Danny Jaderholm is a junior from Chicago with a History and Social Studies Education Grades 5-12 double-major. He is also a forward for the Bethel Men’s Soccer Team. Last year, Danny’s hair was featured in the Royal Report, but, tragically, he has since made the decision to cut it off.
When and how did you make the decision to attend Bethel?
Bethel actually wasn’t even on my list of schools that I was considering, but I knew they had a great education program. They sent me a relatively simple application, so I applied and visited during February of my senior year of high school. Meeting with the soccer team was definitely a deciding factor. The people on the team really embraced and made me feel welcome, and the team just felt right. I also sat in on Professor Kooistra’s American Civilization class and had the opportunity to answer some questions due to my previous knowledge from AP U.S. History. Meeting other students and professors, as well as participating in a college class made me realize that Bethel just felt right.
You are a History and Social Studies Grades 5-12 double-major and a member of the Bethel Men’s Soccer Team. Were your double-major and athletic participation a part of your plan when you began college? If not, how did you end up with that combination of activities?
Playing soccer was always a part of the plan, and Division III seemed both attainable and appealing. It allows for the camaraderie and friendship that comes along with athletic participation, as well as time to focus on school and other aspects of life. Being a teacher had been a goal of mine since seventh grade, so that’s where the Social Studies Grades 5-12 major came in. It seemed like a great fit, as it combines my love of history with my love of education. The history major was not originally planned for, but Social Studies Grades 5-12 and History majors are a recommended combination. I actually just added the History major last year, but I am looking forward to it (and trying to remain optimistic about the additional workload and papers).
What has been the best thing about being a student athlete, and what has been the most challenging aspect?
The guys on the team are definitely the best thing about being a student athlete. The members of the soccer team were my first friends when I arrived on campus. The age group didn’t matter either; juniors and seniors accepted freshman and took care of them, hanging out with them on weekends and providing recommendations about classes and professors during registration time. On top of that, the spiritual maturity on the team continues to amaze me. Taking my knowledge of my own faith and relaying that to the younger teammates has been a wonderful opportunity. This mentorship is beneficial for both the freshman and the upperclassmen.
I would have to say that the time commitment and workload is the most difficult aspect. Right now, I’m finding myself quite stressed from tests and deadlines for papers approaching, midterms around the corner, and our busy schedule of both midweek and weekend games. It can be hard to find time to focus on studies. Conversely, during soccer season, I find myself more structured, organized, and aware of my time, mostly out of necessity. It can be tough, but I learn from these challenges.
Does Bethel make it easy or difficult to establish a balance between being both a full-time student and an athlete?
I think that Bethel has been moving towards improving the balance between academics and athletics. When I was a freshman, I would hear stories from the seniors about professors failing students on quizzes that they missed for games, but my professors seem more aware of the inevitability of these special circumstances and more willing to cooperate with student-athletes. There are also resources in place that we (and any Bethel students) can access for assistance, such as the Academic Enrichment and Support Center. Additionally, soccer players are always able to go to the upperclassmen on the team for advice and support. Taking advantage of the people in your life, like teammates, coaches, and professors, is always a fantastic idea.
Do you find that your athletic participation complements or helps you with either of your majors?
There is definitely a strong connection between my participation on the soccer team and my education major. Talking in front of my peers, particularly during our weekly devotionals, has helped me become more comfortable and skilled at communicating my thoughts and ideas with others. Additionally, the mentorship aspect of the team continues to foster my interest in education and commitment to improving myself and others.
What are your post-graduation plans?
My goal is currently to teach high school social studies, preferably either American or global history. For now, I’d like to stay in the Twin Cities, since I’ve made connections here, but in the future, I would love to return to Chicago. I also hope to remain involved in soccer, either coaching through the high school I end up working at or with a club team.
Eventually, I would like to pursue a graduate degree, most likely a Master of Arts in History. However, pursuing a graduate degree as a teacher is a bit of a marketability conundrum. It may be easier for me to get a job starting with just a Bachelor’s degree, since those with graduate degrees come with a higher price tag.
What advice might you give to other student-athletes, double-majors, or other students?
Use the people around you, because they’re super friendly and willing to help. That’s my favorite thing about Minnesotans- even when they look intimidating, their hearts are really warm, which is great. Also, do your best to get involved through sports or clubs. Along with soccer, I’m in FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes.) One of the best aspects of going to a liberal arts school is that they don’t just focus on academic achievement, they focus on the overall betterment of students in all areas of their lives. Take full advantage of that while you can.