My name is Matt Peters, and I am a junior at PLU. I am pursuing a degree in sociology, with minors in Biology and Chemistry. Since arriving on campus two years ago, I have had the opportunity to learn and grow more than I could have ever imagined, and not just in the classroom. PLU has given me the opportunity to learn about myself, my peers and the world. The identity that I was so sure of as a first-year student has changed drastically in the past two years, and I can honestly say that I am much happier with the person that I am today because of my experiences as a Lute.
When I chose PLU, one of the biggest factors in my decision was PLU’s high success rate in preparing students for medical school. My entire life, all I have been able to envision myself doing is medicine. I was not the kid who dreamt of being a police officer, firefighter, or even a professional athlete – it was always medicine. Before coming to PLU, I thought that being pre-med meant that I had to be natural science major - probably biology or chemistry. Today, I’m on the other side of the spectrum, pursuing a degree in sociology - thanks in large part to two committed professors who saw passion and potential in me that I never saw in myself.
Some of the best experiences at PLU have come outside the classroom. Don’t get me wrong, school is incredibly challenging and important at PLU, but I would argue that I’ve learned nearly as much in my leadership roles on campus as I have in my classes. My advisors and supervisors have taught me all of the intangible life lessons that just don’t happen in most classrooms. My first year, I was actively involved in the Hinderlie Residence Hall Council, where I learned the basics of leadership in a minimal-responsibility role. The ensuing year, I was elected President in Hinderlie, and I learned a lot about leadership, including how to run meetings, how to delegate effectively, and more importantly, how to listen. Being President was most definitely a humbling learning experience that taught me a tremendous amount about myself. The next year, I felt ready for another leadership challenge; I ran for and was elected to the Presidency of PLU’s Residence Hall Association – a campus wide leadership organization that represents all on-campus students. This year, working with a group of bright and talented student leaders has continued to change the way that I think and work on a daily basis.
Quite possibly the most valuable things that I will take away from my PLU experience are relationships. From peers to staff to professors, there is something very special about how much people care about each other at PLU. This can be seen clearly in the little things on campus, from people holding doors for one another to the intentional conversations that faculty and staff seek with their students. It really is all about passion – the essence of PLU’s Wild Hope Project, which I have experienced in nearly all of my relationships on our campus. As I often tell to guests when giving campus tours, I first experienced this passion for relationships when I went to the office hours of my general chemistry professor during the second week of my first year. I walked in his door expecting a quick answer (and maybe explanation) to my question, and I walked out twenty minutes later with a friendship. I still visit the professor to this day, because he simply cares. He is passionate about his subject, but maybe even more passionate about his students. The coolest thing is, he is just one of many at PLU. The two professors that helped me to discover my major in sociology did the same thing, as have my advisors while serving as President of RHC and RHA.
So that’s my PLU experience in under 800 words – and I know it hardly does the last two plus years justice, but I think it gives a good glimpse of what this place means to me. Being a Lute is about academic rigor, international education, leadership opportunities, and relationships. Being a Lute is about challenging one’s self, taking chances, and asking those big enough questions. Being a Lute is about doing things that you never thought you would do before. I can proudly say that I have done (or am doing) all of these things so far in my PLU experience, and I still have nearly a year and a half left. The most exciting part is that I know there is more to come, so come say hi next time you’re on campus and maybe I’ll give you an update!
Take care, and go Lutes!