Sophomore Jill Arends Has a Story to Tell

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Sophomore Jill Arends, an exercise science major from Grant, is eager to share her experience at The University of Olivet. She’s planning for a career in occupational therapy and loves being a member of the Comet volleyball team. Get the inside scoop on how Jill is preparing for a successful career, what it was like to travel to South Africa with the volleyball team, why she loves The University of Olivet and much more.
The University of Olivet offered a great academic opportunity along with a volleyball opportunity. Megan Merchant is my volleyball coach and she made it so easy for me to say yes to this college. I also cannot forget about the volleyball team who helped me make my decision. They were all so nice and gave great advice when I came on my campus visit. I chose The University of Olivet because they offered me an academic scholarship, the great social environment, the professors, the coaches and the teammates.
I decided to join the volleyball team because I love the game. The main reason I did join the team was the wonderful teammates and coaches. This opportunity resulted in the formation of some of my greatest friendships, some who have become my best friends and family. Coach Merchant is like a second mom to me; she is always good at giving advice on and off the court, is always supporting me and I know I can go to her for anything. She is more than a coach — she is such a great person inside and out, and I know I can always count on her.
Even as a sophomore at Olivet, I have had so many great experiences. My all-time favorite experience has been a trip to South Africa with the volleyball team. Since we were traveling across the world, we spent a lot of hours on planes and long layovers, but it was all worth it. We had something planned on our itinerary every day, including a safari where we got to see rescued animals up close (lions, giraffes, elephants, rhinos, zebras and so much more). We also visited Table Mountain, went to an authentic African restaurant, visited a local market and spent time at an orphanage. We even got to hang out at the pool to spend quality time with our team. This trip changed my outlook on life and created stronger bonds with my team and coach, and I had so much fun through it all. After coming home, I could not believe how close my teammates and I got over the trip — we were teammates when we started the trip and came back as a family.
I also cannot forget about all the traveling with my team to games and tournaments. Spending all this time together on and off the court helped us create an indescribable bond. I love how close we are, and I am so glad I can call them my family.
You also can’t help but notice how great the professors are at OC. They do everything they can to create a relationship with their students and help them in any way possible. They do a great job of getting back to you with answers to questions and are always willing to help you out.
An exercise science major offers science classes and other sports-related classes. This major will help me prepare for the graduate program I am planning to attend after Olivet. My career goal is to become an occupational therapist. Occupational therapists help people of all ages perform daily life activities through therapy techniques. This type of therapy helps people become more independent and get back to their daily living. I am so passionate about going into this career because I know professionals in this career are one of the most needed in the medical field. I also love to work with people, especially kids, and I want to help people have a better life. In order to prepare for a career like this, I have been focusing on school as much as I can so I can get into a graduate school. I have been keeping my grades up and studying like crazy. I cannot wait to further my education.
I am also involved in Phi Epsilon Kappa (PEK). Phi Epsilon Kappa is an honor society for students in the Health and Human Performance Department, and many exercise science majors are a part of it. I joined PEK because it offers great volunteer opportunities, more involvement at the College and further opportunities after graduation.
My experience as a Comet has made me into a more open person. In high school, I was always friends with the same people (people who I absolutely love) but I never branched out to others. Coming to The University of Olivet has given me the opportunity to meet so many new people, and I love everyone here! I have created some of the best relationships and met friends who will be a part of my life forever.
I would encourage a student to attend Olivet because there is such a great environment here. All the professors are willing to help you out, and there are so many clubs, organizations, sororities, fraternities, teams and much more to get involved in on campus. The people here are awesome and it is so easy to make friends. Classes are a small size so professors will know exactly who you are, and I know I wouldn’t have gotten the same opportunities at a larger college. I also cannot forget about the Starbucks here on campus — it is an amazing perk.
Learn more about The University of Olivet by contacting the Admission Team at 269-749-7635 or admissions@uolivet.edu.


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