Being Back on Campus Feels Right
Abby Bender’s (Class of 2021) senior year certainly isn’t what she expected, but being back on campus feels right.
“It is a weird experience having my senior year during a pandemic. I am fortunate to be able to live in an apartment with my friend to keep me sane, but I love seeing my friends in passing or having lunch with people. Even being at work feels so refreshing. I’m glad Beloit is being safe so I can be here for my final year.”
Major(s): Biology and Theater Performance
Where do you call home? Portland, OR
How did you hear about Beloit? What made you excited to come here?
Beloit was in my top three schools for a while. It actually moved into first place for me when I visited my old top school and it didn’t have any trees. I knew I needed to be in an area that has a lush environment. Also the scholarship.
What kind of activities are you involved with on campus?
Head Coordinator for GWIS, BITE member, involved in the theatre department, Health and Wellness Center employee.
What off-campus opportunities have you enjoyed?
There is a small taco restaurant two blocks away from campus called El Neno. This is my favorites place to go off campus because all their food is absolutely delicious and very affordable.
What has been your favorite class so far?
Every class honestly. I’ve really enjoyed everything. I’ve enjoyed a lot of classes so far. It’s hard to pick because I take classes in all sorts of fields and departments. CALC1, not because of the material but I met my best friend in that class and everyone in that class got along really well. The material was challenging but it was fun to be around fun people. When I took theater classes, like directing classes, you get to do a whole project and create a world and it’s very creative. I’ve gotten passionate about storytelling and how to communicate information. It has helped me tune into how my mind works. I’ve enjoyed every class I’ve taken at Beloit. Even if it’s really hard, I end up being in a class with people I really enjoy being around.
What has been your most unexpected Beloit experience?
I really never expected to join a sorority. My dad was in a fraternity so I knew a lot about greek life. And growing up, I didn’t think it was for me but joining Kappa Delta and being around all these wonderful powerful women has been a great thing.
What’s been your biggest academic challenge?
Calculus 2. This was the most challenging because I was taking other difficult classes as well. It was often difficult for me to grasp concepts because it was hard to follow the teaching style of the class but I don’t regret taking it.
Where is your favorite space on campus?
I absolutely love being in the Bungee in the Neese Theatre. I study well in there. I’ve had great classes there and sometimes my friends and I have midnight dance parties. There are just great memories in that space. The theatre building is always a little less populated so it’s a nice place to be.
Where are you and your friends on Saturday night?
We hangout in the performing arts house (BITE house). We play games and just have a lot of fun. The house is a really important place for us. It’s our defined space.
What would your advice be to future Beloiters?
My advice is, one, get to know your professors and bond with them. They have similar interests and they’re fun to talk to and so helpful even outside of class. Two, don’t be afraid to speak in class. I feel like so many first years don’t want to chime in. In later classes everyone is talking and you get to learn so much more about other perspectives. People may have crazy ideas and you get to hear them and have those discussions, but that only happens if people talk.
How do you think Beloit has prepared you?
It’s a difficult thing to answer myself. I don’t necessarily have a direct path. Beloit has given me a lot of confidence in the fields I want to enter in my own way. When I first got here I wanted to work in a lab and be a microbiologist. I still love biology and now I’m thinking about how I can communicate science outwards to the community. Beloit has shown me just the skills I need to move forward. And the relationships built with faculty will be something I will hold onto afterwards for support.
How has Financial Aid and other support of the College impacted you? And what does it mean to you that alumni and others give to the College to support your education?
It means a lot to me to have alumni support. I got a lot of financial support to be able to come here and it moved Beloit up the list. There were schools I chose not to go to because of the financial aid. If I hadn’t received the funding from Beloit, I would’ve gone somewhere else and wouldn’t have had the same opportunities. Like work study at the Health and Wellness Center. The school has the resources for me to then turn around in my job to help people. I feel really lucky to be able to be here and have this opportunity.
How do you feel being at Beloit during the COVID-19 pandemic?
It is a weird experience having my senior year during a pandemic because, unlike the freshmen, I know what the year is normally like. However, even with all the changes and safety precautions it still feels so nice to be on campus. I am fortunate to be able to live in an apartment with my friend to keep me sane, and I love seeing my friends in passing or having lunch with people. Even being at work feels so refreshing. I’m glad Beloit is being safe so I can be here for my final year.