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Krister Copeland ’21 Performs a Balancing Act

Music major Krister Copeland ’21 embraces his multiple roles—as a resident assistant, choir member, and scholarship recipient—within the Bethel community while he learns to appreciate different aspects of himself.

By Katie Johnson '19, content specialist

December 05, 2019 | 3 p.m.

Copeland headshot

Meet Krister Copeland '21—a resident assistant, scholarship recipient, and choir member.

Krister Copeland ’21 is a singer. If one were to dig through his family’s collection of home videos, Copeland makes his first appearance as a toddler, marching around the living room and singing into a vacuum hose. Even as a child, he was on-key. 

Fast forward 15 years, and Copeland has upgraded the vacuum hose to a microphone as he works toward a music major at Bethel. He has recently added a psychology major as well and hopes to pursue something either in the realm of music therapy or student development due to his experience as a resident assistant (RA). Copeland, a fifth generation Bethel student and son of missionaries, loves mentoring and connecting with fellow students in his dorm, in the music lounge, or across campus as he runs into friends from various circles. 

Copeland wears multiple hats within the Bethel community, and he cherishes each one.

Lissner Staff 2019-20

Krister Copeland's residence life team for Lissner Hall.

Krister Copeland is a Resident Assistant.

One of the best ways Copeland has found to connect with others is by being an RA. He likes the opportunity to meet others where they’re living and support them through the conflict that naturally accompanies being a human in the world. “I love working with my peers and getting to cultivate deeper relationships with people that I wouldn’t have otherwise,” Copeland says. “I love to walk alongside them through roommate conflicts or trying to figure out what it looks like to be in this world.” Since this is his second year as an RA in Lissner Hall, Copeland is trying to show up for his residents in different ways while continuing to learn more about human nature and relationship dynamics within his floor. “I really love that I have or can have an impact on people,” Copeland says, and this attitude influences multiple areas of his life.

Krister singing at fall jazz concert

Krister Copeland '21 is a singer.

Krister Copeland is a scholarship recipient.

Copeland is the first recipient of the Music Alumni Scholarship, which pays for a student’s private music lessons throughout the academic year. Every music major must take private lessons, and Copeland in turn takes voice lessons to improve his God-given talents. Since the cost is similar to the cost of textbooks, financial aid doesn’t cover it, so Copeland graciously appreciates the support. Scholarships and financial aid for being a missionary kid have helped him take out fewer loans to pay for college. “That aspect of college is one of the most stressful things for people. It’s really great to be able to not have to think about that.” He is thankful that even though he has a job, he’s able to balance his time between working and being a student in this community. The Music Alumni Scholarship has eased financial pressures and helped him settle into what it means to be a music major.

Bethel Choir Tour Summer 2018

The 2017-18 Bethel Choir traveled to Sweden, Estonia, and Latvia for their annual summer tour.

Krister Copeland is a choir member.

Copeland has been part of a choir ever since he was in sixth grade, and he was especially excited to join a collegiate choir to further refine his skills. So far, he has learned everything from breathing techniques during a performance and reading musical lines and phrases to interpreting the composer’s meaning behind a piece—and he’s only a junior. He has enjoyed mentoring underclassmen as they take challenging classes like Music Theory or Music History and Literature. The chance to welcome newcomers into Bethel Choir is also a gift for Copeland. “This is my third year in Bethel Choir, so being able to welcome in freshman and the transfers and being able to cultivate this family that we have is really great. I love every aspect of it,” Copeland says.

Krister Copeland is learning to accept himself as is.

One of the things Copeland has been working through at Bethel is accepting himself for who God created him to be. “Most of my life I spent too much energy focused on who other people were and how they perceived me, and I think coming into college allowed me to understand that who I am is who I am supposed to be,” Copeland says. He encourages incoming students to accept themselves for who they are, for that has become invaluable to Copeland.

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