Lydia Steenhoek ’16
Shelbyville, Michigan

The write stuff

With minors in religion and Middle Eastern studies in addition to her major in writing and rhetoric, Lydia offers tutoring services for students in a variety of writing and religion courses. A pole-vaulter for Northwestern’s track and field team, she also plays the viola in the Chamber Orchestra and String Quartet and acted as a student leader for Portage, a northern Minnesota Boundary Waters wilderness experience for incoming students.

Plot twist
I first visited Northwestern with every intention of not attending school here. But as we know, God works in mysterious ways. I was offered some very unique opportunities, like studying in the Middle East and participating in both music and sports. I was impressed by the thoughtfulness and intentionality of living and learning demonstrated by the students and professors I met with, and I felt genuinely welcomed by the student community throughout my visits. I knew this was a place where I would be able to grow and learn and explore every area of life for the ultimate purpose of serving Christ, and where the very ethos of the college encouraged this pursuit.

Learning together
I love engaging with and meeting people under the umbrella of shared study. I take away a lot from tutoring sessions too; it’s a unique opportunity where both parties can work together to learn more not just about class assignments, but also about living and learning as very different individuals. As a tutor, I end up viewing the material—and life—in a new way. It serves as a great reminder of the diversity of experiences, perspectives and learning styles people bring to any academic community.

Good students get help
I find that students are often reluctant to visit the Peer Learning Center because of the stigma of being a “bad” student. However, the learning center helps to create a structured time for study, which should be part of a student’s day anyway. Working with a tutor is often more efficient than independent study, and the end goal is always improvement. A desire to improve your study habits and comprehension of course materials is never the mark of a “bad” student—it’s what makes you a good student.

Group work
No matter how “smart” you are, nobody knows it all. Although I enjoy working independently, the quality of my work improves each time someone with a fresh set of eyes looks it over and helps me find mistakes or suggests new ideas. I’ve learned that education in any field takes a group effort to reach its full potential and is usually a lot more fun as a collaborative activity! 

A whole education
I have been privileged to receive a wonderful academic education at Northwestern, but I’ve also been educated in many other areas. I’ve learned to live my life more prayerfully, to ask the hard questions, and to grow relationally with Christ. I’ve also gained wonderful friends and built solid relationships with people who challenge, encourage and inspire me. And I’ve had a lot of fun. More importantly, I’ve learned the value of taking time to enjoy God’s good gifts.