Wartburg helped me rediscover my passion

NAME: Della Whittaker  
HOMETOWN: Oshkosh, Wisconsin 
MAJOR: Journalism & Communication

ON-CAMPUS INVOLVEMENT:  Ambassadors, St. Elizabeth’s Chorale, Public Relations Student Society of America, Tower Agency

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WARTBURG: Wartburg checked all the boxes for what I was looking for in a school. It had small class sizes that allowed me to get the help and attention in classes that needed it. It had all of the resources that would allow me to succeed not only in the classroom, but also when I graduated. Wartburg also has amazing food! But most importantly, it was a welcoming environment that made me feel like I belonged and that I was a part of something that was truly special.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR MAJORS: When I first started at Wartburg, I was a music therapy major. I was also involved in music as a kid and loved helping people so I thought that it would be a good fit. After my first year I started to talk more to counselors, family, and professors about what my goals were. I realized that my goals didn’t revolve around being a music major. I went back to the basics and remembered what truly gave me joy when I was in high school. The things that I loved most of all pointed me in the direction of journalism and communication. I decided to do a concentration in public relations because I love meeting new people and helping them with their goals while I accomplish mine alongside them. Switching my major has allowed me to not only do something that I was good at but something that I am  passionate about and will allow me to explore and create new, exciting opportunities that will prepare me for my future.

Della Whittaker

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE AMBASSADORS PROGRAM: When I first visited Wartburg, there were so many people who came up to me and made me feel welcome. It wasn’t about sharing facts about the school with me but more so welcoming me into a new family. I loved that feeling and wanted to make sure that future students would feel the same way that I did. I wanted to be the person who assisted in that process.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE MOMENT FROM THE WARTBURG AMBASSADORS PROGRAM: Being able to see students come to Wartburg as first-year students when I gave them a tour while they were still in high school. It is very rewarding to know that I had a small part in making someone want to go to Wartburg.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT CAMPUS LIFE: No matter where I go on campus or what time of day I’m out, there is always someone I can say hi to. Even if I don’t know the person, they are there to lend a smile or a friendly wave. The campus is so friendly that even if I am having the worst day of my life, I still find myself smiling at people in the hallways and saying hi to people that I know (which is a majority of the student body!).

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE WARTBURG EXPERIENCE: Participating in Christmas with Wartburg. I have never been a part of something so big, magical, and special. I love performing with my peers who have become family. There have been countless times where I was approached by an audience member after a show who told me the show impacted them in a way that they couldn’t describe. Even though it can be a very stressful time putting everything together, it all becomes worth it when you hear the audience erupt in thunderous applause as you run back down the hallway and get ready for another show. 

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU NEVER IMAGINED YOU WOULD DO BEFORE COMING TO WARTBURG: I never thought I would be applying the skills that I am learning to a real-world experience almost immediately after I learned them. I love that I have the ability to get in field experience as soon as I start a class. Few other college campuses provides this sort of opportunity to its students. 

WHAT’S THE MOST VALUABLE LESSON YOU’VE LEARNED AT WARTBURG SO FAR: It’s okay to not know what you are doing or even what you want to do. There is plenty of time to figure it all out, and there is no need to worry about it. People around you want to see you succeed and will be there to help you out along the way. All you have to do is ask.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS: Take the time to get to know people. Whether that be your professors, student workers, security, maintenance, you name it, get to know them outside of what they are known for. Developing a friendship with these people will not only allow you to meet new people but maybe even some new friends.

WHY HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE BEEN WORTH IT: Wartburg has allowed me to rediscover what I truly love to do and, in the process, allow me to make friends and be a part of a community that turned into my second home. I am extremely grateful for all that I have experienced so far and can’t wait to see all that there is to come.