“Look, I’m Dancing!”: How an Internship at a Studio that “Inspires the World to Dance” Inspired Me

 

A now-vivid memory for me: while sitting in the holding room for one of my first auditions since temporarily moving to New York City, I struck up a conversation with an older gentleman who, after seeing the “Broadway Dance Center” sweatshirt I had tossed on over my dress, commented on the importance of casting musical theater performers with extensive dance experience. Though I smiled and nodded at his remarks, I had no idea how to tell him the truth: that, while I did work at Broadway Dance Center, I am not–and never have been–the trained dancer he assumed I was.

Trust me, my parents tried: when I was a toddler, they enrolled me in the first level of dance classes at the local studio, hoping to channel my constant excitement into a hobby they thought I would enjoy. However, I didn’t stick around for long, throwing tantrums every time they tried to take me to class–though I did not do so because I hated dancing. In fact, I loved dancing, but I hated “If You’re Happy and You Know It”, the song to which our recital piece was choreographed. Despite the number of toddler-style pirouettes and arabesques that I performed across our kitchen floor, my stubbornness overruled my potential dance career, and I stopped taking classes, turning to acting and singing instead.

Lauren Landman visiting Times Square
Lauren in Times Square

Fast forward seventeen years and, excluding a season on my high school’s dance team, a few quarters of jazz and modern classes here at K College, and the dance numbers in the various shows on my resume, I’ve remained relatively untrained in my dance skills. As someone who hopes to one day make a career performing on Broadway, I knew that I had to find a way to quickly catch up to my friends who had trained in dance for years–especially in tap and ballet, two styles I had never studied, but know are fundamental disciplines for any musical theater performer. Luckily for me, I received the opportunity to study away during winter quarter through the New York Arts Program, which places students from the Midwest into a ten-week internship based on their chosen career path in the arts. When chatting with my program advisor about possible internships, I mentioned wanting a job that would allow me to take dance classes on the side–to which she responded, “I know just the place.”

I started my internship with Broadway Dance Center in mid-January, spending most of each weekday working in the Public Relations/Marketing department, where my bosses welcomed me with open arms. Additionally, I received numerous opportunities to represent BDC outside of the studio. My two favorites were BroadwayCon (I saw sneak peeks of all the new shows coming to Broadway this year) and attending Good Morning America’s Oscar Nomination Celebration (where, as a VIP audience member, I watched as they announced the 2017 Academy Award nominations live–I even got my fifteen seconds of on-camera fame!).

However, my favorite moments at BDC were those when–you guessed it–I got to put on the dance shoes I had been longing to wear and spend ninety sweaty, challenging, glorious minutes in one of BDC’s many studios. While I dabbled in as many different styles of dance as I could (ranging from hip hop and barre to street stilettos and burlesque jazz), I primarily focused on developing my ballet and tap skills. I also loved that BDC offered classes in disciplines other than dance, giving me chances to further develop my acting and voice technique on days when I wanted a brief break from dancing.

Now that my internship has ended, I can honestly say that my experience at BDC has changed my perspective on dance; not only am I a more proficient dancer, but I’ve come to appreciate and respect dance as an art form much more than I did before. Dancers make their work look so easy, but finding myself in classes with many of BDC’s program students, who take classes every day from early morning until late at night, forced me to work so much harder in order to keep up. Adjusting to the daily dance classes also motivated me to take better care of myself; for dancers, but for actors and singers as well, our bodies are our instruments–and we only get one, so if we don’t listen to it and treat it as well as we can, we can end up dangerously hurting ourselves. Though I occasionally pushed myself a little too hard, as I took more classes I felt stronger and more grounded, causing me to leave each one with a smile on my face.

As for my new and improved dancing skills–well, let’s just say that I still have a long way to go. It will take a very long time for me to catch up to dancers who have been training their entire lives, but I now feel more confident in the expertise that I do have. Toward the end of my time studying away, I attended an audition in Boston where I was asked to stay and dance and, though I still found the combinations they taught us extremely challenging, I felt that I handled them much better than I could have before my time at BDC. While my schedule this quarter doesn’t have enough room for me to continue my dance training, I’m hoping to take classes consistently throughout my senior year, especially hoping to continue with ballet. Additionally, once I graduate next year, I’m also strongly considering applying to BDC’s training program, a three-to-six-month full-time program for dancers of all levels.

