Calvin is a place that took me seriously. If I have a passion for something, I can go and do it. There's a freedom to create yourself.
Cotter KoopmanComputer Science
Cotter didn't want his college to be a safe haven from the world. At Calvin, he found a place where he could freely explore all his interests—and be challenged to do something with them.
WHAT WAS YOUR MINDSET COMING INTO COLLEGE?
I have a broad range of curiosities, and I wanted a college where I could really let each of them breathe. At Calvin, I knew I could legitimately try a lot of different things, without being confined to a major, a group, or a label. Now that I’m close to graduating, I feel like a much fuller and more conscious person because I’ve been exposed to a wealth of areas rather than spending four years honing one expertise.
WHAT INTERESTS HAVE YOU PURSUED AT CALVIN?
I like math, and I ended up getting into that with my major, computer science. I like music and writing songs, so I started a band and I’m in the Pop Music Guild. I like art and design, and now I’m an editor for Dialogue, the creative arts journal produced by Calvin students. These interests might not even seem like they go together, but Calvin’s a place where it’s doable to explore all three at the same time.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS UNIQUE ABOUT CALVIN?
Calvin is a Christian college, but what I think is unique here is this idea that we’re not supposed to be protected from the world. Calvin’s not about sealing ourselves in a safe, godly bubble. Calvin is all about looking at the whole world, looking at every person and idea, and searching for truth and value. Calvin’s not afraid of exploration or non-Christian things or ideas, but at the same time is strongly rooted in very intelligent, theological framework.
Also:Listen to Cotter's band
How has the community here helped your music?
Musically, I have grown as a member of the Pop Music Guild. We meet about once a month to play songs that we have been working on, give each other critiques, and help make our music better. The collaborative atmosphere has helped me form some of my closest friendships, and I've found that both what I make and who I am have benefitted from artistic community at Calvin.
What are your plans after Calvin?
I’m still working on that. I am computer science major, but there are a million things that you can do with that. Calvin has great access to internships. I did one junior year that I felt wasn't a good fit, but I learned a lot about myself. Last summer, I did another internship at a 50-person web development shop, and I enjoyed the culture of a smaller business. I have confidence and security in the exposure my diverse internships have given me to real world industry.