Savannah Baker – My OC Journey

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Young adult life is weird. You graduate high school and are expected to know what to do with your life. There are many big decisions to make and many possibilities to consider. How is a kid supposed to do it?

The pressure can be daunting for the young person ready to launch into adulthood. And this is how I felt standing on the precipice of my high school graduation. I did not know what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go. So, instead of rushing into college, I took a few years to figure it out.

I was homeschooled in high school and received a very good education. I loved English and literature and had an abundance of these classes. Schoolwork came naturally to me, and I genuinely enjoyed it. However, I never had a burning passion for a particular career, leaving me feeling directionless.

While many people are itching to get out of high school, I was trying to hold on as long as I could, terrified of the unknown future. Then, like the cliche kid trying to delay adulthood as much as possible, I decided to work at a summer camp after graduation.

Camp Barakel is nestled in the Huron National Forest of Northern Michigan. It’s a tiny speck on the map that became my whole world that summer. My time there was everything I needed it to be—encouraging, growing, community-based, and purposeful. At the end of the summer, I still didn’t know what direction I would take in life, but the future no longer terrified me.

Over the next two years, I worked as a full-time nanny for a wonderful family and married the cute guy I met at Camp Barakel. Life was good, and my heart was so full. It was at this point that college finally felt like the right step.

My husband, Bruce Baker ’18, graduated and started working for The University of Olivet as the cross country and track and field recruiter and assistant coach. With Bruce working at the college and us living right in town, it just made sense.

I began as a full-time student in the fall of 2019, a married first-year student. It was a little weird, to say the least. My classmates would look at me in amazement when they learned I was married. I guess it is a bit untraditional.

That semester, I dove right in. Because I was homeschooled in high school, I didn’t have the opportunity to participate in sports. That was always a regret, so I decided to join the cross country team—it was simply a bonus that Bruce was always around at practice and meets.

I was nervous about “student-ing” again after so long off school, but I found my rhythm in no time. Before I knew it, my first semester was over, and a worldwide pandemic shut everything down. That was quite the curve ball. Despite the challenges COVID threw us, I stayed focused on my schoolwork and kept plugging along.

Originally when I came to Olivet, I wanted to study English and business with the goal of working in publishing. Working with books for the rest of my life sounded amazing. However, just before my final semester, I found myself unexpectedly pivoting.

Graduate school was something I thought about in a far-off, probably not-for-me way. I wasn’t opposed to it; I just didn’t think I would need to go. Almost overnight, my mind changed when I learned about an opportunity to pursue a Master of Arts in biblical studies.

Bruce is currently working toward his Master of Divinity degree, essentially the go-to degree for pastors. The seminary he attends offers an incredible scholarship opportunity for spouses. I applied, was accepted, and began classes this December, shortly after I graduated from Olivet. With these degrees, Bruce and I hope to work together in ministry full-time.

My time at Olivet has been a whirlwind. I have been a student-athlete, peer tutor, marketing intern, club leader, and devoted student. I have learned so much in and out of the classroom and have cherished my time here. I am proud to graduate in three and a half years and officially be a The University of Olivet Alum as of November 30.

Coming to Olivet as a nontraditional student, I wondered if I would find my place. To some degree, I felt a little “behind” since I was older than most students. However, the extra years between high school and college allowed me to develop as an adult. I learned how to budget my time and money. I experienced holding a steady job and learned to be a dependable worker. This helped me appreciate my time at Olivet in a way that would have been impossible otherwise.

Not holding back and diving right into extra-curricular activities and athletics allowed me to make meaningful connections with my peers, professors, and coaches. I wasn’t afraid to get involved even if I was different from my classmates. My story is unique, but isn’t every story unique? We come with different life experiences and future goals, but we can all find a home at The University of Olivet.

Learn more about The University of Olivet by contacting the Office of Admission at 269-749-7635 or admissions@uolivet.edu

This feature was written by Savannah Baker, a senior studying English and business. The former editor of Olivet’s literary journal, Garfield Lake Review, Savannah now pursues her interest in writing and editing as a marketing intern with The University of Olivet. 



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