In choosing a college to further his education and baseball career, Carter Wade, a senior accounting major from Little Rock, Ark., first decided to attend a Division I university. After a year of playing baseball at another Arkansas university, Wade said knew he was meant to attend Ouachita.
Being from Midlothian, Texas (a suburb of Dallas), most of my classmates had their sights set on large, nearby state schools. I couldn’t muster the same excitement they had about attending schools with such huge student populations. I wanted to be known by my professors, not just some number or a face in an auditorium full of students.
The Ouachita community truly is something special. While on campus, I was surrounded by faculty and peers alike who uniquely challenged me and pushed me to grow in my relationship with Christ. While Ouachita opened the door for me to gain wisdom from faculty, it also brought me some seriously great friends. Whether through class, clubs or other avenues, the friendships I made were each unique and welcomed new perspectives into my life.
“Why did you want to go to college at Ouachita? Didn’t you want to get out of your hometown?” I have been asked these questions frequently since I stepped on to campus as a freshman in 2017. To me, not going to Ouachita had never been an option. For as long as I can remember, Ouachita was the next step, and it couldn’t get here soon enough.
Ouachita has given me so much, but my favorite thing it has given me is soccer. As a little girl, I dreamt of playing college sports. I saw pictures of college-age soccer players and how athletic and intimidating they looked, and I really wanted to be that. Ouachita gave me that opportunity.
72 weeks. 504 days. 12,096 hours. The amount of time since COVID-19 quickly and dramatically changed life at Ouachita in the spring semester of 2021. We all have very clear memories of the week ending March 13. As the semester winds to a close at Ouachita, I ask for your help in documenting COVID-19 at Ouachita.
As a rising senior, it’s incredibly easy for me to look back at my college experience and say, “College was a time for growth.” I started my time at Ouachita as a shy freshman who just wanted to earn her degree, maybe go to a few events and get out. I was afraid to try anything outside of my comfort zone, lest I jeopardize my education.
Everyone learns to cope, regardless of their situation in life, in ways that are healthy and unhealthy. For many young adults, college is a time when stress levels run high, sleep patterns are inconsistent and having one-too-many cups of coffee and stress eating – among other things – are common aids students use to keep themselves going. While this is often considered normal, the college years are a pivotal time for learning how to cope well in the adult world.
Ouachita’s progress in recent years reflects the input and ideas from listening to responses from two questions in regard to our future: “What shouldn’t change?” and “What should change?” A part of our listening includes hearing the voices of our students and alumni of color. Until we listen, we can’t understand how to make Ouachita a place where belonging is central to an outstanding educational experience.
Consider providing three meals a day to Ouachita’s residential campus of roughly 1,500 students, physically distanced, observing the Arkansas Department of Health and CDC’s vigilant cleaning guidelines and all while keeping lines of hungry students moving. For Kari Ledford, Sodexo’s retail and marketing manager, and her team, their focus was always Ouachita students and their safety.