Leah Miller — Leaving her Comfort Zone

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Junior Leah Miller is a double major in writing and history with a minor in music. She is a part of two music ensembles, the Global Citizen Honors Program, Alpha Lambda Epsilon and the 2019-20 President’s Leadership Institute class. Despite her busy schedule, Leah has even found time to study abroad.
Most importantly, Leah says she’s used these experiences to leave her comfort zone and grow into a confident, authentic version of herself. Hear more about Leah’s growth and development firsthand.
Student Life
I am a part of the Marching Comets and Wind Ensemble. I knew I didn’t want to stop learning music in college and I haven’t been disappointed. Pledging to Alpha E has been one of the most influential parts of my college experience. I’ve opened up so much and have a bigger social life than I never imagined was possible for myself. I’ve made friends outside of the house as well, but I’m not sure if I’d be as open as I am now if I had not have pledged.
Travel Learning
I went to Italy during the 2019 Intensive Learning Term. I want to travel for a living and have been desperate to go to Europe for as long as I can remember. Being there was like a dream that I relive every time I look at pictures. I flourish as a person when I’m traveling, and I was completely in my element wandering the different cities learning everything I could. It’s hard to describe the awe and reverence I feel when experiencing other cultures, but traveling to Italy was one of the best decisions I’ve made at Olivet. On top of that, I get to go to Rome again with the Marching Comets this December!

Leah during her travel learning course in Italy.

Career Preparation
Right now, I want to go into the field of historical journalism. My ideal career is to write creative-based culture studies in countries around the world. My background is in creative writing, and throughout college, I’ve tried to fall back on that as an angle people aren’t used to seeing. Since adding history as a second major, I’ve been exploring my options in that field, such as working in a museum. My next goal is to complete an internship, and I’ve been looking at opportunities at the Smithsonian and others in Washington, D.C.
I’m in the fun stage of my life where I can dream about all the things I could do without many limitations, and from there set my goals to make them happen. I’ve always been a self-driven person and have been known to dig my heals in when I’ve set a goal that’s important to me. I try not to let fear hold me back. I don’t always succeed in that, but I make a point to try.
Relationships with Professors
Many people at OC have been influential to me, but Kirk Hendershott-Kraetzer, Ph.D., professor of humanities, has impacted me the most. He has been my adviser at Olivet and has been somebody I’ve gone to for a variety of reasons. He’s believed in me since the beginning and never tried to tell me I couldn’t do something. Professor Hendershott-Kraetzer helped guide me through my four-year plan, and once he even talked to me for an hour-and-a-half when I was having a particularly challenging semester. When I told him I wanted to double major and keep my minor, he sat down with me, told me how hard it was going to be and asked if I was sure that’s what I wanted to do. When I said yes, he said, “OK, then let’s go!” Since then he’s always been more helpful than I could have hoped. He knows that I appreciate forward-moving instructions over empty praise, but he also knows that a little bit of encouragement goes a long way. He tells me how it is and then helps me do it. I would not be where I am today without him.
Leah with a few of her Greek brothers and sisters.

College Advice and Reflection
Make sure you know, or at least come to know, why you want to go to college. I came here with the mindset of wanting to learn as much as I could. Others come for sports or for student life. I believe it’s important to experience as much as you can, but understanding what is most important to you will help decide your priorities when you face difficult decisions. If you don’t know yet, then just have fun getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things because great things don’t come from comfort zones.
I have felt at home since the first day I set foot on campus, and I continue to feel that way every day. I love the communication that I’m able to have with my professors. I can just poke my head into their offices and say hello, ask a quick question or have a casual conversation. We even eat lunch as a seminar at my teacher’s house once a semester.
I speak up more than I ever thought I would. I walk around campus and I constantly bump into people I know. I was a shy, uncomfortable kid in high school, and though I have my moments, I’ve just come alive since my time here.
Learn more about The University of Olivet by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or admissions@uolivet.edu.


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