While I’m happy to be back in Kalamazoo, I do miss the studio (and the city) very, very much. Thank you, BDC, for a wonderful ten weeks–and for inspiring me to dance!

-Lauren Landman ‘18

Health is Wealth

One of the biggest things I struggled with during my high school career was figuring out when to keep pushing myself on assignments and when to realize I was absolutely drained and needed to give myself a break. In my specific academic environment, it seemed that if you weren’t getting A’s, you weren’t working hard enough. Anything less was unacceptable and embarrassing. With the attitude I was surrounded by, I always did my best to push myself academically while staying involved in plenty of extracurricular activities. However, there came a point during my senior year where I realized I had to give myself a break. Though my grades were achieved fairly easily and my involvement in clubs and sports had not been faltering, my body and mind were hurting. During that year I went home sick more times than the previous three years combined, and looking back, most of those instances were a result of wearing my body down from stress and fatigue. Even after resting until I was “better,” I would jump right back into the same pattern of work, work, work. It wasn’t until I came to K that I learned how vital your physical and mental health are.

The summer before my first quarter at K, so many people told me, “Don’t worry if you feel like you’re drowning. The stress culture at K is very real.” Although I heard these words from many people, I didn’t know what they meant until my second quarter here at K. Fortunately, my Fall Quarter was pretty calm. I loved the classes I was taking and worked hard in them, but I never felt overwhelmed. Yet, I didn’t know Winter Quarter would have an entirely different atmosphere. The classes I decided to take all required more from me, both inside and outside of the classroom. Along with a different course load, I was involved in more student organizations and started to work on the weekends. It all seemed so familiar that I thought nothing of it. It was exactly what I did in high school. But I didn’t last long. The overwhelming feeling soon settled in and it hit me, “This is the stress culture everyone talks about.” It was almost a scary feeling because I realized that it was hard and I wasn’t necessarily used to hard, but the professors at K knew that.

The thing I appreciate most about K is that professors understand that the stress culture is real on campus and that it is draining. Most professors encourage you to make sure your mental health is intact and that you are at a healthy place to learn and work. I have been lucky enough to have professors, especially during my Winter Quarter, that encourage my classmates and I to make sure our minds and bodies are well because if they’re not, we will not be at our full potential and will not focus as best as we can on the material and participate in the discussions. Looking back now, if I could give myself one crucial piece of advice before coming to K, I would say, “Health is wealth. Your academic performance is important, but the state of your mind and body outrank it.” I strongly encourage everyone to remind themselves that their minds, bodies, and souls come first, always.

-Karina Pantoja ’20

Research Rescue: Accessible Help at K’s Library

The first time I had to write a research paper at Kalamazoo College was for my First Year Seminar, a course that all freshmen take during their first quarter at K. It’s safe to say, I was a little overwhelmed. I wasn’t sure where to start, what sources would be considered credible enough for an academic paper, or where to find my information online, let alone how to navigate the library and its three stories of shelves full of books.

It turns out that I had nothing to worry about because one of the great things about attending a smaller college like K is that not only do the First Year Seminar professors here anticipate freshmen students’ needs, but also that there are resources for help readily available. My professor set up a class period dedicated entirely to learning how to find sources for a research paper called the Beyond Google workshop, where the class works with a librarian who explains how to access K’s databases, electronic journals, and physical copies of books.

The Beyond Google workshop made me feel more prepared going into future essays, even if they weren’t explicitly research-based. I suddenly had access to resources that provided a better context to frame ideas within and to studies and evidence that solidified my arguments. Through this workshop, I also learned that if something wasn’t available through Kalamazoo College’s library or subscriptions, I had options to find materials online, in a statewide book-sharing database, and even at Western Michigan University.

All of this information was helpful to get me through my first quarter here at K, but what really amazed me was an information session I sat in on with my Women, Gender, and Sexuality class during my second quarter. Leading up to our final project and research paper, one of the K librarians had put together a whole workshop and webpage catered specifically to our class. The webpage was set up with step-by-step guides on how to find physical copies of books, how to navigate online journals and databases, and how to request resources from WMU. The librarian had taken the time to pick out the databases and indexes that were most relevant to our class, to suggest guiding keywords that worked best for different types of searches, and even to check the credibility of non-academic websites that could supplement our academic research. She then spent our class time going through real possibilities that students were specifically interested in researching, explaining how to search in an effective and timely manner, and offered us the option of individual help through a scheduled meeting with a Reference Librarian called “Research Rescue.”

