Bluffton University - Mandi Leemaster

Earning and giving respect
Mandi keeps very busy due to the fact that she plays two varsity sports at Bluffton: volleyball and basketball. Some student-athletes struggle with the transition from high school to college because of the increased time commitment and academic load, but Mandi thrives in activity and loves the challenges that each season brings. Playing sports here has been a great experience, she says. I get to meet so many people in the process. Mandi says that athletics is a great way to earn and give respect. Each team learns to respect one another, she says. Everyone isn t going to be best friends, but we all learn to respect each other on and off the court.
 
A heart for others
Originally, Mandi planned to major in psychology but, during an Introduction to Social Work course, she realized social work was what she wanted to do with her life. I ve always wanted to help people and be a resource for people when they have problems, she says. To listen to people, give them your attention and your whole-hearted advice is a way of showing respect. Mandi s desire to help people of all different backgrounds is one reason why she wants to travel outside of the United States for her upcoming cross-cultural experience. When you travel to other places, you have to abide by the golden rule, says Mandi. I try to do that wherever I go so that when people come to Bluffton, they will also treat me the way I want to be treated.
 
Why Bluffton was right for Mandi
Mandi says that athletics were a big reason why she was initially interested in Bluffton. However, her visit to campus is what sealed the deal. When I came to visit Bluffton, I was overwhelmed by the beautiful campus and just this feeling that I had to come here, she says. When I met with the coaches they treated me with the utmost respect. At other places, it seemed that people were just going through the motions. But at Bluffton, I could tell everyone I met with cared about me as a person.
 
Advice for prospective students
To Mandi, college is all about the people. People who come to Bluffton come with core values, says Mandi. It s a community where you treat people as you want to be treated, says Mandi. She encourages prospective students to visit Bluffton and see for themselves.