The “Portrait of an Alum” blog series gives a glimpse of life after graduation, with a particular emphasis on our students’ readiness for the transition to college and how their affections and outlook have been shaped through their experiences, teachers and Christian community at Veritas. For this profile, Director of Communications Sara Kennedy interviewed 2014 graduate Evan Maddox, a Freshman at Lynchburg College. This is a summary of their conversation.
SK: Tell us about deciding to attend Lynchburg College. What attracted you to their program?
EM: I didn’t have a strong pull to one college versus another, but I knew I wanted to attend a small college, close to home, in a beautiful setting. Lynchburg College also encourages their faculty members to really get to know students – to be for their success. Classes are small, usually 15 – 20 students, and my professors go above and beyond what I expected. From my years at Veritas, I know and appreciate the value of that kind of relationship.
SK: Did Lynchburg College meet your expectations? Any surprises?
EM: In some ways, Lynchburg College exactly met my expectations – but I have to admit to some surprise too. Making friends has been harder than I expected, though playing soccer on a club team, finding a good local church and plugging into a campus ministry have helped a lot. The campus minister for Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) reached out to me right away – that meant so much to me, especially when I felt overwhelmed by all the new personal freedom I enjoyed, but also the life choices around me.
I was also surprised to find that I am one of the strongest students in my class. At Veritas, we all worked hard. We all participated. We wanted to learn. Veritas teachers are not content to just let students get by with minimal effort. Most of my classmates now didn’t have that kind of attention. Its hard for them to want to come to class if no one is requiring attendance, or keeping them accountable for assignments and participation. Most did not learn to really love a rousing discussion about books or theology or philosophy, so its harder to start now.
SK: So, you feel Veritas prepared you well?
EM: Extremely well. Over-prepared me.
SK: Pretty bold statement. What specifically made you feel so well-prepared?
EM: Lots of things – regular writing assignments and presentations for Mrs. Howell, participation in class discussions with Mrs. Gross and especially the Senior Thesis with my advisor, Mr. Trumbo. Just like every other senior who has tackled – or will tackle this project – I did not really understand its value until it was over.
The Senior Thesis project brought together so many of the skills we learned over the years – how to research, how to make solid arguments, how to narrow down to key issues, how to use time wisely, how to speak persuasively. Choosing a topic I was excited about, the fall of Constantinople, and an excellent advisor, made this project more than just do-able, it showed me what I am capable of doing.
So far, my school-work at Lynchburg College has not really presented that kind challenge. I try to give myself goals for each class, for example, be sure to answer at least one question and raise at least one question for discussion in each period. I know that learning is my responsibility and that I will get out of my college experience what I put into it. I’ve also tried to meet at least one new person each week. For an easy-going introvert, this can be more stretching than my studies sometimes. I try to remember that everyone feels the newness of this life, that everyone is making new friends, that everyone is away from good friends and family.
SK: Any advice for those coming behind you at Veritas?
EM: Looking back, I realize that even though the work was hard sometimes, life in high school was pretty simple for me. There was such comfort in being known, quirks and all, by a great group of people. The daily routines of life together – classes, sports, hanging out – the teachers who taught us, cheered us on, counseled us – some days, I definitely wish I could go back.
SK: What’s next for you? Do you have an idea about your major yet?
EM: No, I haven’t chosen a major yet, but am definitely enjoying history and political science classes so far. Next semester holds more math and science – we’ll see. For now, I just want to be faithful to the opportunities God places in front of me.