I was struck by the specificity of the help available for students, something that a lot of people don’t get at larger universities. Because of K’s size, resources for help, whether it be academic or not, are easy to access and can be accommodated to meet individual needs. The Beyond Google workshop and info session with one of our Reference Librarians have provided me with the tools I need to be successful at K and have better prepared me for my academic future here.

-Emiliana Renuart ‘20

Something Lost but Something Gained

Quite recently, my grandfather unexpectedly passed away. This, of course, was and continues to be incredibly difficult on both myself and my family, but it was especially tough as a first-year student in only her second trimester at a fast-moving and academically rigorous institution like K. My grandfather’s death came at an incredibly inopportune time; though there is obviously no “convenient” time to lose a loved one, I felt overwhelmed by sorrow as well as the pressure from my commitments with school, work, and student organizations. I had two lengthy writing assignments due, a midterm coming up, work tasks to complete, two unfinished externship applications with deadlines approaching fast, an article to write for The Index and another for NaKed magazine, and next to no time to complete them all as well as to grieve with my family. Not long after initially learning the devastating news, I began to feel as if I would never have enough time or energy to “bounce back” from something like this – this feeling of hopelessness, luckily, did not last long, as the students, faculty, and staff at K refused to let me drown.

Upon e-mailing all three of my professors and informing them of my circumstances, each and every one of them not only offered condolences, but extensions on my various assignments. What’s more, they were also sensitive to my inability to participate in class at my usual level, and each made sure to check up on me in a discreet manner, letting me know they cared for me as a human being, and not just for my grade (one later wrote to me that she understood that “being a good daughter sometimes clashed with being a good student,” and encouraged me to focus on being the former).The same was true of my editors at The Index and NaKed magazine, all K students themselves, who empathized with the feeling of being overwhelmed with “family stuff” in addition to life at K, and generously accommodated me by extending deadlines, even despite their own busy schedules and numerous other commitments.

In addition, I was encouraged on numerous occasions to visit the counseling center, which I eventually did. Not only was my session completely free of charge, but the trained professionals at the counseling center worked with me diligently to find appointment times that would fit my already-hectic schedule. I found the sessions to be a reprieve from my daily life; they were a chance to grieve in private without judgment as well as a good place to learn how to find time for myself and my family amidst all my other commitments with school, work, and extracurriculars. What’s more, my counselor made sure to follow up with me afterward and let me know she was always available to me – not only after crises such as a death in the family, but for any and all concerns I may have in the future regarding my mental health.

No one wants to think about crises that might arise after they leave for college. I know I never did, and I know I never wanted to – but I am glad for the numerous outlets for support I have found here at K since arriving last fall. Perhaps at another college or university, the loss of a loved one on top of everything else would have been too much – but thankfully, for me, this was not the case here at K.

I miss my grandfather every day, and I believe I always will. But the people at Kalamazoo College were not only compassionate and accommodating in light of my loss, but they helped me to realize I could handle unexpected moments in life, even the incredibly painful ones. Since returning to campus after the funeral, I can honestly say that the bright days have outnumbered the dark ones – and that’s a testament to the people around me as much as it is to myself.

-Addie Dancer ’20

Helping Hands

Sometimes it’s hard to ask for help because we develop such a strong sense of pride and we don’t want to do anything to ruin that. In high school I had grown comfortable when asking for help, knowing what teachers were willing to go the extra step and make sure I connected to the assignments and projects only because I spent four consecutive years there and the school itself was relatively small. Coming to K though, I struggled. I think the main reason for this was that I didn’t have connections yet, everything was still new and fresh and I didn’t know exactly who to turn to for help, or even how.

The first few weeks in my classes I was assigned multiple essays. Being assigned the essays wasn’t the issue as I have always been one to perform well in English and writing. The issue was, however, that college was a new space with new expectations and I wanted to start off the year strong but wasn’t sure who or where to turn to for help in order to succeed. Fortunately, this is how many first year students may feel when they first get to college and the teachers are aware of it, especially here at K. One of the places on campus that is repeatedly mentioned for academic assistance is the Writing Center, and for a good reason too. The Writing Center is made up of student consultants in a variety of different majors that have been trained to help students with any academic, or even recreational, writings, whether that be an essay, lab report, poem, or short story. The students there are more than willing to take the time to work with you to get your assignment where you want it no matter where you are in the writing process- understanding the prompt, editing a draft, or finalizing a polished piece.

