Where Are They Now? John Milliken


James Milliken

John Milliken graduated from Mother of Divine Grace in 2018. He is a freshman at Northeast Catholic College.

Samuel Milliken , Video Editor

John Milliken, MODG graduate and former video editor for MODG News, is currently a student at Northeast Catholic College, a small liberal arts college in Warner, NH.  John has received NCC’s presidential scholarship and has an internship working on the college’s website. Read MODG News’ interview with John below!

You attend Northeast Catholic College. Has attending a brick and mortar classroom proved difficult? Or did you find the transition easy?

I’d say that the transition went very well.  The main thing that I found somewhat difficult at first was the sheer volume of reading that I had to do; because NCC is a Great Books program, we read mostly primary texts, and the total workload is pretty intense.  In terms of transitioning to a classroom setting, I found the change very easy. Perhaps this is partly due to the fact that most of the classes at NCC are socratic seminars rather than lectures; the class mostly consists of the students discussing the reading.  This more closely resembles a homeschool education than a traditional lecture-style class would.

How has your Catholic formation and MODG education influenced your college experience?

My Catholic formation played a crucial role in my college search.  I really wanted to go to a school that would help me to grow in my faith and that was truly dedicated to what was true and beautiful, so I only considered a small handful of very faithfully Catholic schools.  Going to a Catholic college where a large percentage of the students were homeschooled, some using the MODG program,  I find that there is a real sense of continuity with the education I received in high school. Many of the texts we are reading are texts that I have either already read or have always wanted to read.  The training I got in critical thinking, and in managing my own studying time, has proved very useful in the college environment.

What are the opportunities to practice your faith on campus or off?

There are many opportunities to practice my faith both on and off campus.  Daily Mass is said Monday through Friday, and there is a Mass shuttle on Saturday.  On Sunday, students can attend either the Mass on campus, or go with a shuttle to a local church that offers the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.  There is also student led Lauds in the morning, and the rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet in the afternoon. Each dorm has an adoration chapel containing the Blessed Sacrament, where students chant the office of Compline every night. There are also student organizations and clubs which give witness for Christ off-campus, such as praying outside of abortion clinics and visiting a local nursing home.

How did you become a presidential scholar?

The requirements vary somewhat from year to year, but the year that I applied, I had to write an essay on a papal encyclical by either Pope Saint John Paul II or Benedict XVI, (I did John Paul II’s Eucharistia de Ecclesia), and had to do a phone interview with the academic dean.  

What does being a presidential scholar entail?

As part of being a presidential scholar, I have to maintain a GPA of 3.5 and take the Honors Colloquium courses.  Also, it may sometimes entail other duties.

You recently landed an internship with NCC’s website. How did you come across this opportunity? Has your experience with MODG News helped you with your internship? If so, how?

All students were told about the writing internship; those who were interested had to send in a writing sample.  My experience with MODG news has definitely helped me with the writing internship. I am using the same basic techniques that I used in News Production, and putting up the posts on the website is easy because it is a WordPress site that works just like MODG News.

How do you balance your internship with your schoolwork?

I have to be sure that I really stay on top of my homework.  The writing internship is not a very big time investment, but it does take a little advance planning to make sure that I meet deadlines on time.  Overall, I’d say the secret to balancing schoolwork and my writing internship is being intentional about my time. I have to keep in mind what work is due for the next few days and plan my schedule accordingly.   

What is unique about your college?

There are a number of unique advantages that NCC has to offer.  The first one is that it is a very small school; there are currently about ninety students in the whole school.  This creates a very strong sense of community and inter-class unity. Another positive thing is the central role that beautiful liturgical music plays in the curriculum.  All students have to participate in choir, and music is a mandatory course for the first two years. Students develop a sense of the importance and power of good sacred music.  Finally, NCC has recently developed a partnership with Fr. Michael Gaitley and the Marian Missionaries, allowing students to participate in retreats and other opportunities for spiritual growth with Fr. Gaitley.  

Do you have any advice for students in the middle of juggling a demanding job and a rigorous education?

Currently, I both have a part-time job working at Home Depot and the writing internship for the NCC website.  My main piece of advice for balancing work and school is being intentional about your time. Have a plan and stick with it.  Look at what’s due when and plan accordingly. For example, if I have a dozen written theology questions that are due on Monday, and I’m going to be working at Home Depot all day on Saturday, then I’ll make a point of getting them done on Friday so that I won’t be scrambling to get them done on Sunday night.  When you’re working, really work; I intentionally make a point of studying in the library rather than at the dorm because I know that, in my dorm, there’s a good chance I’ll get into a conversation with somebody and become distracted. When you’re playing, really play; getting all my work done on time means that I have some time to just relax with my friends and not worry about schoolwork.  

What are your plans for after college?  Do they include working for a website or news company?

Currently, I do not have a clear plan for what I’ll be doing after I graduate.  I am seriously considering some sort of job featuring writing or publishing, however.  I also have many interests in other fields, such as apologetics and nutrition/health, and I am thinking about careers in these fields as well.  Something that will probably be very helpful in determining my career is the Career Pathways program at NCC, a program that offers workshops to help students learn about different career skills (interviewing, professional etiquette, etc.), and helps students to get internships and jobs in careers that they are interested in.