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Connect To Purpose

Laird Goertzen

Hometown:Goessel, KS
Area of Study: Individualized Major: Crisis Psychology, with a certificate in Disaster Management
Class: 2016

Why did you choose your major?
Bethel didn’t offer exactly what I wanted, but offered to help me make my own. Having taken a year off and to think about what I wanted to do with my career, and having been exposed to disaster response during that time, I decided to pursue that path. I enjoy stress, work best under pressure with deadlines, and find my interests and aptitudes lining up well with what is needed for this sort of job. I have been very encouraged by Bethels tradition of service, and have been given astounding amounts of support in following this path.
What brought you to Bethel?
The professors and academics originally. I knew people who had gone here, had family who had attended this institution, everyone spoke well both of the quality of education and of the people here. I also had the opportunity to run Cross Country and Track, which I enjoy.
What activities have you been involved in?
I have participated in Cross Country, Track, Forensics, and Theater performances. I work with Bethel’s Audio-Visual department, serve on Student Senate, and enjoy intermural sports.
How are you different now from when you first arrived on campus?
-I arrived on campus still processing my gap year spent in China. At that point I had passion, but no direction. Bethel has helped me to focus that drive towards specific goals and has helped me develop the tools to achieve them.
What about Bethel gives you the most pride?
Undoubtedly the people, I have the opportunity to be friends and peers with people doing incredible work in everything from original research to jazz performance to theology construction. The density of incredible talent is one of the things I most enjoy about Bethel.
What has been your favorite course so far, and why?
Practical Skills for Managing Interpersonal Conflict was a 4 day intensive interterm class that centered on role play based mediation training. It combined so much of what I enjoy into one class. It was intellectual, yet intensely personal. There was stress and pressure, and these mattered due to the direct real world application of what we were learning.
Tell a quick story about a memorable moment from your Bethel days.
On the last day of my freshman year Introduction to psychology course, Paul, the professor, handed out a copy of a research proposal he was currently working up along with the experimental design. He then said that since we had learned to critically look at such things and had worked up our own experimental designs he would appreciate it if we would look it over and write any thoughts or suggestions at the end of the final. Several days later He asked if I could talk with him about my suggestion and ended up changing part of the design based on my idea. I was blown away that the opinion of a freshman could be so valued.
What does it mean to be a Thresher?
Lots of long grinding work. The Threshing stone is a farm implement from the days of hard physical labor. Classes will thresh your mind, but in the end you will have learned how to be equally discerning in all future facets of life.

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.