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Emma Barnes | Faces of Midland


Finding Community

For many students, the college experience extends beyond the classroom. The quickest way to acclimate to college life is to immediately get involved within their sport or art program. Emma Barnes has taken a different path as academics have paved the way to getting connected on campus. 

When Emma was looking for colleges, a stipulation for her was being a short radius from her hometown of Papillon, Nebraska, so she could still be close to her family. Midland became her top choice after her initial visit. 

“I wanted to go somewhere close to home just because I have younger siblings and wanted to be able to be involved in their lives back home. I visited UNL, UNO, Wesleyan, Midland, and some other places, and Midland felt like home to me. I tend to be more of a quiet person, and I liked how at Midland, you weren’t just a number, you were a person, and I felt that on my tour. Talking with my advisor and the professors, I felt like they truly wanted me to succeed and wanted to get to know me personally. That’s what brought me to Midland.”

Emma is a biology major with aspirations to get into the research and analytical side of the healthcare field. Emma has been fortunate to have developed strong relationships with her professors and credits them for narrowing her career aspirations.

“I think without my professors, I would be lost on what to do. It’s so good to have professors who know who I am as a person, and I trust their opinion. It’s cool to have professors who know you personally and are able to help you to make decisions professionally. I think it’s really cool that when it comes to letters of recommendation, they know you as a person before they know you as a student. It’s helpful because they know when things are happening in your life, or if you are having a hard time in a class that you can go and talk to them. They know so much more about you than professors would at a lot of different schools.”

Emma has found ways to get plugged into campus. She is a member of Cru campus ministries and has been an active member of her sorority. Emma encourages students who may not be involved in athletics or the arts to get involved in communities on campus. 

“It’s important to get involved. College can be hard, and I don’t think a lot of people realize that, and I didn’t realize it until I started. Your schedule changes each semester, and you’re trying to balance work, school, and activities. I think getting  involved and finding people around you that you want to do the hard things with is as important as anything you’ll do as a college student.”

Emma stresses how vital community is to the campus experience. Whether it is with your family, your classroom, your sport or art program, or your student organizations, it is important not to go about college alone.

“I would say life is way too hard to do it alone. If you don’t have people around you supporting you and picking you up when you’re down, life becomes so much more challenging. We’re not meant to do it alone, and I think finding those things or finding the people around you who you want to do life with is a really cool necessity. I think of it in a Biblical sense, where Jesus doesn’t want us to do life alone. That’s why I think it’s important to get involved, make friends with others, and be in a relationship with each other, to help you grow and learn and have that support around you.”

Emma Barnes is a junior biology major from Papillion, NE. To share your story or nominate a friend, email or post using #FacesofMidland.

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