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Virgil Thomas ’17

Read how Virgil’s involvement in Greek life and being a member of the swim and dive team shaped his time at the College:

Greek Life taught me leadership in a way that I had never experienced. The natural and organic way that a Greek organization grows, faces challenges, and experiences success has taught me what college is really about: growing as a person and a leader in your own right. We at Lake Forest College are encouraged to challenge ourselves in those leadership roles and in Greek life I can do that alongside some of my closest friends. 

Swimming shaped my time at Lake Forest in a less comfortable way. Swimming, more specifically my coach and my teammates, has challenged me on a daily basis to be my best. They challenge me to be my best on any given day, and in turn I have come to expect that of myself. The team struggles, and triumphs, fails and succeeds, as a group and that really shaped my time at the College. My teammates are the people I can count on in any situation and they have taught me more than they will ever know. I will graduate alongside them, I’ll be alongside them at my wedding, they’ll be a part of my life for the rest of my life.

How did you choose your area of study?

There was a point in my college career when I was really stressed and slightly upset that I had not yet picked a major and didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I have quite a few friends who are alumni. I leaned on the alumni I was close with for advice and support. Oddly enough, although the alumni I reached out to had a diverse range of fields of study and postgraduate work experience, they all gave me the same advice. They told me to study what I was passionate about and to trust that if I worked hard during my time at the College I would get a good job and be happy with it for the long run. 

I am passionate about understanding the world around me so I chose to major in politics. I am passionate about advocacy and, in turn, added a legal studies minor. Finally, I am passionate about art and how it effects people so I added a digital media design minor. I would like to go into public relations and although the studies are not explicitly geared towards that type of work, I’m confident that I’ll be able to add the skills and knowledge from my major to my professional life.

What did you think of the faculty?

I’m a firm believer that the faculty are some of the best in the country. We have professors and administrators who are excited about their work and love what they do. They are all leaders in their fields, whether it’s athletics, law, or marketing. The faculty give me the feeling that they are working as hard as I am to be their best.

What was your favorite class?

My favorite class was Professor Debra Levis’ Constitutional Law course. Professor Levis challenged us every day to think critically and understand all facets of an issue, a life skill that goes way beyond the classroom. Professor Levis breathed new life into a subject that could be traditionally considered a bit dry. Her practical application and real world experience gave me new insight into the subject. Her passion for the subject was transmitted to us as a class every day. As a group, we were eager to learn and explore the subject with the professor’s steadfast and lively guidance.

What did you learn from your internship experiences?

I’ve had three internships, one focused on print media contribution, and the other two focused heavily on marketing and special event coordination. Although the practical skill set I learned from them differed, from all three I gathered that a perfect GPA is not always what employers are looking for. They are more often looking for leaders, critical thinkers, and team players. A skill set that my time at Lake Forest College has fostered in me, and a skill set that I have learned to wholeheartedly embrace.