That Girl: Rebecca Hamfeldt
January 18, 2008
One of Rebecca Hamfeldt’s favorite quotes is Buscaglia’s “Life is a paradise for those who love many things with a passion.” Rebecca has spent her years at the College finding and promoting those things about which she is passionate — InterVarsity, DoG Street Journal and Students for Life. It is not surprising that her overflowing enthusiasm and commitment to education, service, faith and her family has led Rebecca into her own Garden of Eden — a paradise that will soon involve fulfilling her dream of teaching disadvantaged youths.
p. **Tell me about your dream job.**
p. I’m extremely excited because somehow, through some amazing blessings, my dream job is my plan for after college. For the last seven years, I’ve wanted to be a high school English teacher, and for the last three years, I’ve wanted to work to give inner-city students more opportunities. I tell people, if they want to understand me better, to watch “Freedom Writers;” that’s my dream right there.
p. So, I just found out that I’m going to be teaching high school English in Charlotte, N.C. with Teach for America and will be living with one of my very best friends, Janelle Richardson, who was accepted into the corps with me. Every part of it really is a dream come true.
p. After my two years with the corps, I want to go on to be a guidance counselor or potentially a school administrator. I definitely want my career to be centered around making a difference in the lives of students who need someone to believe in them, because that’s what my teachers and guidance counselors have done for me, year after year.
p. **What made you want to focus your interests on inner-city students?**
p. [I traveled] to inner-city Wilmington, Del. for my sophomore and junior year spring breaks. I went with InterVarsity to work with the UrbanPromise ministry there. Those two weeks have been probably the most significant and life-changing experiences I’ve had. My faith grew tremendously in Wilmington, and I met some amazing kids who made a huge impact on me. I knew, even sophomore year, that working with inner-city kids, or kids from a low socioeconomic background, was something that had to be a part of my life. It’s a huge part of why I applied for Teach for America.
p. **What have been some of your favorite classes at the College?**
p. I’m a big English major dork, so my favorites have all been in that department. I took study of language my sophomore year, and that class completely changed my ideas about how people communicate. Languages are so fascinating. If I could do college over, I would be a linguistics major.
p. My other absolute favorites were all of my writing classes with Professor [Emily] Pease. If you get a chance to take a class with her, do it. She is amazing, and I’ve learned so much about writing and about myself from her classes.
p. **How was growing up in New Jersey?**
p. I’ve lived in the same house in Morristown, N.J. my entire life. No one wants to believe me, but Jersey actually is nice. I promise. Morristown is centered around a town green; it’s very New England, actually … And I don’t live anywhere near the turnpike.
Do you have any siblings?
p. I’m the oldest of four. I have three younger brothers — the oldest is a sophomore in college and the youngest is a freshman in high school. I always refer to them all as Timmy, Mikey and Petey. Tim is the comedian, Mike is the engineer and Pete is my buddy. My dad is all about his family. My mom is one of my very best friends; I’m becoming just like her [laughs].
p. **What is your favorite place on campus or in the ’Burg?**
p. I have a tradition with a good friend that, as often as possible, we take walks down DoG Street at night, just to talk about life and catch up. We always walk all the way down to the Capitol Building and head back. It’s something I’m really going to miss next year.
p. **What are you going to miss about the College?**
p. I think feeling such a part of a community here, feeling so at home and so supported, is invaluable. Just knowing that I have done things here that I would have never considered before is amazing and a testament to how this place challenges people, in a great way. I mean, I led an inner-city missions trip last year, I’m going to Paris this year — things that I would have never thought I’d do. I’m also really going to miss Aromas. I have a life goal to open my own Aromas some day, maybe on the first floor of my house, when I retire.
p. **And if you were to offer advice to the underclassmen, what would you share?**
p. Take advantage of everything you can here. I don’t think I can stress that enough to my friends who still have more time at W&M. When I accepted my admission here, I had no idea that William and Mary would bring me so, so much. I’ve definitely become that sappy senior, and I think a lot about how this place has changed me. It is simply amazing. Don’t lose out on any of those opportunities.
p. Look around, pay attention to the gorgeous campus you’re on and never forget that this is an incredible and unique place that both nurtures you and transforms you into someone you never imagined you could be. Dive in to the incredible culture here; you won’t regret it.