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Recent Graduate Encourages Commuters to Get Involved

Q & A with Amanda Brunner '13, Early Childhood Education Major and Commuter Extraordinaire


Amanda Brunner

[Course Assistant Amanda Brunner, pictured far right, at "Crazy Olympics" during New  Student Orientation]

Q. Why did you transfer to Malone University? 

A. I was attending another local college and decided although it was a great school for other people, it wasn't the school for me. I found the freedom of a secular college to be a little too "free" and the ideals that most of the people around me had weren't something that I was ready for at the time.

Once I got to Malone, it quickly felt like home. I was enjoying my major, and I had a close-knit community of people that felt like a small extension of my own family.

Q. How did you get involved in campus life as a commuter?

A. At first it was hard, but then I decided to check out some of the events on campus - Celebration, Worldview Forums, Davenport Derby...different things like that. I started seeing familiar faces and it became a lot easier to meet people.

Q. What advice would you have for students who commute?

A. Definitely get involved! I know that as a commuter it can be hard to want to drive back to campus after you've left for the day and you might not know people, but if you don't at least make an attempt to get involved, you're going to miss out on getting to know some really great people and experiences!

Q. What stood out in your experience at Malone?

A. The community. It took me about a year to really start settling in at Malone as a commuter, but once I did, I was so blessed by the people on campus. My closest friends now are people that I met on campus. Malone is a small school and it's easy to grow your community once you've found your niche. Not only that, but people are so eager to meet you and hang out. I have many new friends simply because I was invited to come over to their room and hang out.

Q. How did Malone prepare you for your future?

A. I know that Malone can be deemed "a bubble", and that may be true, but for myself, my classes helped me solidify by beliefs on certain issues that would arise in my career. Because my relationship with the Lord isn't something that I want to waiver on, I enjoyed that my professors were able to bring Christian perspectives to certain issues. I started realizing more how to maintain my own beliefs and convictions while still working in a predominately secular world.

Q. What opportunities did you take advantage of during college?

A. The two biggest opportunities I took were participating in a cross-cultural trip and being a CA (Course Assistant - for Malone’s Orientation Program). During the summer of 2011, I went to Johannesburg, South Africa and Botswana for two weeks and it was one of the best things I could have ever done.

My senior year, I was a CA working with incoming freshman in their College Experience class. Again, I am so thankful for that opportunity while at Malone.

Amanda in the classroom

[Amanda with elementary school children on a cross-cultural trip]

Q. Describe a faculty relationship.

A. One of my favorite education professors was one of the nicest, most welcoming people I have ever met in my life. There was one day we couldn't have class at the school we usually met at so instead of canceling, she opened her home to us and fed us lunch. Our class was about 30 people. This was how most of my professors were: open, sincere, compassionate, and willing to go the extra mile for us.

Q. What did you learn outside of the classroom?

A. I learned what it meant to grow up. While being a commuter, and during my last year on campus, I went through many peaks and valleys. Through all of this I had to learn what it meant to trust in the Lord in new ways and I had to let go of control in a few areas of my life. The classroom teaches us a lot, but these things weren't in my textbooks.

Q. What are some of your favorite memories at Malone?

A. Spending time with friends, my semester as a CA, living in the dorm for a year, and competing in Airband and the Banana Split Eating Contest.

Q. How did you grow in your spiritual life at Malone?

A. Spiritually I grew most because of my close group of friends. We were always there to push each other and hold each other accountable, but I also had people I knew I could trust if I needed prayer or a listening ear. It doesn't sound like a lot, but having that community of people who are there to walk alongside you is huge.

Q. What are some of the things you learned about yourself during college?

A. Oh boy. Well, I am definitely strong-willed. I also realized how much I appreciate having more than two or three close friends. My level of independence grew in some ways and lessened in others. I am much more focused in what I want to do with my life and career. And I despite what I thought during my last semester of college, I will in fact miss Malone and school.Amanda Brunner

Q. What are your ultimate career goals?

A. Ultimately I want to work with students and kids who are underprivileged. I'm not sure if that will be in the classroom or in a different setting, but I have a heart for children who don't have the love and support that a lot of kids have and I want to work in a way that serves and takes care of those children.

[Amanda, right, at graduation with close friends]