By Janea Brown
Two people from completely different places, but both with similar hopes, fears and dreams. A freshman, new to college and new to the dorm experience and a senior preparing for the “real world.” Both find their shelter and comfort in Malibu.
What is it that can unite these two individuals, giving them the same sense of pride and spirit? It’s a place, it’s their home, it’s Pepperdine University. Both freshman Jessica Kloor and senior Thomas McMahon are proud to call themselves Waves.
Kloor’s hometown is El Cajon, Calif., which means “the box.” Although Kloor initially planned to follow in her mother’s footsteps and attend USC, Kloor said that being a Trojan was not in God’s plan for her. Kloor is now satisfied to follow in her mother’s footsteps in other ways. Her mother is a junior high music teacher and Kloor is an applied vocal music major, but is considering changing her major to music education.
Music is not a new development in Kloor’s life. When she was little, her parents tried to get her to play the piano, but she was too little to reach the pedals.
“My piano teacher would put bunnies on the chalkboard when I did a good job and my mom would give me cupcakes,” Kloor said. “I loved it.”
Kloor has grown quite a bit since then, but at 4-feet-11-inches tall, she would still rather be singing than playing the piano. But instead of singing in the shower, Kloor is now singing light opera arias and other classical pieces.
Although Kloor said she doesn’t know exactly why God lead her to Pepperdine, she believes that she is in the right place.
“Coming from a non-Christian high school, it is really good to pray with people at dinner and stuff,” Kloor said.
Kloor has already jumped right into Pepperdine life and has been involved in many activities on campus. She is part of the Pepperdine Concert Choir, which rehearses three times a week. Kloor especially enjoys working with the director, Milton Pullen. “Choir is a wonderful way to get to know people,” Kloor said.
She does not know exactly what she wants to do as a career. “My dream is to be Belle in ‘Beauty and the Beast,’” Kloor said. But to have a more practical plan to fall back on, she is considering a career in the Christian music industry or teaching music in a public school.
Kloor’s greatest experience at Pepperdine so far has been participating as part of the chorus in the musical “42nd Street” last semester. Although she was sick with mononucleosis the entire production, she enjoyed every minute of it. “It was just the most amazing experience,” Kloor said.
After the musical was over, Kloor had some extra time on her hands, and some friends encouraged her to join a sorority. So Kloor participated in the recruitment process and found her home in Delta Gamma. “They are well-rounded, great girls,” Kloor said. Her “big sis” is junior Lindsay Scott, who also has an interest in musical theater.
With extra time after the musical, Kloor also came upon an unexpected job with the intramurals department. She heard about a job taking stats for five-on-five basketball and decided to go for it. “I never thought in a million years I would be doing that,” Kloor said. Although the job is from 8:45 p.m. to 11:15 p.m., Kloor enjoys herself immensely. “It doesn’t even feel like work,” she said.
When she is not balancing school, work and other extracurricular activities, Kloor likes to play thumb war and solitaire on the computer. “But a short study break turns into four hours,” Kloor said.
Kloor is excited about what the future holds here at Pepperdine. “I’ve made my home here,” Kloor said.
Thomas McMahon is a local boy. He grew up in Ventura, Calif., before his family moved to Bend, Ore. McMahon remembers driving by the Pepperdine campus when he was young and seeing all the green grass and the Pepperdine sign. “It was always sort of a mystery to me,” McMahon said.
His tendency to procrastinate made him put off applying for Pepperdine until the last minute. But everything worked out, and McMahon has spent the last four years here at Pepperdine.
McMahon loves Malibu because of all the outdoor activities that are available like hiking and scuba diving. Although he loves the sunny weather, McMahon does like to ski and snowboard. When he was in high school, he was a member of the ski patrol at a local ski resort just down the street from his house.
McMahon just likes sports in general. Growing up, McMahon played AYSO soccer, but stopped when he moved to Oregon. Then in high school, McMahon’s parents told him that he either had to get a job or play a sport. McMahon chose to run cross country since it was one of the only sports that didn’t require try-outs.
McMahon found that he had talent, and he continued to run cross country for Pepperdine and was the team captain for two years. He said that being on the team was a lot of fun because of all the overnight trips and time spent traveling. “You get really close to the people on the team,” McMahon said.
Now that McMahon is ready to graduate, he has continued to stay in shape but has added other activities like biking and swimming to his exercise regiment. “Now sometimes I even run for fun,” McMahon said.
McMahon’s greatest experience here at Pepperdine was traveling overseas with the Heidelberg program. “Being in a German town was magical,” McMahon said. “I felt like I was at Disneyland. We were right near this big castle on a hill. It was enchanting.”
McMahon has one piece of advice for freshman: “Go overseas, it’s as simple as that.”
But because he went overseas, it was easy for McMahon to put off choosing a major. “I didn’t decide on a major until second semester my sophomore year,” McMahon said.
Nevertheless, in about three weeks, McMahon will graduate as a creative writing major with an emphasis in Spanish. “I knew that I wanted to do something creative and wanted some more experience in writing, so it was a good decision,” McMahon said.
When he graduates, McMahon will stay in Malibu for the summer and work for Special Programs. After that, he hopes to eventually write for a television show like “The Late Show” with David Letterman.
When he is not busy writing, McMahon likes to play the guitar. He is part of a band called “The Steven-Knoll Gentry,” which consists of him and his roommate Paul Bost. They played at the Pepperdine Coffee House last week.
McMahon said that his favorite or most bizarre class at Pepperdine was an English class that he took his freshman year. The class had a special emphasis on UFOs and close encounters. “After taking the class I believe in them a little more,” McMahon said. “I don’t think they are E.T. but more of an unexplainable phenomenon like ghosts. It may even be something spiritual like demons,” McMahon said.
McMahon believes that Pepperdine has prepared him for the “real world,” especially this semester since his professors spend time talking about how students can get jobs in particular fields.
“I am more responsible, more in touch with reality, less naïve,” McMahon said. “I don’t feel like an adult, but I am definitely more of an adult than I was when I came here.”
April 04, 2002