"What’s great is that Luther encouraged exploration, which allowed me to take a variety of classes. I also admit that the scenery in Decorah was a major attraction."
“What initially attracted me to Luther was its commitment to the liberal arts. I arrived on campus torn between a career in law and trumpet performance,” Mike says. “What’s great is that Luther encouraged exploration, which allowed me to take a variety of classes. I also admit that the scenery in Decorah was a major attraction.”
“As a junior I participated in the Nottingham study abroad program and it was the most impactful of all my college experiences,” Mike says. “It was where I took my first classes in international development and Mandarin Chinese, both of which guided later education and career decisions. I was also exposed to the excitement of life abroad, interacting with students from every corner of the globe and facing routine challenges to my assumptions and beliefs.”
Mike’s grateful that one of his history professors encouraged him to participate in the program. “She was my academic advisor and instructor and guided me through class selection, ensuring that I had a challenging and varied schedule and, most importantly, that I graduated,” Mike says. “Other professors in that department led some of my favorite classes including my senior seminar on Colonial America, which nearly persuaded me to pursue a scholarly career. Another fostered my interest in East Asia and later advised me as I wrote my senior dissertation on Chinese politics.”
What advice does Mike have for first-year students and new grads? “As a student, take whatever classes seem appealing,” Mike says. “As a graduate, follow your gut. Volunteer for AmeriCorps, design a phone app, manage a restaurant, start a bluegrass band, or coach high school football. Then do something else. In my admittedly limited experience, a diverse and unusual background is an advantage in the workplace. You are more confident when facing new challenges. You get along with others despite your differences. You are adaptable. Employers want to meet you. You tell a better story.”