Derek A. Small Headshot

yourHarlaxton

A new energy and focus.

“I feel like my Harlaxton experience greatly enhanced my perspective in so many areas of life, love, and even my faith.”

Derek A. Small

Attended Spring 1998

When did you attend Harlaxton?

Spring session of 1998

Did you have any unique experiences during your time at Harlaxton?

It was such a blessing on so many levels for me to be able to attend Harlaxton. I had many unique experiences, and ones I’ll treasure for a lifetime. Not to be taken for granted: the school is in a castle – officially a “manor house”, but to me it was a beautiful castle and the grounds were vast and beautiful – altogether very inspiring. I appreciated the fact that travel is such an important part of the experience, and they usually only have classes four or sometimes three days in a week, so as to allow more travel – it’s the culture there. The professors embrace and encourage this too as part of curriculum, and they are traveling too, which makes this even more impactful. There was probably only one or two weekends I did not travel – ventured to several places in Great Britain and nearby Ireland; France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Netherlands, and more. I traveled with new friends, and sometimes by myself, but my favorite part of my travel time was when my girlfriend (now my amazing wife) visited me and we traveled around England and into France with extended stay in our now favorite city to travel: Paris.

Does Harlaxton still feel like a second home?

I loved my time at Harlaxton, and have been back once – with an amazingly unlikely happenstance. I believe it was around 2005 – I was on a business trip to London, and I took a couple extra days to be able to visit Harlaxton. I took the train up to Grantham, and as I stepped off the train on the flat of the Grantham Station, I ran into one of my very good friends from high school that I hadn’t seen since high school (and actually I don’t believe I’ve seen her since). She had gone to Harlaxton the semester after me, and was visiting with her boyfriend and we all shared a taxi to the manor. To this day, it’s one of the most unlikely chance run-ins of friends that I have ever had. I look forward to going back and taking my family sometime in the near future.

Derek Small in front of Harlaxton with arms outstretched and a flyer of the class of spring1998.

Did your experience at Harlaxton have an impact on your future?

It was indeed life-changing for me. I was a junior when I went to Harlaxton, and had been pretty lost with college life and what to do professionally after college – mostly just playing collegiate sports and coasting through classes without much focus. After spending time at Harlaxton, traveling to so many new, yet historic, places, learning about so many new cultures first hand, meeting so many interesting/interested new people: students, professors, staff, coaches, locals, and others – it brought a focus that I did not expect, or frankly, even know I was looking for. I came back to the States with a new energy and focus. This new energy transitioned into a continuation of the best years of my college life academically and prepared me for my professional life beyond my expectations. I feel like my Harlaxton experience greatly enhanced my perspective in so many areas of life, love, and even my faith; it helped to provide a confidence to take on the unknown a bit more aggressively. To this day I find myself reflecting on my time at Harlaxton, and able to draw from and build on those foundational experiences in life now as a believer, father and husband, and professionally as an entrepreneur and new drug developer in the biotechnology field.

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