Samantha Raghu – Staff Writer
Junior Rachel Erickson, a Financial Economics and Spanish double major, as well as a magnificent baker, is this week’s Gustie of the Week.
Erickson’s journey to Gustavus was predestined as her siblings were former Gusties, along with her previous participation in Gustavus’ summer swimming camps.
“My sister graduated from Gustavus in 2019, so that was a big factor in deciding where I wanted to go. I had also gone to swim camps at Gustavus for four years during high school. I had previously committed to Concordia, but then I decided I did actually want to be at Gustavus. I was shying away from being at the same school as my sister,” Erickson said.
Growing up in the small town of Starbuck, Minnesota, Erickson knew from the start of her college experience that she wanted to enroll in a less-populated institution.
“I didn’t want to go to the same school as her, and I was looking at other smaller ACC schools so I could have a smaller close-knit community. I had previously committed to Concordia, but then I decided I did actually want to be at Gustavus. I was shying away from being at the same school as my sister,” Erickson said.
Throughout Gustavus, Erickson became an active member within the campus community through her involvement with the Gustavus Track team and as an official Language Buddy.
“I am on the track and field team at Gustavus, and I was not on track in high school so throwing javelin for the GAC field team was a great experience to make friends and learn a new sport at school. I’m also involved in the Spanish department and language buddies. I really enjoyed helping Spanish speakers learn English both at the Community Center and middle school at St. Peter,” Erickson said.
Given her previous exposure to the campus before becoming an official Gustie, Erickson was able to discard the nervous sentiments that accompany most incoming first-years. Additionally, she had little difficulty making connections with students and faculty members. “I wasn’t really nervous coming to Gustavus because of the swim camps, and it’s like everyone is so welcoming. The professors are very nice, I had a great roommate from a random match, and that was awesome to get along with her right away, and knowing that I had a huge support system with my sister and her friends, the faculty and other students at Gustavus made it so much easier to adapt from life in high school to life at college,” Erickson said.
Erickson knew she wanted to study Spanish in college. “For Spanish I just knew I wanted to do that from high school. I always enjoyed learning the language and I knew I wanted to keep speaking and improving my reading, writing and language skills overall,” Erickson said.
Erickson also recounted the moments in which she knew that Financial Economics was the correct path for her. “For Econ I’ve probably gone with intermediate macroeconomics I took with Shuling Wang and she was always super helpful and she just really wants the students to succeed in her class. That just made me feel very welcomed in the Econ department. So I knew I wanted to keep trying to take classes from her and make more connections within the department,” Erickson said.
As the campus atmosphere is more heavily isolated than in the past, Erickson elaborates on the pros and cons of her time adapting to the circumstances of COVID-19.
“It looks so much different this year compared to the past. You would have to find something to feel busy because before there was always something that you could be doing in person or you could be spending time with friends. And now that’s just not the case anymore, so my roommates and I have found ways to hang out together. One way is we have watched quite a few TV shows together and made the most of it. I have honestly enjoyed having the extra time of not having so many events. I like having a lot to do, but recently I’ve had more time to really delve into my schoolwork,” Erickson said.
Erickson added a few more activities that she remembers fondly.
“I really enjoy walking in the arb with friends. Every time we do that, it’s always a study break and especially when it comes to spring, it’s so fun to go out there and not be freezing cold when you walk outside anymore. And during my first year, my roommate and a few of our other friends and I walked to Diamond Dust and got breakfast from coed so that was really fun,” Erickson said.
As a parting note, Erickson offered some words of wisdom to current and incoming first-years embarking on the Gustie journey.