Student Blog The blog of William Woods University Undergraduate Students


What Makes a Best Friend


My best friends (from left to right): Taylor Oestreich, Mariah Wheaton, Lindsey Cornelius, me, and Sam Harris.

The picture above is of me and some of my best friends here at William Woods University! We all mentored the Freshman Advantage summer program here at William Woods in 2013 and 2014. These people are the best friends a guy could ask for. Together we are a family. We slingshot water balloons, watch scary movies, play pranks on each other, laugh until we cry, and have each other's backs through thick and thin! What makes a best friend? You're about to find out!


Humor is the basis for many friendships. People love to laugh and be around people that make them smile. My friend Taylor Oestreich (far left), has the greatest sense of humor the world over. When Taylor and I are around each other, we tend to laugh all the time, even during the most inopportune moments (meetings, class, etc.). We have fun dancing like goofballs to our favorite song or launching water balloons across campus with a slingshot. It's hard to find a serious moment when we are together. Laughter and fun is what keeps friendships going strong!


Best friends are present because they want to be, not because they have to be. Whether that is cheering you on at a sporting event or helping you out with a tough decision in life, a best friend is there. Mariah (first from left), has always been there to support the people that she loves in whatever they may be doing in life, me included. Mariah has a lot of love to give and cares about her best friends unconditionally. She would do anything she could to support other people, and that is what makes her great! Being there for your friends and family is of the utmost importance.


A best friend is someone who knows who you are and won't judge you based upon your mistakes. Whether it is what you are wearing today or the embarrassing moments that occur in college life. Lindsey (second from left) has witnessed me and my dorky friends make more mistakes and poor decisions than most. A best friend understands that even though people make mistakes, they are still good on the inside. Best friends are able to keep secrets and be honest. When you need sound advice, you can always turn to a best friend like Lindsey.


This is perhaps the most important and least common quality to find in a friend. The ability to listen with complete acceptance without interruption or advice. Sam (far right) listens with an open heart and is fully present. A best friend is always down to listen to what is happening in your life and, when asked, give opinions or advice. A best friend is willing to put down their cell phone and engage in a real conversation with someone they care about.

You can find all of these qualities at William Woods University. I have been fortunate enough to befriend some of the finest people at WWU, and, in my opinion, the best friends in the world.


Finals Time

It has been a crazy few weeks here at The Woods! I cannot believe that finals start tomorrow. I am almost halfway through my time here at William Woods, and it is going by way too fast!

Last week I turned in several semester long papers and projects, and I gave a LEAD presentation on my mentor/mentee project. Everyone is focusing on school work to get all of the assignments turned in and to prepare for final exams.

Last weekend we had Alumni Weekend here at the Woods. A lot of people came back. At Alpha Phi we had so many of our chapter's alumnae return for a weekend of fun! It is always cool to hear about how The Woods has changed over the years, and yet the small friendly atmosphere is something everyone talks about.

Alumni Weekend with all of the Alpha Phi alumnae!

Alumni Weekend with all of the Alpha Phi alumnae!

In my Practical Equine Anatomy and Conditioning class, we got a fun break! We took a day to go around the barns and paint the anatomical structures of the horse. It was a good time to just take a breather from all the hustle and bustle of the end of the semester.

We painted Josey in the Western barn

We painted Josey in the Western barn

I am excited to be heading home in one week, but I also will miss all of the friendly faces here at The Woods! I am planning on shadowing veterinarians, and I am very excited to have the opportunity to volunteer at Colorado State University Veterinary School's Equine Orthopaedic Research Center! For vet school you are supposed to get exposure to as many different facets of veterinary medicine as possible before you apply, and since I think I might even want to do veterinary research, I am ecstatic to have this chance! I could not have done it without some resume help from William Woods Career Services or references from the Biology faculty.

This will be my last opportunity to write this semester. I hope you all have a wonderful summer and finish the school year strong! 🙂


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Gaining an Advantage at the Woods

How did you spend your summer?  Were you stationed by a pool, beach, or swim dock?  Did you travel and go on all new adventures?  Did you slave countless hours for minimum wage or did you earn credit at an internship?  Whatever you did, I’m not sure it could compare to how I spent my summer at William Woods University’s Freshman Advantage!

basic design fa

FA students Alexis Binkley and Lori Nichols holding up their finished t-shirt projects in Basic Design!

When classes let out and the residence halls closed in May, I packed up my belongings and said tough goodbyes to my friends and my home-away-from-home, WWU.  All of my friends and classmates would linger after their finals just to take in as much of the Woods that they could until next fall.  Although I was sad to go back home, I knew Freshman Advantage was in less than a month and I would have the opportunity to return to campus for a month of fun, friends, and soon to be family!

fa zach

During an event, the FA students helped make a banner! Here is Zachary Likens laying down his hand print.

What is Freshman Advantage?  Freshman Advantage, often shortened to FA, is a kick start program for graduated high school seniors that plan on attending William Woods University.  The program gives students real insight into what college is really like!  For starters, students at FA take seven hours of class in three weeks and live in the residence halls.  It’s a great opportunity to meet some of your future classmates as well!

