Spotlight: Sophia Pettis wants to change the world

Running Start student Sophia Pettis said she is taking a path less traveled in choosing her life direction. Instead of focusing on herself and what she wants, Pettis said she has been focusing on the path God wants her to take, “In doing this, I’m really looking around and seeing how I can help the world, how I can make life better for others.”

“I’m not relying on feelings, which are finicky,” she said.

Even with God’s help, choosing a “life direction” is hard, said Pettis, who has been envisioning many different futures for herself.

“Sometimes I imagine myself as a social service worker, or an opera singer. Other days I want to go into prison ministry,” she said.

“My main goal is to be a charismatic leader. I want to make a difference by helping people – on a big scale. But how? That’s still up in the air.”

Pettis said the way to do this is by following her passion: helping people.

“I’ve always been told I bring a light into the room. I want to use that light to motivate others,” said Pettis.

“I think I can change the world. People laugh at me when I say that, but it’s been done,” she said, “Hitler changed the world. It was a change for the worse, but it was a change.”

“Imagine if someone could have an impact like his, but for the better,” she said, “I want that to be me.”
Pettis said she has been active in not just preaching her dream to make a difference and help others, but also living it. “I’ve really been getting into leadership and mission work,” she said. During the school year, Pettis actively volunteers in the community, from helping out at the local food bank to spending the night at the shelter.

Over the summer, Pettis went with her church, St. Michael Catholic Parish, to help poor families living on a reservation in Idaho create a safer community. While there, she led a Bible camp for the younger children, and the church as a whole provided the families with food and other necessities.

“If you want to make an impact, you can’t just talk. You need to have experience with the lowest depths of poverty, to understand the problems people are facing,” she said, “That’s what I’m trying to do.”
Pettis said she immerses herself in studying and observing others, both in classes at the college and in daily life. She said sociology “gave me so much more insight into how to be a great leader and strengthened my drive to help, to make changes to our world.”

Pettis said the whole SPSCC experience in general has “brought my dreams to reality. I saw the gap between ‘classroom learning’ and ‘real-life application’ close once I came here.”

“In high school, people looked at you funny if you brought up theology or philosophy, but here, those topics come up regularly in conversation,” she said, “and the intellectual conversations, the new people I meet, the engaging classes I spend my time in — they’re all preparation for when I become the leader who makes an impact.”

“For now, I’m leaving my path open,” said Pettis. “I don’t want to go through motions, I want to live and be open to change and exciting possibilities.”