The Rewards of Trying Something New

The Rewards of Trying Something New

One student’s willingness to step out of their comfort zone leads to life-changing experiences.

By Morgan Faith ’24

Ryan Reinhardt ’25 has not let an opportunity pass them by, seizing each new Wilson experience as a chance to thrive, grow, and explore the world around them.

Discovering Home

Ryan, a sociology and fine arts double major, knew for certain that Wilson was going to be their home the moment they stepped onto campus. “I felt pretty comfortable here, right away. I felt like Wilson was finally an environment that embraced me.”

Ryan soon connected with Professor of Sociology Julie Raulli, Ph.D. and she quickly became a mentor. At her encouragement, Ryan decided to take a couple of fine arts classes. After taking two of those classes, drawing and ceramics, Ryan knew art was going to be a heavy influence on their life. “Those courses introduced me to art and changed the way I interacted with the world around me. I (now) see the value of art, as a way to spread a message and use your voice.”

Finding Connection

During their time at Wilson, Ryan has become involved with many clubs and events, often juggling multiple leadership roles.

Ryan served as the social media marketing manager for the Muhibbah Club, monitoring the club’s social media posts and presence for the campus and community. “Muhibbah Club was my first step into the social realm of Wilson and has helped me build many relationships.” Ryan adds “I love the mix of perspectives that the club brings to the table—interacting with people in this environment has been a great way to connect with others.”

Ryan has also participated in Wilson Billboard, the Allies Club, and is currently a resident advisor.

Ryan is grateful for the experiences they have had at Wilson. “Before college, I had never been active in my community, especially not in any leadership position. The trust I have been given has allowed me to trust myself more. I feel that I have a better understanding of which direction I should push towards in my life.”

Three Trips of a Lifetime

Ryan has taken every chance possible to explore who they are as a person and the world around them.

During their first year, Ryan joined a trip with other students to Rome, Italy. “I was very hesitant to apply, but again, Professor Raulli had my back and supported me. She was the one who got me to apply.”

Ryan admits, “I was incredibly nervous because it was my first time traveling out of the country, but in the end, I am very glad I went. When I realized how much I loved studying abroad, I couldn’t stop wanting to do it (more).”

Each time a study abroad trip was offered, Ryan would apply for it. “(After) the first trip, it became progressively easier for me to apply.” Ryan adds “Without the financial aid provided by Wilson for each trip, I don’t think I would have gone. The resources here are incredible.”

During their sophomore year, Ryan joined a trip to La Romana, Dominican Republic. This service-learning  experience included a week delivering much needed basic health assessments and medications to under-resourced communities. It was an eye-opening experience for Ryan. They shared, “The Dominican Republic trip was more anxiety-inducing just because of the work we were going to be doing.”

Ryan did not allow his anxiety to be a roadblock and soon enrolled in a language and culture course during the summer of 2023. With this opportunity, led by Assistant Professor of Education Daniela DiGregorio, Ph.D. and Associate Professor of Education Lynn Newman, Ph.D, they traveled to the Czech Republic and Austria.

Ryan reflects on their time abroad, “I have definitely enjoyed each trip. The three trips have been the most impactful things in my life. They helped me to interact with people in a more human way and treat people more compassionately.”

Now a junior, Ryan plans to continue having new experiences. However, for the time being, they will be staying local to concentrate on an internship. But that won’t squelch their passion to discover. Their goal of trying new clubs, new leadership roles, and traveling more is far from over. Ryan shares, “I have explored a lot on campus, and I want to continue to push my boundaries more.”

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