For those of you who may not have heard, Alyssa and I met during our college years at Wartburg College. But for us, Wartburg is not just our alma mater – it was our home for four years! But what makes Wartburg the Finest in the East or West? Let’s count it down…
#5 – Location
Wartburg is smack dab in the middle of the small, yet large enough, town of Waverly Iowa. With around 10,000 people, it felt small at first for a Twin Cities suburbanite like me (Cody), but it quickly grew on me. Located on the Cedar River, Waverly has some amazing parks, bike trails, and more. But, they still have enough shopping, restaurants, and things to do to keep two college kids like us occupied! For me, it was 3 hours from the Twin Cities (although my parents moved an extra 2.5 hours away when I left for college, more on that later). For Alyssa, it was about 1:20 to her hometown. And more importantly: only 20 minutes to a Target!
#4 – Academics
This may seem like a lame thing to include in a list like this, but hear me out. Wartburg isn’t like a lot of other schools of its size for a number of academic reasons. For me, I was drawn to a combination of courses that would let me explore and choose a major over my first year or two. I didn’t know which of my many-varied interests would become a career path. With a liberal arts college, the path to your individual major will look different for every student, and the electives you choose can be much more unique than at a typical state school. Wartburg’s course layout in 4-4-1 format (four classes each semester, then one May term class) gave me flexibility to try things out.
The quality of their academics in also impressive! For instance, Wartburg consistently has placement rates into med schools and graduate programs of between 90% and 100%!
#3 – Service
For us, this has been a big part of shaping who we are and how we serve today. There are not just opportunities to get involved and serve others, which many schools have. Wartburg fosters a community that is focused on serving others first in a way I haven’t seen anywhere else. It’s ingrained into how the college was built, the courses, the faculty, the mission statement, and so much more. Wartburg focuses on building servant leaders, and I am so grateful for the passion and dedication to that mission that I saw. From service trips to Dance Marathon, training service dogs for veterans or singing Christmas carols at the nursing home. So many memories that are not only happy, but actually fuel who I am becoming as a person.
#2 – Travel
Spoiler alert – the Osegards LOVE to travel. Both Alyssa and I had so many different and unique chances to travel in college, and to not be touristy. That’s the best part about travelling in my opinion. We both toured regionally each year for choirs, and internationally (two times a piece!). Plus, more than half that time we were staying with local families in their home, as opposed to just bouncing from hotel to hotel. I spent a month abroad in Costa Rica, worked at an immigrant service center in Denver, CO for a month, and spent a week serving in Atlanta. All told, Alyssa and I spent time (separately or together) in: Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Hungary, Turkey, Estonia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Costa Rica, plus Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee. Pretty darn good for four years, if I do say so myself!
#1 – People
By far, this was the best part about college for Alyssa and I. Cliché, I know. But stick with me here! I for one am terrible at keeping in touch with people. I fail to reach out to people, and time and distance make the relationship a little bit weaker. But every time we are with friends, acquaintances, professors, faculty or staff, there is just a sense of closeness. Even if I haven’t talked to them for 6 years, we can pick up right where we left off. Plus, I did get a pretty darn amazing wife out of my time there… If that doesn’t say something about the quality of the people and relationships fostered there, I don’t know what does!!