This archived article was written by: Terlynn Westphal
Kevin Vanderspek, born in Rumst, Belgium, is attending his first year at Utah State University Eastern. Vanderspek came to Utah when he was 2. He attended Copper Hills High School in West Jordan where he was part of the debate team. “Debate is probably the most educational thing a person can do. It requires your investment into understanding different perspectives, to see the other side of things, and to think critically. It allowed me to be better at research and how to cite things. I gained things like that from debate.” Vanderspek is successful on the debate team at Eastern.
He hopes to apply his interest in research and discussion to a career as a history professor someday. He plans to complete a bachelor’s degree at Eastern, and make his way up from there.
Vanderspek has learned that it is important to think before you act. He recognizes that it is something he struggles with. He said, “It is important. You should always think of what the outcome of your action will be before you do something, otherwise the repercussions can be quite dire.”
Vanderspek believes that society could change for the better if perceptions about mental illness could be modified. “It is more of a pseudoscience in that it is different per case. Our understanding of how to treat mental illness needs to change.” He explains treatment as medical as well as human to human interaction.
“Even genius people throughout history like Albert Einstein, [who had depression] were able to do amazing things with their depression. Imagine what they could achieve if they were able to cope with their illness better.”
As a student, Vanderspek is adamant about completing his education. “Once you have your education, it helps you to see things clearly.” An overall passion he holds is in his desire to analyze and understand things. He connects the knowledge gained from education to happiness. “There is a big difference between being happy with no knowledge and being happy with knowledge. It’s fulfilling when you have knowledge and to find happiness within that knowledge.”