Abigail Vance (’15)

Abigail Vance (2015)Abigail is a 2015 Bethany graduate. At Bethany, she majored in Psychology.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU • • • I was first drawn to psychology just because I knew it generally had to do with people, and I’m a people person. I want to have a career where I can help people, and I figured psychology would be a wonderful field of study with that in mind. I wanted to learn to understand people better, and therefore understand how to help them. As Prof. Wiechmann said once in a class, “how can you fix people if you don’t know what makes them broken?”

HOW YOU WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE • • • I hope to have a career in human and social services – I love working with all sorts of people from elderly, children, people with disabilities … they all interest me. Overall, I want to take my education, skills, and compassion for people and combine them into a career where I can help people change for the better.

HOW BETHANY HAS PREPARED YOU • • • Throughout my time at Bethany, I learned how important relationships are to truly making a difference. The professors I remember most are the ones that seemed to truly care about me and want to get to know me. Of course, to a point that is all Bethany faculty, but there were some that I saw this in more than others, as I spent more of my time with them in various classes.

I especially think that Principles and Strategies of Counseling, one of the capstone courses with Prof. Wiechmann, helped prepare me most for whatever career I end up in. I’m one that’s prone to wanting to jump in and fix things for people, but this class taught me the value of listening. Sometimes, people can figure out how to fix their own problems just by listening to themselves. Even if they can’t, it also can mean a lot to them to see that someone truly cares enough to listen.

WHAT YOU REMEMBER MOST • • • I most remember the community – I wasn’t just a number there, not just another face. I knew people there, and they knew me – and not just as the only student in a wheelchair, although that was true as well. Even people I’d only see in passing were always friendly, and the campus community really fostered an environment where everyone cares about everybody else. So many strong relationships can be formed over a relatively short period of time, and I definitely saw this in my time at Bethany – during my last two years of high school as a PSEO student, and also during my two and a half years spent completing my degree.

ADVICE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS • • • My strongest advice is to focus on your strengths, but also work on weaknesses as well. I love people, so I picked a psychology major – and yet I also picked a business minor, where you need accounting and economics – and I’m not great at math (just ask Professor Shoop… on second thought, don’t.) Those business classes, and others not really in my forte, really strengthened me regardless of whether I got an A or C, I learned a lot. I remember some basics from the classes, but most of all learned perseverance. There were highs and lows in all these difficult classes, as there will be for you, but it’s good to learn how to deal with those difficulties. Stretch yourself and take a few classes outside your comfort zone, if you’re even slightly interested or you think they may benefit you down the road.