By Adam Altobella
As he swiftly types his password into the admissions portal, he thinks about how this admissions decision will allow him to leave Muncie in favor of a much different environment. After the brief, anxious wait, he learns that he has been admitted to the college of his dreams. The Muncie community has long been his home, but he feels that now is the time to leave the nest.
Sam Arnold, a senior at Delta, will continue his academic career at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Although Arnold’s college decision is rather unique for a student from a rural school in Indiana, a few of his classmates also will pursue their college degrees at out-of-state colleges.
Among these Eagles are Callum Hotmire, who will attend Wheaton College near Chicago, and Emerson Slopsema, who will attend Brigham Young University-Idaho in Rexburg, Idaho.
Their reasons for choosing their selected college vary.
Arnold decided on Eckerd due to the institution’s renowned reputation in the field of marine biology. Its program was recently named as the third best in the United States by College Choice.
“I’ve always been interested in stuff in the water, and animals,” Arnold said. “I thought I’d put the two together by being a marine biologist.”
Hotmire settled on his college when two factors merged.
“I knew that I wanted to go to a Christian college, and that narrowed my selections down pretty far,” Hotmire said. “I chose Wheaton because they had my major (anthropology).”
Unlike Arnold and Hotmire, Slopsema’s reasoning for choosing BYU-Idaho was rooted in her family ties. Her mother is an alumna of the university, and her aunt, whom she “is really close with,” lives within driving distance of the Rexburg campus.
Given that these students will be spending four years living in each city, they all found aspects of their college’s environment to be appealing.
Arnold and Slopsema both cited the surrounding serene landscapes to be the most prominent area of appeal for their college’s town.
Slopsema said that BYU-Idaho is “really pretty,” and that the surrounding environment of the eastern Idaho campus will suit her interests, as she has “always loved the mountains.”
On the other hand, Arnold said “it’s on the beach, and it’s really warm,” regarding Eckerd’s beachside home in the Gulf Coast town of St. Petersburg.
Although Hotmire acknowledges that living in a suburb of the Chicago metropolitan area will allow him to enjoy new activities, he felt that the primary appeal of Wheaton’s location is the amount of internship opportunities in the area.
Despite their clear excitement to leave the confines of Delaware County, each of the students expressed how they will miss some aspects of their current life, and how there will be necessary adaptations along their college journeys.
“I’ll probably end up missing my family and friends, and just my home in general,” Arnold said.
Hotmire added that “it’s a new place, it’s something that you’ve got to get used to. Also, I hate the snow, and it snows a lot in Chicago.”
Unlike her peers, Slopsema expressed how her love for a local pastry shop will ultimately result in homesickness while she is studying in Idaho.
“I think I’ll miss Concannon’s because I really love their pastries,” Slopsema said. “So [I will miss], family, Concannon’s, and just being here.”
From a sibling’s perspective, junior Eli Arnold, the younger brother of Sam Arnold, feels that his brother’s departure will result in a sense of longing.
“I’m probably going to get really bored by myself at home,” Eli Arnold said. “Sometimes he’s just someone to hang out with.” He added that he will also miss his brother’s presence because “he was the cushion of getting in trouble.”
Since Arnold, Hotmire, and Slopsema have all experienced the out-of-state college selection process, current students interested in doing the same have much to gain from their wisdom.
“Be sure that you want to leave your family, because that’s always something different, and not a lot of people are ready for that,” Hotmire said. “Also, just visit, because it will be a new experience. The schools themselves are different, but they’re also in different states, and each state is different.”
While looking back on his college selection process Arnold said one shouldn’t “pay attention to the cost honestly, and just pay attention to majors and stuff like that.” He also adamantly recommended that students should “only go out of state if there are only a few options.”
Slopsema recommends that all students interested in an out-of-state college should pursue it. “The experiences that you’ll have will last a lifetime. You never know, maybe you’ll end up loving where you go to college, and you’ll want to live there.”
Although each of these Eagles will be leaving the nest, their current personalities and experiences have been forged by their life in Muncie, as well as by their time as Delta students. They will soon be flying high in the future in whatever community they decide to land, but they will forever call Delta their first nest.