My job at FA was to be a mentor and leader for the freshman students.  I was there to tutor students in their classes, coordinate events and activities for the night, and be a friend and a guide.  There was a fun activity planned for every week night.  These ranged from a wiffleball tournament, to tie-dying t-shirts, to sand volleyball.  The events were especially important because we got to learn more about the students and also bond as a group.  On the weekends, we went off campus for activities like the St. Louis Zoo, the City Museum and Six Flags. I’ve lived in Missouri my whole life, but I had never visited these places before, so it was a lot of fun to experience St. Louis!

One of my favorite memories as a mentor was on the day of Costume Dodgeball, and all of the mentors got decked out in American flag gear.  We had about an hour of down time and decided we didn't want our costumes to go to waste!  What better way to show off your patriotic pride than standing outside and cheering for the USA?  We made signs that said "Honk if you love America" and stood on the sidewalks for passing cars.  It was so fun to see the looks on the drivers' faces when they saw us!  There was so much honking and waving!  I bet the mentees were embarrassed for us, but we really enjoyed singing and dancing and cheering.  By the time we went for dodgeball, I was so worn out from jumping around that I could hardly even play!

I loved the activities we participated in, but my favorite part of Freshman Advantage, by far, was watching the students grow.  As mentors, we got the chance to observe study habits, social interactions and each student’s interests throughout the month.  Some students came in very shy and left as confident leaders!  Some students came to WWU very uninterested but left as the most involved ones of the group!  Students walked away from FA with the study skills, and true advantage of living as an independent college student.   It was so rewarding to see what FA could actually do.  When I see my mentees across campus now, I cannot help but smile because I am so proud of all their accomplishments!

USA mentors

My mentor family! I had such a great time getting to know this staff! We dressed up in patriotic gear for Costume Dodgeball, and had so much fun playing with the students.

Overall, the only thing I regret about Freshman Advantage is NOT going as a freshman!   So for my closing comments, I would like to invite and encourage incoming freshmen to go out of your comfort zone and sign up for FA.  It was so much fun being a mentor, so I cannot imagine how life changing it could be as a freshman.  If you’d like more information about the program, check out it out at

Have a great day, and I hope to see you June 2014!


Summer Fun!

This summer was full of work, fun, family, and friends. When I left school for the break, I drove home and turned around two days later to take a trip to California. My cousin is a very successful small animal veterinarian in Sacramento, so I went to do an internship with her for three weeks.

 It was an absolute blast! I learned a lot about the ins and outs of running a small animal practice, and I even got to help hold animals, administer vaccines, and watch surgeries! My mom was very surprised that I went to California for the first time and spend the entire trip in a vet hospital and didn’t see the beach once! The best part was probably calling home and telling my family all about the things I had seen that day. You see, they are actually quite squeamish and it was fun to hear their reactions to some of the surgeries and procedures I saw.

From California I flew to Oregon to watch my best friend Kelsey graduate from college. I saw the beautiful city of Portland (decided that rain is not for me) and got to celebrate with her family and friends! When the weekend was over I was ready to go home to see my family.

By the time I arrived home, summer was already in full swing! My little sister Ali, who really isn’t all that little given she is now a sophomore in high school, started her first job lifeguarding for the City of Longmont. It was fun to watch her learn the ropes and tell funny stories about what little kids will do at the pool. My older sister Grace, now a senior in college, worked up in the mountains in a town called Estes Park. My dad, who stays at home and runs the house, worked on putting in hardwood floors upstairs and took care of driving my sister to work, cooking dinners, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. Mom worked some, but also took time to spend with us, which is always nice!

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, near where my older sister worked!

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, near where my older sister worked!

I started the summer working at the barn where I grew up, which also has a dog kennel business that took me on as an employee a few summers ago. I loved teaching kids to ride and then going straight to the kennel to play with the dogs! Halfway through the summer an excellent opportunity knocked on my door. A mobile equine veterinary practice I’d been shadowing had an opening for a veterinary assistant and they offered me the job! I had to leave the ranch and the kennel (I’ve known the owners since 7th grade), which was scary, but I simply could not turn down the opportunity.


Water park fun with my sisters!

I spent the rest of the summer learning about equine mobile practices and I was able to assist with a lot of exams and some procedures. It ended up being a summer full of animals for me, which is exactly how I wanted it to be! Of course there was plenty of time for family, friends,fun, and relaxation. I enjoyed going to the water park, the amusement park, the mountains, and just hanging out by the pool. It was a very awesome and busy summer, and I was ready to return to the beautiful William Woods campus for fall semester!

Hiking in the mountains with my best friend

Hiking in the mountains with my best friend Kelsey


Last Sunday marked the end of summer, and the start of fall. There is a nip in the air, classes are in full swing, and my friends keep me grounded with fun trips to Columbia, movie nights, and study breaks. I can’t wait to watch the trees on campus turn shades of red, orange and yellow!

I hope you’re enjoying the beginning of fall!


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