Growing into Leadership

Alicia Archer helps in the aftermath of a tornado in Florida.Originally, Alicia Archer’s plan for college did not include Nebraska. But after she visited Union College, she changed her mind. Majoring in both nursing and international rescue and relief (IRR), Archer plans to eventually work as a nurse overseas, possibly on mercy ships or in third-world countries. As her senior year begins, she reflects what she has learned about getting the most out of college.

Michael Steingas: As you were looking at colleges, what made Union stand out?
Alicia Archer: The first thing I noticed was a very beautiful campus. It was really easy to meet people and everyone was helpful. The main things I looked at in colleges were price and location. Union was farther away and cost more than I originally wanted, but IRR really attracted me and as I was applying, the staff helped make it affordable.

MS: How was your first year of college?
AA: At first, it was an adjustment living away from Colorado and the mountains. But it was refreshing coming from a public high school to a college where there were Adventist people my age. Once I met a few people, it was so easy to spread out and meet more.

MS: What classes have you enjoyed taking at Union?
AA: I really like the medical classes such as the EMT course and the IRR summer training in Colorado where we learned rescue and survival techniques. Anatomy and Physiology was also a favorite because of the content and dissecting. I really appreciated how the teacher was straightforward about what we needed to study. As a new college student, that was very helpful.

MS: What on-campus activities do you look forward to?
AA: Every year I look forward to dodgeball. We learned a song with the IRR program while in Venezuela called “Los Pollitos” (“Little Chickens”). Last year we dressed up as chickens with Spanish names on the back of our shirts for the event. It was a lot of fun.

MS: What do you like to do around Lincoln?
AA: There are good camping spots nearby as well as a lot of parks where I play Ultimate Frisbee or just relax. Also, there’s a coffeehouse downtown where I like to study or just kick back.

MS: Last semester you were Associated Student Body social vice president and this year you will be the president. How did you become involved in leadership?
AA: My freshman year, I was a bit of a recluse. I had friends, but I wasn’t really involved. As I started to branch out, I joined clubs and helped out with several praise groups. That got me started. Then last semester, Linda Becker, vice president for Student Services, suggested I interview for the social vice president position that had opened up mid-year. It was definitely a God thing because I wasn’t looking for the position; it came to me.

MS: What excites you the most about Union?
AA: I appreciate all the worship opportunities. You can find whatever you’re looking for from large groups to smaller ones. Not everyone worships the same way, and Union does a good job of accommodating different styles.

MS: What advice do you have for students looking at colleges?
AA: Visit the colleges you’re interested in and don’t be too quick to cross a college off just because of the location or cost. If I had stuck to just what I originally wanted, I would have missed out on an amazing opportunity. Talk to the students who go there for a good idea of what to expect. Make sure to get involved when you start! Joining clubs or helping out with small groups are good ways to meet people. College is the best place to discover and experience new things, so take advantage of it.