“I headed off to PULSE with the intention of learning skills that would help me in my intended career path. However, through my experience here I have been reminded a number of times that service is not for me or what I think I want to contribute to the community, but rather what the needs of the community are.” – Bethany Arneson
Bethany Arneson is a graduate of Azusa Pacific University in Southern California with a Bachelor of Arts in Theater Arts. While attending APU, she had a chance to be involved with multiple devised pieces and contemporary commentary shows including a devised documentary & movement based piece that she and a team of peers took to the International Edinburgh Festival Fringe (the largest arts festival in the world) in Edinburgh, Scotland, a trip she also helped plan. She also had the chance to work as an administrative assistant in the department’s production office, as well produce other projects including a new play reading in LA, and the department-wide 24 Hour Play Festival (2 years in a row). Through her classes & community service opportunities, she has discovered a passion for social justice & community-based theater work. In her free time, she loves spending time with friends, seeing plays, thrift shopping, researching, critically analyzing pop culture, and offering unsolicited life advice. She is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving with Urban Innovation 21: KIVA Pittsburgh.
Ryan Johnson-Evers: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?
Bethany Arneson: I headed off to PULSE with the intention of learning skills that would help me in my intended career path. However, through my experience here I have been reminded a number of times that service is not for me or what I think I want to contribute to the community, but rather what the needs of the community are. While I haven’t necessarily received a lot of the skills in the way I expected, I have also realized that is probably not what I needed or what God intended. In hindsight, I realize that the patience and other skills that I have unintentionally learned are the skills that I needed and will be important for me in the future.
Ryan: How has PULSE inspired you to live/think/act differently?
Bethany: This year I am living with different types of people who I have never lived with before. I have unintentionally hurt them through well-intended statements. I am realizing that your intention does not necessarily equal the impact of your words, which has been frustrating because I knew I never meant to hurt someone but it did, because there were things I didn’t know about or ask about based on their particular background or culture.
Ryan: What have you enjoyed most about living in community?
Bethany: I love that our houses are so close together, so that we have the opportunity to go over to other PULSE houses whenever we want. It is great because even though we are starting into the adult world, PULSE is like a segway where there is a built in community where other people are experiencing the same things as you before we go out into the “real world.”
Ryan: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?
Bethany: I was surprised by how difficult driving and directions are here. I had never heard of a “Pittsburgh left.” I had no idea that Pittsburgh had a reputation for steel or bridges, I guess nobody had ever told me about what Pittsburgh is famous for. By far the weirdest thing is french fries on top of salad.
Ryan: What is the most interesting/fun adventure you’ve had in Pittsburgh so far?
Bethany: Me and two other PULSErs took the bus on a Sunday morning to a free day at the aviary and encountered a very humongous line with many children! Luckily once they opened the aviary the line went quickly. We saw a lot of different birds but I was disappointed that I didn’t see baby flamingos. Then we wandered around the North Side and got coffee and I ended up staying in the North Side flats and seeing a show spur of the moment with Maura.
Story by PULSE Participant Ryan Johnson-Evers.
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