Often times students transfer colleges because of an academic pursuit, for a program not offered at their current university, or for financial or family reasons. For junior Sean McCullough his reasoning is an oddity among others: his love of Ohio, especially the Miami Valley area.
McCullough transferred to Wittenberg, his first choice, his sophomore year after attending Covenant College in his home state of Georgia. Although the drive stretches over 500 miles from Lawrenceville to Springfield, he doesn’t mind.
Originally McCullough did not want to travel too far from home, but a family friend–Wittenberg alumnus–and the smaller size of Covenant in comparison helped him ultimately decide to make the switch.
“I went from somewhere that was so confined, half the size of Wittenberg,” said McCullough. “There was not too much space to get involved, if you weren’t already in a group. Wittenberg was overwhelming at first.”
But McCullough’s love of writing and music helped him quickly make a name on campus. While attending his first college, he prepared himself to work in the campus writing center. He took advantage of his abilities after arriving in Springfield by applying to the Wittenberg Writing Center, where he now works as a writing adviser. It is there that he also met his role model, Mike Mattison, who serves as the center’s director and teaches English courses on campus.
“He’s been the most supportive of anyone here, he is one of those people that looks at someone and sees their potential, not a grade point average,” said McCullough. “He sees them for who they really are: well-rounded, and what their passions are.”
Like Mattison, he is interested in composition and rhetoric, just one of the programs he is considering for graduate study. McCullough’s experience in the Writing Center feeds into his double-major of English and music, either of which may be the track he ultimately decides to take on his pursuit to one day teaching at a university.
When he’s not in class or working, McCullough is more than likely at Krieg Hall in his favorite practice room with his guitar. Inspired by rock groups like the Dave Matthews Band and the Beatles, McCullough spends his free time composing his own music.
“The stuff I wrote at first is really bad, we’ll put it that way,” said McCullough. Never having formal lessons didn’t deter him from working with chords based off of church music and growing from there. He began playing in public after he was invited by a friend to play at church services, then made appearances in coffee shops which has continued after his arrival in Springfield at Un Mundo, where he hopes to perform again soon.
“I am happiest when I’m in Krieg; I think, maybe I should do this for a living: write and record. Hearing all the layers of sound coming together is my favorite experience,” McCullough said.
Because teaching is of such interest to him, McCullough says he would consider continuing studying music theory as an alternative to English for the future, but says he also wouldn’t mind working with a recording company.
Involvement in extra-curricular groups is considered an integral part of the Wittenberg student community by many, and music has partly defined McCullough’s identity on campus. Where some students may be wary from transferring, McCullough immediately got involved. Not only is he involved in music groups such as WittMen Crew, Imani Gospel Choir and Wittenberg Choir, he leads worship for contemporary worship service and regular chapel services.
“Wittenberg nurtures people’s natural talents. I thought, ‘I’m going to put myself out there,’ and lo and behold I was one of the few willing to play for chapel,” said McCullough.
In his free time, McCullough spends time with his friends watching movies on campus, going out to eat or chatting at Un Mundo. Self-described as a future-oriented individual, he is unsure whether or not he will continue residing in the Miami Valley area after graduation, but for the time being McCullough is satisfied with where he is. His advice to other transfer students?
“Just be you,” said McCullough. I have found the students of Wittenberg to be very accepting, which allowed me to not have to worry about trying to fit in. There was a bit of a transition process, but I very quickly found myself feeling more and more at home here.”