Within my first quarter, I found myself at the Writing Center for almost every writing assignment. It became a secure space for creating ideas and receiving critique, making it easy to stop thinking that getting some assistance may ruin your pride. I have worked with several different consultants and each one has worked as hard as the next in helping me start, edit, and finish assignments before their due dates. Each have also gone the extra step and have spent time past scheduled appointments to help wrap up ideas or go over new additions, while making it clear that if I needed more assistance they were open to meeting up at a different time without scheduling an appointment.

The Writing Center at K is just one of the many resources that is available to students for academic assistance and that wants you to be successful. Don’t worry about your pride when gaining a helping hand leads to a strong essay, friendly connections, and free candy with every visit!

-Karina Pantoja ’20

Making Connections at K

Though the environment, campus, and cost of a college are some of the most popular deciding factors when figuring out where you want to be for the next four years, I realized it’s also important to look at the faculty and staff that work at the college. Although it may seem like it, the students at a college aren’t the only people you’re spending the next four years with. The professors and administration, even the security and dining staff, are all individuals who also have the ability to make your college experience noteworthy or one you wish to forget.

When deciding on K College, I hadn’t given much thought to the faculty, staff, and administration at K. I was solely focused on the cost and classes offered to ensure I was going to get the most out of these next four crucial years. However, I soon realized I had made a mistake when I chose not to look into the professors and staff, not because I would’ve known what professors to look out for and what administration to kiss up to, but because there are so many extraordinary individuals within those positions here at K.

Throughout my first two quarters here at K, I have been lucky enough to have professors that have a strong passion for teaching while making the required material not only easy to comprehend, but also intriguing. One specific individual who has stood out above the rest is my academic advisor Diane Seuss, whom was also the professor of my First-Year Seminar.

Di doesn’t just teach the material in her class, she dissects it, smothers it all over you with a dash of personal narrative and a hint of real-world experiences, and puts it in its own special package for you to carry for the rest of your time at K. She makes a classroom of shy acquaintances bloom into a bold new family and reminds you it’s okay to take a mental day.

Not only was a Di an impactful professor, but she’s also a more than qualified academic advisor. Coming into K, I was so confident in the direction I wanted my studies to go that I didn’t think an academic advisor would offer any meaningful insight. I went into the meeting ready to tell her that I intend on double majoring in English and Psychology with a minor in Spanish, but left the meeting thinking about a concentration in Women’s Studies, or a double major with Anthropology/Sociology instead of Psychology. Di told me that the best part about K was that there’s plenty of room to take classes you wouldn’t normally think of taking, such as the religion course I decided to take this past quarter. She made it clear to me that I have time to experiment and start fulfilling required credits for my intended English major.

Di has gone out of her way to not just offer my guidance within an academic context, but on a more personal level as well. She is more than willing to meet outside of her scheduled office hours to chat about classwork or anything else that’s going on in my life. Fortunately, that’s how most professors at K are; they’re more than willing to go the next step and create a relationship with you. So if you’re thinking about coming to K, do some research on the staff, especially those that teach in your areas of interest, and be ready to create a relationship with them because they can’t wait to make one with you.

-Karina Pantoja ’20

Those Who Teach

You would think that a first-year like myself might find difficulty in writing holistically about my experiences with faculty and professors, having only been at the school for a few months. At other colleges and universities across the country, that might well be the case, but here at K, things move faster – and that includes the process of getting to know the intelligent, committed individuals who drive our education forward.

One of the first faculty members all first-year students come to know is their academic advisors. I was assigned to Dr. Sugimori, a math and Japanese professor – a stark contrast from my intended majors of English and history! But any concerns I may have had regarding potential incompatibility between the two of us were quickly squashed upon our first meeting. Despite not being a part of the fields I was looking into, Dr. Sugimori was immediately committed to helping me understand requirements and find the right classes to pursue my intended majors. She also expressed sincere interest in how my first semester at K was going, and was visibly delighted to learn I had started writing for The Index – she even vowed to start reading my articles each week!

In addition, one of the first professors I came across in a classroom setting was Dr. Sinha. Within her Classical Hollywood class, I was initially impressed by her seemingly-endless knowledge in any and all subjects relating to film, as well as her ability to articulate these topics, both in the context of the past as well as in the present. But after a few weeks in class, I found myself even more moved by her considerate nature, as she was more than willing to make an appointment with me during office hours when I was unsure about an assignment. Even a few weeks after Classical Hollywood had ended, Dr. Sinha cared enough to return my final essay at my request, and readily agreed to be a reference as I applied for on-campus work.

