Maggie Anderson

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Class of 2020

When I traveled from my home in Sacramento, CA, to visit Walsh University for the first time, I had a mixture of emotions. I knew Walsh had lacrosse and a design program - two things that were important to me when choosing a college - but I didn’t know if the character of the school was right. And Ohio is thousands of miles away from home. I was very excited, but I was also very stressed. As a senior in high school, you’re expected to make these big decisions about who you’re supposed to be for the rest of your life. I remember feeling the weight of all that as I got on a plane to visit Walsh with my mom.

When I arrived on campus, everyone was kind and welcoming, but it wasn’t until I entered the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel that it all clicked. I remember walking into the chapel for the first time, and I just knew that this is where I needed to be.

For me, growing up Catholic and ultimately choosing to continue in my faith, a church is like a home. It’s a place where when you walk in Jesus is present in the tabernacle, and that’s all that matters. When I entered the chapel at Walsh, it was just peace. As a student-athlete who had visited campuses all around the country, it was something I never had felt before in the recruiting process. It was a reminder that everything was going to be OK.

I had this vague idea of what my college experience was going to be like, but once I started my journey at Walsh, I quickly realized your college years are about discovering yourself and your passions, and those things change over time. Two years in, and I still don’t really know who I am.

By my second semester of my freshman year I was taking 18 credit hours (including two labor intensive art classes), playing lacrosse, and was involved in the Blouin Global Scholars Program. I had so much that I was doing—and I loved all of it—but ultimately you can’t do everything that you want to do, not to the extent to which you want to do it. When I do something, I want to put everything I have into it. I found myself incapable of doing that with everything I had on my plate. So I had to make decisions, and it was really hard. Ultimately, I decided not to play lacrosse so I could explore all of these other areas that I just found fascinating.

I think that is what college is about and what it’s become for me. It’s a space where I can expand my knowledge and my learning, and it stretches across disciplines. So, yes, I am a Graphic Design and Communications major, but I’m also a leader of the Garage, which is traditionally a business space. And with Blouin Scholars I’m looking into issues of desalination, which is traditionally a chemistry issue. Or I’m looking into food policy, which you would think would apply to government. It’s this process of expanding that knowledge base and that repertoire of information and issues so that you can become an innovator in your field.

Leonardo DaVinci said it best: "Everything connects to everything else." If you allow yourself to explore what education is, and what it means, and what it should mean, you can truly evolve. That’s what I love about the liberal arts education at Walsh. The idea of what it means to be a designer and to design has really started to expand for me.

Beyond that, I love that Walsh is a close-knit community where I can have conversations with my professors and they know me, not just the first time when I talk to them and introduce myself, but they’ll see me in the hallway and they’ll know my name.

Everyone on campus is so kind and welcoming. From the maintenance staff to campus ministry, they are people who look at you and genuinely want to know how you are and who you are. For example, Mitchum Warren, one of our campus ministers, spends an hour each week teaching me about the compendium of Catholic social justice. It’s such a blessing to have a resource on campus that I can go to and say "I have questions" and find people who won’t say "These are the answers" but will instead say "This is the information we have, let’s question together and see if we can find the truth together."

When I started college, I thought my dream was to work as an animator at Pixar. As I’ve grown throughout my Walsh journey and explored all these other things, my experiences (particularly with the Blouin program) have begun to move me in a different direction. Though I still love illustration and storytelling, I’m finding myself wanting to transition into working more in the design thinking process, perhaps with an organization such as IDEO or Design Impact, working on ways to solve global problems.

Ultimately, what I would like to do is make the world a better place. I feel like Walsh University is providing me hands-on experiences solving real problems that can help me accomplish that.