Morgan Bedford, a junior on
Pepperdine's cross country and track teams, is very active here on campus. She
explains the activities she is involved in and how those have impacted her:
Q: Where did you study abroad last year?
A: I studied abroad in Lausanne, Switzerland, for the full academic year.
Q: How has the transition back to Pepperdine from abroad been?
A: Initially the transition was very easy. It felt very normal to be back. I was driving along PCH the very first day I arrived back in Malibu and it felt like I had never left. As the days go by, it gets a little bit easier, but there are things that pop up, like thinking about what I was doing a year ago today. Those little things make it harder, but because there was a really strong house community in Lausanne, it has been an easy transition. I run into people I studied abroad with every day, so that has really helped.
Q: What was your favorite memory from abroad?
A: A lot of my favorite memories happened with the people in the house. They were moments that were unplanned and unexpected. There was one afternoon when a friend and I had just finished lunch and we decided to go to Evian, which is a little French town across the lake. There was another moment when my friend and I were walking down to the lake and we had to pass by the train station. We thought about how crazy it was that we could just hop on a train and go to Italy and we decided right then to go to Italy. Those moments of being truly present were the best.
Q: The last time you were interviewed for this blog, you talked about your experience with Model UN. Are you still participating in that, and if so, what are you doing with it?
A: This year I am the vice president for Model UN. There are a lot of different odd jobs that I get to do. The first is supporting the president and the director of education with running and preparing for the meetings. I help with the position papers the team will have to write before conference and help prep for the resolution papers that we will write during the conference. Recently I have started Model UN Mondays with Morgan, which is a time when any of the members of the team can come by to get help or ask questions.
Q: You were recently invited to attend the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations' Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference in Washington, D.C. Tell me a little about what that event was and your experience there.
A: The conference was for fellows of the Council, students, military members and for other government officials. One of my mom's colleagues invited me to attend because he knew it was something I was interested in. During the conference I learned a lot and it helped solidify future interests in working in the Middle East. It was interesting to hear all the former ambassadors, Saudi princes, diplomats and others come and speak on their experience and what students can do if the Middle East is of interest to them. It was challenging to understand all the different viewpoints because they are all very deeply rooted in tribal relations, and as things happen, the situation changes. It was also a great way to meet people and network.
Q: You also have done an internship with Senator Tim Kaine. Is working in politics something that you are interested in doing once you have graduated?
A: Very much so. From working and learning about politics I have become more interested in policy and writing the policies that are being implemented. If I could do anything, I would probably want to reestablish diplomatic ties with countries that we currently don't have ties with, such as Iran or North Korea. I think that would be really interesting because the relationships that we have with countries are really important despite our disagreements. I would love to be a part of the negotiation process and formally write the treaties to establish the diplomatic relations.
Q: What are your goals for this year's track and cross country seasons?
A: I think coming back from abroad, my goals are to be a resource to the younger members on the team. I think I have a unique position. I have never run cross country before, and a lot of them have, so they are teaching me about the sport. And, I can be a resource for them for academics, spiritual life or studying abroad. The other goal has been to continue to challenge myself and see what it is like to run cross country. So far it has been very challenging, so I have a greater respect for my teammates.
Q: How are you managing all that you do and run cross country and track?
A: I cannot do it on my own. I think that when I have tried to do all of these things on my own it is just a complete mess. Having a good support system and a strong faith and being able to be open about my struggles with balancing everything has been very helpful. Being vulnerable to the fact that I am human and I cannot do everything without my support system have helped me continue going. My team and my coaches are a huge part of my support system. My coaches have done everything they possibly can to support me on and off the track, which is really cool to see in a Division I school.