And of course, no blog post about faculty would be complete without mention of the incredible Dr. Boyer-Lewis, a history professor here at K. I chose to take her Women’s History class at the enthusiastic recommendation of a friend, and I am grateful every day that I did. I find myself surprised at how quickly an hour and fifteen minutes seems to pass with a professor who has so much passion for what she teaches. What’s more, Dr. Boyer-Lewis, like Dr. Sinha, was quick to recognize any potential I may have had, generously offering advice when I approached her about an externship in the field of history and eagerly offering herself up as a recommendation, giving me the confidence to pursue further experience and education, even outside of the classroom.

And in all of this reflection, I think of days in the not-so-distant past when I, too, was a prospective student. I remember searching sites like Rate My Professor religiously to see what current K students thought of the faculty members in my potential fields of study, and thought it had to be impossible that the College’s average professor rating was 4 out of 5, with a number of them earning near perfect scores in every category. But nearly two semesters in, I now understand quite clearly what it is that compelled those former students to write such glowing testimonials of the professors they have learned so much from.

Trust me when I say, when it comes to the faculty at Kalamazoo College, words – whether spoken, written on a blog, or posted on a site – can only say so much. The rest truly must be experienced for itself.

– Addie Dancer ’20

Advising Across Differences: How My Basketball Coach Academic Adviser Helped Me Major In English

During the summer before my first year at Kalamazoo College, I anxiously awaited the different information that was being released through my Hornet Hive account, like who my roommate would be and what dorm we were in, what classes I could take as a freshman, and who my academic adviser would be. As I was preparing to begin college, every new email or letter in the mail I received regarding the upcoming year felt like one more step closer to this new exciting experience.

When I was assigned my academic adviser and found out it was one of the basketball coaches, I was a little taken aback. Being interested in English and Art, I worried that a coach who had an entirely different job and set of responsibilities wouldn’t have time to invest in helping me and wouldn’t be able to lead me in the right direction. As soon as I met Coach Miller, the head women’s basketball coach, all my worries went away. Her super laidback personality made it easy for the five students she was advising to make conversation and get to know her. She was personable and easygoing. After that brief first meeting, we all had to make individual advising appointments to speak about our individual K-Plans.

While Coach Miller realized a lot of those things were fairly far ahead in the future, we talked about what I possibly wanted to major in, what clubs I wanted to be involved in, where I might want to study abroad and what I was most interested in pursuing as a student. Even though Coach Miller wasn’t an English or Art professor, she knew the answers to almost all of my questions and knew when to point me in the direction of someone in the relevant department for questions she didn’t have answers to. What ended up being most important about my relationship with my academic adviser was that she was easy to talk to, someone I felt I could trust and rely on, and that she went above and beyond the required once-a-quarter meeting by emailing me to help with schedule changes, recommend a yoga teacher when I mentioned I was interested in the class, and just generally check up on how things were going. Academic advisers are trained to guide you and help inform you when needed, no matter what subject or activity they themselves are involved in.

-Emiliana Renuart ’20

First Quarter at the Zoo

I knew it was probably a sign that I had picked the right college when pre-orientation registration felt like an embarrassment of riches. There are a lot of reasons to attend any college or university, but for me, academics was key – I wanted to go somewhere where classes were not only thorough and enriching, but varied. Thus, when I saw all the first-year seminars available to me right out of the gate – Salem Possessed, Rock & Roll to Rap, Telling Queer Stories – I agonized for a week before my actual registration date about what to pick.

While I really couldn’t have really gone wrong with any class like those and others, I have no regrets about ultimately deciding on Religion and the American Presidency with Dr. Sabella. Though I had initially entered the class to indulge my geeky love of history, I found myself surprised at the variety of content a single seminar could contain. You would think “Religion and the American Presidency” would consist only of the two things, both found in the title. And yet, Dr. Sabella seamlessly infused each session with topics like current events, art, pop culture, and philosophy. Not one class was ever the same, and I never did I find myself without enthusiasm for awaited me next.

