Center Spread

HUMANS OF EU: featuring first-year students

Jimae Smith-Hobbs

Jimae Smith-Hobb

Jimae Smith-Hobb

Do you know what you want to study yet?

“I’m an English lit and writing major, and french and psychology minor….I got into English Lit because my mom used to pull me into her room, and we would watch “Romeo and Juliet.” We watched a bunch of Shakespearean movies, and she would pause it and tell me to translate what they said. I was really into it and I kind of became obsessed with it. So I would just read a lot of his plays and his poetry.”

Are there any other interesting things people should know about you?

“I can successfully do the cinnamon challenge. I remember my sister came home from school one day, and she ran to the kitchen with her laptop, and she was screaming at my mom, ‘Everyone in our school was choking, and they were all dying.’ And I was freaking out because she was screaming, so I ran down the stairs and she showed me and was like, ‘You think you can do it?’ And I was like, ‘Well, I don’t know, we can try it.’ But my mom said no, so I kinda snuck it, just to see if I could, and I could….I’ve played the violin for years, and I’m a pescatarian….When I was in sixth grade, I watched this really horrible video of how burgers are made and processed and everything. It was just disgusting, the way they were treating the animals, I didn’t like it at all. So I went home that day, and I was like, ‘Mom, I’m not eating meat anymore.’”

Leo Nguyen

Leo Nguyen

Leo Nguyen

Can you tell me about what you’re studying?

“I’m studying music and missions….I really want to be a foreign missionary and spend my entire life in the Middle East….I grew up in a privileged household in the sense that my parents selflessly provide for me and my two siblings….They both grew up in Vietnam in pretty severe poverty. My dad’s parents got divorced when he was five, and he was actually 17 and living in Saigon when the communists invaded in 1975 and ended the war….He ended up escaping with two friends. He ran away from home with them, and they ran all the way across Cambodia on foot and landed in a refugee camp in Thailand. He got separated from his friends during the journey, but he was in the camp for two years, and then he took a plane over to America. He was 21 when he first got here, and he immediately started learning how to do income tax. Today he’s an income tax accountant, self-employed….We look at the Middle East, and we see how much brokenness and suffering is over there. No matter how little we might have in this country, we’re not fleeing for our lives. We’re not having our homes be bombed and destroyed by people holding assault rifles….All I want to do is spend my entire life over there letting them know that Jesus loves them. There’s so many people over there who need that….If Jesus is with us, who can be against us? Bringing his love to heal sickness, mend brokenness and penetrate darkness in this world is our responsibility that He gave to us.”

Are there any fun facts you’d like to share about yourself?

“I have a lot. I’m a lefty, I’m narcoleptic, I’m lactose intolerant and cheese is one of my favorite things under heaven. I’m colorblind, and I want to be a painter. I mean, God has to have a reason for giving me this, but for now He better enjoy his laughs.” 

Tristan Mathieu

Tristan Mathieu

Tristan Mathieu

How’s life at Eastern going so far?

“It’s going pretty good. You know, meeting new people, just seeing everybody the same amount of time, and so many times seeing the same people–I’m like, ‘Oh, I saw you yesterday,’ and it’s always easy to start a conversation. Social life is pretty easy.”

Do you know what you want to study?

“Biology. I knew from a young age I wanted to help people out, so I was like, okay, there are many fields for that. But I also like to learn about things, so I was like, well, the main thing I don’t really know about is the human body. So I said, I want to learn about that while helping people….I’ll get to help people every single day. I know that I’ll always have fun, it’s not going to be boring. So that’s about it, that’s how I made my choices. I know it’s gonna be a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it in the end.”

Caroline Schultz

Caroline Schultz

Caroline Schultz

What has your experience at Eastern been like?

“My experience has definitely been not what I was expecting, but I enjoy how the faith base of everything, the classes…really has helped me draw closer in my relationship with God to always focus on Him. And the food’s great….I definitely think I was meant to be here to meet different types of people and explore their perspectives. I think that’s really a interesting thing to do. I think I also was meant to be here to learn about myself and learn how to manage my Christian faith with my schooling, which has been kind of hard, but I think the campus, the atmosphere has really helped a lot, and all the small quiet places you can go to. I think the staff and the tutoring has helped a lot.”

Your picture’s gonna be in the paper.

“That’s awesome. Mama, I made it!”

Nick Hill

Nick Hill

Nick Hill

What brought you to Eastern?

“Coach Mike, the track coach, really liked me in track, so he got me to come here….I’m really good at shotput. I was fifth in the state both junior and senior year in shotput, and I won conference both years. My whole family does track, so I was like, you know what, let me try it out. And I mean, I’m fast, but I’m really out of shape, so I never ran. So I was like, let me throw something. At first I was really bad, but then I became good….The hardest part is keeping my balance. I have really bad balance.”

What do you love most about Eastern?

“The people here. Everybody’s pretty friendly.”

Abby Frey

Abby Frey

Abby Frey

What are your impressions of Eastern so far?

“Coming into Eastern you don’t have to be afraid to say where you stand in your faith, if you’re completely confused or if you’re a 110 percent sure what you believe.  And don’t be afraid if it’s different from what other people think because everyone’s so open here, and they’re so open to hearing everyone’s worldviews….The other day in my class, I was like, ‘Hey, I struggle with the concept of Hell.’ I was really nervous to say that, but so many people were like, ‘You know, I have a book you can read,’ or ‘Hey, I struggled with that too.’ There are other people that are gonna be struggling with the same things you are, so don’t be afraid to speak up about it. Don’t be afraid to say where you stand because everyone’s so open and welcoming. They’re not going to push you away, they’re going to pull you in closer and talk to you, which I think is the best thing for a Christian college.”

Elliot Smith

What do you think of Eastern so far?

“I just love being on the campus, honestly, it’s just a really pretty place to be. Friends come really easy here. I’ve made a lot of friends really quickly….Everything’s been good so far. Classes are cool, the professors are awesome. They actually care about the individual students, not just the class itself.”

How’s lacrosse going?

“It’s awesome. I love the community. I love the guys, they envelope you into the group immediately, like a family.” 

Images courtesy of Matt Wolek/ The Waltonian and Matt Wolek/ The Waltonian

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