|Khristian Smith at Trafalgar Square. At the heart of London, the square is one of the city’s most vibrant open spaces. Khristian spent a semester studying in and touring the city.
"I cannot think of Oxford without imagining the potential for magic. It’s that kind of city. There are no skyscrapers, there are battlements and spires. Hanging over everything is this sensation of real history. It’s something that you get knowing you walk the streets that Oscar Wilde, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Jonathan Swift treaded," said Khristian Smith, looking back on his travel abroad experience.
"It’s sensational. And it’s hard leaving it behind."
Khristian spent a semester in England, and he studied at New College, one of Oxford's oldest and best-known colleges. The experience, Khristian said, was life-changing.
"Oxford is the place where I found that I really wanted to be centered in some kind of academic city. It solidified my desire to further my education. It enticed me to become a world traveller. It also inspired me to change my approach to my own studies."
What’s one thing no Bethany student should miss?
Education is about acquiring knowledge for yourself and the betterment of your peers. No student should miss the opportunities Bethany has for allowing its students the opportunities to gain knowledge. Go abroad if you’ve the chance. See the world and how it thinks and operates outside the Bethany bubble, but especially outside the U.S. bubble Any chance you have to learn, take it. Bethany’s great at providing those opportunities. Students just have to grab them. Study abroad -- the cost is worth it. Take more than the required liberal arts core. If you’ve the time for it, keep taking literature classes, take the extra chemistry lab. There are some great teachers here. Use your opportunity to your advantage. That’s why it’s the liberal arts. Bethany can make you so rounded.
Think back to the first time you were introduced to Bethany College. Why did you decide to come here?
My sister graduated from Bethany in 1999. I’ve been aware of the college for most of my life, and I spent three weeks here in 2010 when I attended the Governor’s Honors Academy. I loved it. I’m from a similar town, very secluded and surrounded by forests. I need trees. Yet, I’m not so far from civilization that I cannot do anything. Bethany provides me a healthy balance. It’s conducive.
What is your favorite memory at Bethany?
Sophomore year, I sat on the balcony at Phi Tau (fraternity). The sky was this shade of blue, it was like someone put an iron filter over it. I remember resting my legs on the wood frame and the sky parted. Rain tumulted. The railing vibrated, the thunder was so loud. Then there was this single streak of lightning. The flash scattered spider webs over Hummel Field House and I just sat in awe of it. I was terrified, but it was beautiful. I thought it summed up the whole experience of Bethany well. Here is a college planted in the natural world; here is an opportunity to live within nature and see it raw. I’ll never forget that.
Do you have any advice for an incoming freshman?
Do not worry so much about fitting in, you’ll come to find that on your own time. Do not come in with the idea that college will be easy. It’s not supposed to be. Keep up in your studies, but realize you’re human. Try not to cram before exams, and make sure you get sleep.