By: Dezaray Barr
Kateland Vernon graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2016 with a degree in English and Writing. Vernon was led to attend IWU because of something she received in the mail. “The mailer I received talked about ‘writing your story’ at Indiana Wesleyan, and that definitely appealed to me, as a writer,” she shared. “Of course, it wasn’t until Professor Esh gave me a copy of his beloved Huckleberry Finn during my college visit that I knew IWU was the place for me.”
As an introvert, Vernon remembers spending a lot of time in her room. She shared, “I didn’t hang out around campus, at least not for extended periods of time, but eventually, I found other introverted friends who would hang out in my room with me. I remember random things like stacking Oreos on a friend’s head for a scavenger hunt, the way the lawn in front of Evans smelled like pudding for three solid weeks after pudding tug-of-war, and staying up all night to write a play for the 24-hour play festival. That was actually my first official all-nighter, and it wasn’t even for homework! During my senior year, I remember my roommate and I hosting a lot of late-night writing parties in our townhouse. With all the talking and laughing, I’m surprised we ever wrote anything, but the 100 pages we each turned in for our novel class is proof we did.”
She remembers IWU as a place of discovery. “I knew I didn’t know everything about the world, and that my view my even be skewed,” Vernon said. “I talked and listened a lot in college, trying to learn as much as I could while I lived in such close proximity with friends. I miss that community now, but I’m finding it shows up in different places: at church, at work, at family gatherings.”
Vernon is now a preschool teacher at Mt. Olive Preschool in Marion where she teaches four and five-year-olds. “It’s not at all what I saw myself doing,” she said, “but the Lord works in mysterious (and sometimes amusing) ways. And I have learned SO MUCH at this job already!”
In the last year, Kateland has gotten married, moved, started a new job, started a blog, started taking drum lessons and started a business with her sister, who lives in New Mexico. “I love hand-lettering, which is what I do for our business, and I’ve been steadily working on improving my skills,” she said. “I like to play board games, card games and video games, but I’ll do anything to avoid sports (except croquet, a family tradition). I plan to wear mismatched socks until I’m eighty and it’s no longer cute, just weird. I read children’s and young adult books almost exclusively, especially in the fantasy genre. Job is my favorite book of the Bible because it contains some of the most beautiful poetry; check out chapter 38 to see what I mean.”
Vernon would encourage IWU students to appreciate college life while it’s there. She said, “Spend time with friends. Talk. Listen. Grow. Use all of this information and the time you have there to figure out who your best self is. College is a great time to look inwards—take advantage of that and let God shape you. But don’t forget to get involved in growing the Kingdom, too. Use the skills you’re discovering and use them to love others, however God asks you to.”
Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a senior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.