BlavinScholars.org: What degree(s) will you be receiving this spring and what inspired you to pursue that particular major?
Jonathan: I will be receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. My inspiration for pursuing that degree, at least partly, was a philosophy professor I had at community college. He was a pastor, and his approach to teaching was very interesting and caused me to begin wanting to pursue teaching philosophy myself.
BlavinScholars.org: What awards or honors have you received while at U-M?
Jonathan: Blavin Scholarship, Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholarship, LSA Honors, Philosophy Honors & Senior Thesis.
BlavinScholars.org: What is your favorite U-M memory or experience and why?
Jonathan: Honestly, what I have really enjoyed about my time here at U-M is all the amazing relationships I’ve built. I have made so many lifelong friends and had so many awesome experiences with people–especially in Cru (Christian ministry student org), but also in my classes, at work, church, and here in the Blavin Program!
BlavinScholars.org: What are your short-term goals for after graduation?
Jonathan: After graduation, I would like to go to graduate school and study social work (hopefully here at U-M), and maybe philosophy too. I also would like to go on a mission trip at some point. I hope to eventually find a job that I am passionate about as well–possibly working at a shelter/church doing counseling and serving, and maybe even teaching at a local community college part-time.
BlavinScholars.org: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Jonathan: My predictions about this question are usually wrong, and that is okay with me. I just want it to be somewhere that is true to myself and my values, and where I have thriving relationships and am doing something I take joy in.
BlavinScholars.org: How have you grown as a person since first entering college?
Jonathan: This is such a huge question–one that I could talk for days about! I will just say that I have grown in practically every facet of my life. I have learned a ton, built many relationships, grown in my faith, and gained so many valuable experiences. My perspective and the way I see life has just changed so much.
BlavinScholars.org: What excites you most about your future?
Jonathan: I’m not sure what excites me most. There is so much that could happen in the next twenty years. But I guess just knowing that things will turn out well, and looking forward to making the most of things to come makes happy and excited!
BlavinScholars.org: What advice about higher education and life, in general, would you give to high school students who have experienced foster care?
Jonathan: First, I would say that higher education is not just about gaining credentials for a job. It’s an incredibly unique life experience, one that is difficult to understand the value of until you experience it. Having said that, be smart and look into ways to make it affordable before you just jump in, because there are many options for paying for it, especially for foster youth. And this might be cliche, but I would also say to remember to be yourself and not let society determine the way you act or how you value yourself and others. It is so crucial and simple, and even when we know better so many of us still often struggle with it.
BlavinScholars.org: What advice would you offer to incoming Blavin Scholars?
Jonathan: I would tell incoming Blavin Scholars to get involved as much as they can, both with the Blavin Program and also with other kinds of community on campus. Having a support network and people who care about you can help you get through so much, and college is a place where there is a lot to get through.
BlavinScholars.org: What’s your biggest takeaway from your experience as a Blavin Scholar?
Jonathan: I don’t know if I really could pin down a takeaway–my time with the Blavin Program has been more like a set of invaluable experiences that have greatly influenced me, probably in ways I’m not even aware of. But I guess one thing the program highlights well is the value of support and community. Everyone in the program, both staff and students, creates such a welcoming and friendly environment, something for which I will always be grateful.