My Bradley experience
"…Now these experiences have become part of that child who went forth every day, and who now goes, and will always go forth every day." - Walt Whitman
I recall my first Bradley days as brief flashes: a sweltering heat on move-in day, the intimidating Bradley Hall looming over campus, and eating at Avanti’s with my orientation group. It’s an eerie realization that four years have passed since I first sat in Neumiller Lecture Hall. The face of the campus has changed, and will change drastically again, but I don’t think the spirit with which Lydia Moss Bradley founded her institution will be altered in the slightest.
Before I came to college, I decided my primary focus would be academics. My eldest brother Joseph Camp ’03 ran cross-country for Bradley, and—according to my mother—majored in having a social life. It was important to identify myself beyond being Joey’s little sister, and I thought excelling scholastically was going to be my way.
I spent my first day at Bradley as a psychology major, then immediately transferred into the journalism department, from which I received my degree on May 19. As a first-semester freshman, I was hesitant to commit to anything but schoolwork, which paid dividends according to my parents, but also taught me a valuable lesson: it’s never wise to be on the Dean’s List the first semester of college. Wait until the end of your career to earn good grades, or your parents will come to expect them.
With encouragement from my hall director Ben Shepard ’06, I applied to become a member of the Residential Life staff, and joined the University Hall staff in January 2004. Being a staffer for nearly four years has afforded me opportunities to be a sister, mentor, and friend, and also helped me build a supportive network of caring people. My best friends at Bradley are staffers and past residents, and it has been the biggest blessing for me to have them by my side through both difficult and happy times.
Being a member of Residential Life staff gave me more than wonderful friendships. During my sophomore year, my assistant hall director and good friend Sarah Tarlini ‘04 encouraged me to apply for the student writer vacancy at Bradley Hilltopics. Learning from the entire staff allowed me to explore professional aspects of the journalism field I hope to enter one day. I also became an OSF Children’s Hospital volunteer at the urging of a fellow staffer, and this commitment is one I enjoy so much, despite being extremely squeamish towards all things medical.
As a result of my Bradley experience, I feel I’ve lived these four years to their fullest. Being a part of this campus showed me I could reinvent myself from a shy, younger sister to a confident and happy senior. While performing well in our classes is a high priority at Bradley, I feel that encouraging my development into a service-minded individual is the best gift my alma mater gave me.