Addie Dancer taking a selfie with Kalamazoo College President Jorge Gonzalez
Selfie with President Jorge Gonzalez

Even so, the content actually turned out to be only a bonus in the grand scheme of things – in truth, I am grateful every single day for the first-year seminar I chose because of the incredible friends I found within. Today, those I met through my seminar, either directly or indirectly, are part of my life every single day. We blow up each other’s phone with memes in the group chat, we have nightly “family dinners,” we struggle through workouts at the Fitness and Wellness Center, and we study together at Upjohn Library as often as possible. In a matter of months, we have made countless memories, whether it be going downtown to grab dinner and a movie, driving out to the countryside to pick apples at a local orchard, attending political rallies and getting involved by volunteering on campus, even staying in to play Cards Against Humanity or watch The Office on Netflix.

In addition to my lovely seminar friends, our peer leaders (or peer “moms,” as we quickly came to call them), were also incredibly honest, helpful, and kind. It was my senior peer “mom” who encouraged me to get involved with The Index, K’s school newspaper, and continues to mentor me in matters both personal and journalistic whenever I need it. What’s more, K’s faculty and staff have blown me away with their friendliness and approachability; my French TA once walked me home in the rain when I was without an umbrella, daily trips to Stacks have me on a first-name basis with the people behind the counter, and a single bout with a nasty cough introduced me to the college’s remarkable professionals at the health center, who are as knowledgeable as they are considerate. Even K’s president, Dr. Gonzalez, who might seem to be the most “untouchable” person on campus, has become a familiar face to me; upon our first meeting, he generously provided a quote for my very first story with The Index and happily snapped a selfie with me – a selfie I treasure, which proudly hangs on the door to my room.

Ultimately, it was really the people that made K feel like home so quickly. The school touts its academic renown, and rightfully so – two quarters in, I have yet to dislike a class or the professor that teaches it. But above all else, I have met individuals at K with whom I have connected with in ways that have truly changed me as a human being. Some of these people are unlike anyone I have ever met, while others have managed to make me feel as if I have known them my whole life. And for that, there are no words to describe the depth of my gratitude.

– Addie Dancer ’20

College is “An Awfully Big Adventure”

When I walked into my first-year seminar on the first day of my orientation, I knew that it would be an awfully big adventure. Not only was it the first class I would take in college, but the title of the seminar was “An Awfully Big Adventure”—a reference to Peter Pan, one of my favorite childhood stories. While I had originally planned on taking a seminar related to theatre, my anticipated (now almost-complete) major, I found myself so enthralled by the title of the second class, and the idea of using books I had loved as a child as guidance for my transition into college, that I enrolled in it before any of my other classes, hoping that I would secure one of the limited spots.

I don’t know what I was expecting while walking into Humphrey House on that first day, but know I hadn’t thought that my professor (the incredible Di Seuss) would greet me by name before I had fully stepped into the room, hadn’t predicted that I would take a seat on a comfortable couch next to a girl who would eventually become my best friend and future suitemate, hadn’t foreseen such a casual atmosphere. I knew that my classes at Kalamazoo would never resemble the crowded lectures I had sat in during visits to larger schools, but I never guessed that I would feel so comfortable on the first day of my college career.

Over the course of the quarter, I found a safe haven in Di’s class, for the relaxed environment provided me with an escape from the stress and challenges I faced while adjusting to college life. The once-empty seat that I had claimed on the first day became my permanent spot; my classmates and I spent our Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays laughing and eating donuts while sharing favorite memories from childhood. My favorite part of each class was starting every class with “The Pig”, a ritual during which each student wrote an anonymous note describing their mood at the time (we later drew each note out of a basket and read them out loud). Some people even wrote notes to each other—I will never forget one anonymous note that said “Lauren, you’re beautiful” (and still wonder which of my classmates wrote it to this day).

It has been two years since I first walked into that seminar, and every day I am still grateful that I made the spontaneous decision to enroll in that class. Whenever I talk to incoming students about the first-year seminars, I always encourage them to take one that does not relate to their intended major, hoping that they’ll broaden their horizons the way that I did—I can honestly say that, had I not expanded my interests and taken advantage of the freedom that Kalamazoo’s open curriculum offers, the point I am at now in my college experience would be completely different.

Though my first-year seminar was the most unconventional way I could have imagined starting my four years at K, it is still my favorite class that I have taken. While each of my former classmates have embarked on their own “awfully big adventures” over the last two years, we still keep in touch quite frequently, and try to have a reunion at least once a year. Only a few more months until our next one—fingers crossed that someone will remember the donuts!

–Lauren Landman ‘18