Haley Bonner

Kissing the Blarney: Bonner Continues Education in Ireland

CLASS OF 2015

Haley Bonner

Haley Bonner, a 2015 graduate, received her Bachelor of Arts in English with the honor of Magna Cum Laude. While at Wayland, Haley also pursued minors in theatre and music. From honor societies to theatre productions, her experiences at Wayland inspired her to continue to seek higher education. In the fall of 2016, Haley will pursue a Master of Arts in English Modernities at the University of Cork, Ireland. However, the eight-month long wait between graduation and graduate school has offered Haley notable opportunities thanks to Wayland’s continued support and guidance.

“I thought I was doomed to be the proverbial English major; you know the scene: rain coming down, girl standing on a sidewalk with frown and a sign that says, ‘Please hire me.’ But Wayland prepares capable, marketable graduates and, in a showing of true Wayland family spirit, Dr. McClenagan was able to recommend me for a position, which I happily accepted, as a Web Content Specialist rewriting web pages.”

Having had the chance to work in a viable career field, Haley knows she is prepared for whatever may come in the next chapter of her life, even if the chapter carries her across the globe.

“After this job finishes and I go to Ireland, I have no idea what comes next! I’m just excited to study the subject I love in a place that I love, knowing that I have been fully prepared for this new season during my time with the Languages & Literature faculty. Eventually, I guess I’d like to land at a university as a professor or at a publishing house—right now, sitting as a hopeful optimistic, I’m fully convinced that both of those possibilities are possible realities.”

This hopeful optimism and pursuit of possibilities has defined Haley’s semesters at Wayland, and she has made memories that will forever remain dear to her heart. Many of these memories include her time in the English honor society and the theatre department.

“For one, my time with Sigma. Sigma Tau Delta really is just wonderful, all the time. It’s this huge family of people just like you, who love reading and analytical thinking and deconstructionism—all of it! It’s a great time…. For theatre, once again, it felt like family. I changed so much because of the work we did, I wouldn’t be me without it. There aren’t words, you just can’t adequately describe the bonds you form during shows and the classes you all take together.”

Indeed, Haley recalls that this family bond enhanced her studies in and outside of the classroom in ways that a larger class wouldn’t allow.

“That’s what I appreciated about my English courses, too. Once you get into the upper-level courses, you’re in there with all majors or minors, and so everyone takes their literature pretty seriously. You get to have these great round-table discussion type classes and it really is fabulous. My best research ideas came from those provoking classes, the ones that really get under your skin.”

“It’s easy to fall into thinking of Wayland as just another small, Christian college and to think that that’s all your education is worth, but really, Wayland students are just as qualified, if not more qualified than other university graduates. I mean, I got into Cork which was named the top university of 2016 and I’m nothing special. I was just taught and mentored by exceptional faculty who do the utmost to prepare students for what they want in life.”

Looking toward the future with enthusiasm, Haley knows she will carry the lessons and skills she gained as a Wayland student into the next phase of her life--a testament to Wayland’s lasting impact on students.

“I guess if I had to choose one thing I think Wayland does best, I’d say it really shows you your tribe. You find “your people” and hopefully, you get to stay with them during your entire time here. Wayland puts people together and helps them stay together, from Koinonia to Commencement.”