Laughing, freshman Paiton Cooper said she has loved Africa since sixth grade and used to do every school project on the continent. Before she graduates, she wants to go on a GO Trip to Africa. Although she doesn’t know why she loves Africa so much, or if she will move there after she graduates, she said she knows God is calling her to serve there in some way.Planning to be an anesthesiologist on the mission field, Cooper originally declared a biology major, but this semester, she realized she is more passionate about music than medicine and plans to declare a double major in social work and church worship leadership with a minor in photojournalism. After graduating, she wants to help people and lead church worship.
Cooper plays percussion in Union’s symphonic band. Percussion instruments, piano and violin are her favorite instruments. She often convinces her mother to buy her an instrument, which she teaches herself to play until she craves a new challenge and moves on to another instrument.
Because she listens to so many different kinds of music, her favorite changes from day to day. On Tuesday, she listened to Christmas music.
“I love Christmas more than life,” she said.
She loves the lights, the food, the feel of Christmas and that “everyone is so happy,” she said.
Cooper, from St. Mary, Missouri, heard about Union when her older sister began attending five years ago. The Christian atmosphere was the main reason she chose Union and she enjoys integrating God into academics.
Her favorite class this semester is Old Testament Survey with Dr. Ray Van Neste. She likes delving deeper into stories she heard as a kid and finding things she hadn’t noticed before.
Missing friends back home and learning to study has made transitioning from high school to college a little difficult, but she has adjusted well, even though college is a lot harder than she expected.
“Everyone said college is so fun. No one said studying is a thing,” she said.
In high school, she could finish her homework at school before she got home, but in college, she has to do homework outside of class.
Cooper learned how to do laundry this semester, a skill she had never mastered before. Her first time at it, she said she texted her mother pictures of the washing machine and dryer and asked her several questions about all the settings, double-checking everything.