Michaela Woodward – Staff Writer
Originally from Woodbury, Minnesota, Junior Jordan Oleson was immediately drawn to the community at Gustavus and now he has found himself to be an integral part of it.
“After having visited many big campuses and some other small ones as well, Gustavus just felt most at home. I felt comfortable the second I stepped out onto the guest parking lot. I thought, ‘This is right.’ Ever since that day that I toured here I have never regretted it. I love the community so much,” Oleson said.
While studying as a Biology and Spanish double major, he works as a Collegiate Fellow, a Tour Guide, a Gustie Guide Coordinator, a Gustavus Ambassador, a Spanish Tutor, the Spanish Department Assistant and is involved in intramural sports, Prepare Christian Ministries and Gustavus Youth Outreach.
For Oleson, it’s the people that make it worthwhile.
“I like meeting people. I’m involved in so many different ways, so I get to work with a wide range of people. I get to see people from all walks of life… current Gusties on campus and also prospective Gusties and Alumni. It’s a crazy amount of people I get in contact with, and building my network is really important. It’s one of the other reasons I came to this place. Gusties hire Gusties in the real world and I want to be a part of that,” Oleson said.
The ability to connect with as many people as possible has driven him to be involved in many positions and also to study the subjects he studies.
“For Biology, I wanted to go into that field because it’s very broad – you can do anything. At first, I [thought] maybe I want to [go into the medical field]. Turns out it wasn’t for me – I want to be able to help people, I’m a very people-oriented person. However, I don’t see myself in a lab or in the medical field. I’m probably going to use that after school to make connections and work for a company to get me started and eventually we’ll go from there. I’m very excited about the prospect of multiple different sources of knowledge impacting the way I live my life and make decisions,” Oleson said.
His background in Spanish has allowed him to travel broadly and make intercultural connections.
“[In kindergarten] I was put into a Spanish immersion program. We were learning completely in Spanish, everything except English class and gym class was in Spanish. It was an incredible experience. I got to experience a lot of different teachers from different zones of Spanish speakers: from Chile to Costa Rica to Spain. That was a really great way to start my global education from a young age. Going into college, because I would consider myself fluent in two languages, I just figured might as well major in it. I’m studying Spanish and I still love it,” Oleson said.
His dedication to Spanish, learning and sharing it with others has been noted by those he’s worked with.
“I have known [Oleson] since his first semester at Gustavus and have had the pleasure to work with him in two of my courses. He works with dedication and has great curiosity to learn about the world. He has worked hard to achieve an advanced level of Spanish; his bilingual skills have helped him study other cultures, travel, and communicate with people to expand his worldview,” Associate Professor in Spanish Ana Adams said.
“[Oleson] is a true leader who serves our Gustavus community with great passion, hosting incoming students, giving campus tours, and tutoring Spanish students, to name a few. I know our students appreciate his guidance and personable professionalism,” Adams said.
Outside of his busy schedule, Oleson enjoys reading, baking, being outdoors, and playing guitar in his free time. The way he keeps himself oriented is by making downtime part of his schedule– which has helped him stay motivated during the uncertainty of the current state of the world.
“Put time on the calendar for yourself – whether it be for reflection or development or growth, whatever you want to call it – put it down and spend the time. Investment in [myself] is really what has motivated me to be able to continue to make connections and help other people grow as well,” Oleson said.
Another piece of advice?
“Make a friend today,” Oleson said.