis. Late night conversations with flatmates about where we came from and future plans, the constant rain, endless miles of walking and coffee and tea made Cardiff a second home.
On Feb. 21, 2018 I spoke at Jewell Chapel about my time abroad where I found the good life in Cardiff and answered Aristotle’s question. The good life in Cardiff of walking, tea, coffee and conversation has allowed me to slow down and enjoy life. I have grown since my freshman year to become more confident and ask more questions from my time at Jewell through my broad academic interests. The Critical Thought and Inquiry curriculum at Jewell has changed my worldview. From a class on sustainability to learn how we should conserve the world’s resources to Stalinism as Civilization to learn what it’s like to live under a tyrannical regime and the attempt to create a new civilization, I learned how we should live. From studying religion as a part of the CTI program I learned more about Judaism, Christianity and Islam as well as the Divine Image and how to better connect with others.
In February 2018 I went to Windermere, a Baptist educational community in Roach, Missouri, and learned about the power of reconciliation and how we can forgive others and be accepting to all and consider new ideas and new ways of life. I reconnected with my friends from Christian Student Ministries as well as made new friends from Jewell and other parts of Missouri. I’ll miss Monday CSM meeting with Jeff Buscher. My tenure with CSM has strengthened my Christian faith and encouraged critical reading of the Bible as well as other religious texts such as the Torah and the Quoran. My experiences with CSM has changed my life from personal life decisions to how I read academic texts such as the Politics of Jesus by John Howard Yoder. My study of politics, history and religion has changed how I answer political and historical questions to work with students of similar and conflicting mindsets. CSM has encouraged me to work for the glory of God through teaching.
Throughout my time at Jewell I learned about presidential leadership and how we should live our lives through the teachings of Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt. I studied George Washington, Harry Truman and Thaddeus Stevens to learn what leadership means and how we can help others. I became immersed in politics through conversations with the political science department. This has increased my confidence in my studies. I became interested in theatrical performances through the Jewell Theater Company and attended frequent performances every semester.
I’m cherishing every day until graduation as I look to the future. Everything will change after May 12, and things won’t be the same. I’ll be a Jewell alumnus instead of a student. The friendships I’ve made will grow, and I will have lifelong friends after Jewell. Everyone will go their separate ways to grad school or the armed forces or law or medical school, but we’ll still be part of the Jewell community.
I will miss a lot about Jewell. From smiling faces around the quad to freshly cut grass. From blizzard winters to scorching spring. I’ll miss being called Mr. Jones every morning and being given life advice from world-class professors. I’ll miss the stimulating seminars and lectures in history, politics and religion. I’ll miss talking with professors in and outside class about historical topics such as Theodore Roosevelt and WWII and the Holocaust to questions about world politics and the works of Aristotle. I’ll miss talking with professors about how they chose to become academics and teach the next generation of scholars. I have no regrets at Jewell and I have done everything I wanted to and more. I’m glad I asked more questions. I’m glad I joined The Hilltop Monitor and Lambda Chi Alpha. I’m glad I traveled abroad and spoke at Chapel. I’m glad for late night MOSAIC and Harriman Jewell events. I’m glad that all my professors encouraged me and prepared me for life. I’m glad I made lifelong friends. I’m glad I spent a weekend at Windermere.
I’m glad that I spoke to you from our various classes of Campaigns and Elections, the Great War and golf, at the bench in front of Curry and Luigi’s on the square. I’m glad that I got out of my comfort zone and talked more. I’m glad that I’ve been active on campus through Hilltop Monitor, Christian Student Ministries and Lambda Chi Alpha. I’m glad that I joined the Phi Alpha Theta and Pi Sigma Honor societies. I’m thankful for late night LCA parties and morning conversations in front of Curry. For Jewell Theatre plays and CUAt the movies. For Jeff Buscher’s chapel service and Armstrong’s War Ethics class. For Reynolds and Howell’s history lectures and Wilkins’ seminars. For Holiman’s Politics of Iran and Staal’s Political Theory.
I’m thankful for the CTI program which allowed me to answer complex questions with students across the campus both inside and outside of my major to learn from different perspectives. I’m thankful to have several mentors in both of my majors and the desire to continue to love what I do. I’m thankful for talking with my brothers in the PLC and stimulating seminars from the Responsible Self to Christianity and Tyranny and from Presidential Leadership to Harry Truman. From my time at Jewell I pushed myself and completed my best work. The future is coming fast, but now I want to live in the here and now. I’m ready to go, but I have infinite reasons to stay as we approach graduation. It’s been quite a ride and I’ve loved every minute of it.
Photos courtesy of Mykala Crews.