Matthäus Huelse '13
"Finding the right college is about finding the right fit for you, not what others may want for you. At Transylvania, you are not just signing up for an academic institution, but for an experience that is one-of-a-kind."
Matthaus Huelse never planned on studying in another country. Living outside Dusseldorf, Germany, the primary goal on his college checklist was finding a university that offered two things: small class sizes and an opportunity to study pre-med.
After an extensive college search, Matthaus realized that small class sizes would be difficult to find in a German institution. When the opportunity arose to chat with a Transylvania student through a mutual friend, Matthaus widened his college search to the United States and took note of what Transylvania had to offer. After weighing his options, he decided to jump continents and make a new home in Lexington, Kentucky.
“I just loved the atmosphere, the people, and the great connection between city life and scenic horse country,” Matthaus says. “But the most surprising thing for me was the tradition and the history. In Germany, I am used to being surrounded by both old and new architecture. But Transylvania surprised me with its blend of old and new, tradition and innovation, and the constant need to question everything and make students more well rounded.”
Matthaus entered Transylvania set on majoring in his two loves: biology and pre-med. But studying at a liberal arts college, he found himself enjoying classes he never thought he would take. He fell in love with an introductory sociology course and added sociology as a second major.
It was this experience that gave Matthaus a greater appreciation of the liberal arts. “I think that employers are looking for people that are able to connect their knowledge of different areas into the workplace,” he says. “We are taught to keep asking questions, to stay informed, and use that to affect our communities and surroundings. If you stay open minded you can make connections to areas, problems, ideas, and concepts that you did not think you could. This is a great chance for personal growth and success.”
Matthaus has become deeply involved in the campus community. He joined a Greek fraternity, was president of the Biology Club and a delegate in the Interfraternity Council, and, most recently, coached an intramural basketball team, the Devastators.
“Being a player for the Devastators and then becoming their coach has been something I would have never thought I would participate in,” Matthaus says. “It takes courage to go out on the hardwood dressed in short shorts and sweat bands. But it has been so much fun to walk out there and play in front of a crowd that enjoys bad basketball.”
Becoming a coach of the Devastators might not seem like a big deal, but for Matthaus, it meant more than just basketball. It meant finally becoming part of a community.
“It made me more outgoing and more willing to participate,” Matthaus says. “I learned to be courageous and to take responsibility for this team. I have fun with it, and I enjoy sharing that with my players and the crowd.”
Looking back on his college search experience, Matthaus knows he chose the right college, even if it was a continent away.