W-E-S-T-E-R-N, Gooo Blogging!

Hello fellow readers! My name is Rachel Mies and I am a fifth year senior. This December, I will be graduating with a major in English literature and minors in broadcasting and professional writing. In addition to my internship in Alumni Programs this semester, I am also working as a tutor at the Writing Center on campus.

I am very excited to be writing blogs for all Western Illinois University alumni. As the semester goes on, I will be able to relay the on-campus happenings with great Leatherneck pride. Representing WIU through this blog is a duty that I fully embrace, and I am eager to begin. When new stories pop up on campus, I will be happy to share them with you.

When I am not doing anything academic, I still involve myself with studying. I enjoy researching just about anything and I also enjoy a good conversation with anyone willing to talk. My conversational interests can be spur of the moment or can be the topic of interest for the week. I thoroughly enjoy history…whether it’s the history of music, politics, notable figures, wars, and to the linguistic of languages…I’m hooked.

I am immensely curious about society in general which is why I love being an English literature major. I am required to read a huge amount of books giving me a perspective that I love to divulge. Whether it is Non-Western literature, British literature, African American literature, nonfiction, poetry, genre, graphic novels, or short stories, I’m game. Seeing life through another person’s eyes is very intriguing. Giving my observations a voice furthers my skills which I love advancing. Learning- it’s what I do.

Back home, my father grows corn, wheat, and beans. In the past few years he and I have been bailing hay and selling it to a few people around my hometown. It’s a lot of work, but the experience is worth it. I absolutely love the farm life; I think it’s vital to my own personal wellness. I love being in touch with the outdoors and the vein of whatever town or city I’m living in at the moment. I have the urge to know its history and get to know the town.

Particularly here in Macomb, I was fortunate enough to take a class that focused on the history of Macomb; more specifically, the Lab School which is now Simpkins Hall. My peers and I interviewed various people from former Lab School students to retired WIU professors. We were able to collectively learn about who was behind the name of the buildings we frequent such as Beu, Wetzel and Sallee. Few people know about the underground tunnel running from Simpkins to Sherman Hall, and then from Sherman Hall running dead east past Sherman Drive. Its purpose initially was to provide faculty a break room and later an escape for the children to use as a bomb shelter during World War II. Additionally, Sherman Hall used to be an academic building with students coming in and out all the time with its own theatre on the top floor. I loved this project so much that I would love to hear more stories of WIU’s history if you have them! Just email me at RE-Mies@wiu.edu.

I have also travelled a great deal in my 22.999 years of life (my birthday is next Thursday!) I’ve visited states from North Dakota to Texas and Hawaii to Florida, all sorts of national monuments and parks, and famous cities in between. Last January I had the experience of a lifetime when I studied abroad in India with a faculty-led group of twelve students. I certainly was scared at the beginning, but it was life changing. I learned to really be strong on my own and be comfortable outside of my element. I gained a huge appreciation for everything I have in my life because of the life I saw in India; it is a complete 360. Let’s just say, it was an incredible experience.

With all that I have learned, I am very excited about writing blogs for WIU alumni and friends. I would greatly appreciate any comments you’d be willing to give or any topics you’d like me to investigate. Thank you for reading and let’s get this school year started!

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