by Bailey Jarnagin

CLEVELAND, Ga (TMNews) – Born in the city of Fuzhou, in the northwestern Fujian province of China, a three-year-old little girl was adopted by American parents, John and Elizabeth Dykeman. Fifteen years later, Liping Dykeman recounts the events of her life and is thankful for God’s ultimate provision and plan in leading her to Truett-McConnell.

A sophomore, Dykeman has already declared her major as nursing and claims, “It’s something that I have always thought about doing because of my mother and older sister, who are both nurses.”

An early start

Dykeman resides in the small town of Sautee Nacoochee, Ga., just a few miles up the road from Truett-McConnell. Living with her family, to whom she is so grateful for, Dykeman shared how she is thankful to have been surrounded by Christian influences her entire life. “I was raised in a Christian home,” she shared. “I was always surrounded by the love of Christ. One day I had a conversation with my brother, and I decided to be baptized and follow Christ.”

Dykeman, like some high school students, wanted to get ahead on her college experience and looked into TMC’s dual enrolment program. “I have been taking classes here since I was a junior in high school,” Dykeman said. “I heard about the dual enrolment program, where I could take college courses and receive credit for them, and it sounded like something I wanted to do.”

Getting involved

s a non-traditional student, Dykeman has a unique perspective on life in the local community and is never at a loss for things to do with her free time – when she has free time, that is. “There are a lot of different hiking trails, and lakes to go fishing,” she said. “I like going up Mount Yonah. When you get to the very top, you can pretty much see all of Cleveland; it’s a great view.”

Outdoor activities are not the extent of what Dykeman enjoys. “Sometimes I’ll stay for Bible study at the cross, or maybe a home game that might be going on.”

Dykeman is able to maintain sociability even when there is schoolwork demanding her time. “I spend much of my time with other commuters in the student center,” she said. “We’ll bring our own lunches and just hang out. We’ll talk about our classes and how things are going for us, or maybe what upcoming assignments are due.”

A lasting investment

When I graduate, I think I will miss the teachers the most,” Dykeman said. “They are always just so willing to work with you, and they want you to succeed in everything that you do.”

When asked if there was a professor in particular who’s made a lasting impact on her life, Dykeman responded: “Mrs. Stewart. I had her for English 101 and 102, and I’m taking English 202 with her currently.” Dykeman appreciates the personal approach that Stewart takes with her students. “She has always worked with me and never let me quit. She has become more of a friend than a teacher, and I’ll never forget her.”

There is another professor Dykeman will never forget: her father, a teacher in the mathematics department. “Having my dad on campus is nice,” she said. “Since I was home schooled, it kind of makes me feel secure. I know if I ever have a question I can go to him.”

“My dad also likes to talk to everyone,” Dykeman continued. “There are some people who know of me or have heard stories of me from my dad. People come up to me and just start talking to me when I don’t know them. That’s when it becomes a little weird, but I like it,” she joked.

A word of advice

Dykeman has a word of advice for upcoming freshmen, or anyone considering TMC. “I would tell them to connect with their teachers. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help. You’re there to learn; it’s okay,” she encouraged. “Also, connect with other students. They can give you different ideas and perspectives you may never have thought of.”


Bailey is a junior English major and a freelance writer for TMC.


Return to News Archive