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The journey: Swim captain and psychology major Aaron Buchanan

Posted: Feb 21, 2013


Swimming has given Aaron many opportunities to support and encourage others.


A psychology major at Olivet, Aaron is preparing for a career in counseling.


At the Lewis University swim meet on January 19, 2013, Aaron won both the 200-yard butterfly (1:57.22) and the 200-yard individual medley (1:58.51).

Experiences at Olivet are a journey for every student. Aaron Buchanan '14 is no exception.

Aaron came to Olivet for the fall 2012 semester after completing a semester at Purdue University. When he arrived on campus, he began pursuing a degree in engineering and found himself getting involved in many of the student ministries. He joined the Lifesong ministry, which then led to an opportunity to be a part of All Things New, a ministry team.

Reflecting on the experience, Aaron shares: “I was selected for All Things New at a very important time in my life for faith formation. Being surrounded by such a great group of people changed my life, fostered my beliefs and allowed me to form my own faith. God pushed me out of my comfort zone and put me in a place that I never thought I would be.”

Changes for the good

These experiences continued to shape Aaron and strengthen his spiritual walk, which led to more decisions he had to make. Part of his journey was re-evaluating his field of study. “In strengthening my relationship with the Lord, I figured out what my strengths were and what I loved,” he says. “I learned I really wanted to counsel people.” This semester, he switched his major to psychology.

Another difficult decision Aaron had to make in his journey was whether to be a part of Olivet’s inaugural swim team. With a very impressive background in swimming, and having been on scholarship at Purdue for swimming, it seemed only natural for him to jump on the opportunity.

But he had reservations. He had already left the sport due to his dealing with issues of pride.

New challenge, new direction

In making his decision to join Olivet’s team, Aaron was intentional and prayerful. Ultimately realizing that he may not be the swimmer he once was, he knew that his prior experiences in the sport would allow him to offer guidance and support to the other team members.

Aaron is currently captain of Tiger men’s swimming and is constantly seeking to support, encourage and challenge others. “We swim so much, and the goal is to be good and to be competitive. But it is a delicate balance between being the best we can be in the pool and being the best we can be spiritually,” he explains.

Aaron’s journey is unique, just like each student’s journey. At Olivet, students are free to explore, learn, grow and change. Aaron has done — and is still doing — all of that and more.

The School that would later be known as "Olivet Nazarene University" was founded with 36 students in a one-room schoolhouse near Georgetown, Ill.