Make no mistake, college is
not like the rest of life. It’s a short period of time when most
people are open, wide-eyed, curious and even vulnerable. It’s a
pit stop that we are blessed with - a time to fuel up and become prepared
for the rest of life. It’s stressful and at the same time it’s
a never ending pizza party. It’s a time when character, values
and ideals can be honed, strengthened, weakened or challenged.
The four years I spent at a Christian college include discussions with
friends, professors who wanted me to succeed and friends and coaches
who reached out to me when I needed help.
While I’m quick to say that the quality of education I received
was outstanding, I would also say that the classroom and learning dynamic
were only a small part of my college experience.
The list of activities and opportunities that describe my Christian college
experience are certainly encouraging, but in the end, focusing on those
types of tangible “things” miss the mark. A significant part
of my experience may be described as being around individuals that were
very human, and yet showed me Christ.
I look back at how as an 18 year old, I left home for “an education”.
What I now realize is that what I received was life preparation more
than an education for a specific profession. I now understand that part
of college was being confronted with contrasting views – not necessarily
from an opponent, but from individuals who had an interest in my well
being. The blend of competition and encouragement from my classmates
I now realize was truly unique.
One of the distinctives of a Christian college should be that it encourages
and stresses that the customary “right” answers to questions
should no longer be good enough. I believe that college should be a place
where understanding what the right questions are becomes critical, and
where taking ownership of what you truly believe should be fundamental.
The Christian college I attended provided a group of Christians that
pushed me to a new level of academic and spiritual substance. It was
during those four years that I started to understand that “learning” was
an opportunity to be pursued.
There were expectations that were unwritten and unspoken, but that demanded
my attention and my best. The community that I joined for four years
was full of other Christians - people who were serious about academics
and serious about Jesus Christ. That may seem pretty basic, but placing
myself for four years in an environment where spiritual maturity was
the norm, was very different than the culture of friends I grew up with,
even within my church and my own life. The school I attended was full
of imperfect people with problems just like me. However, most were joined
with me in faith, and that made all the difference.
I believe college should be concerned with the whole person, and as
a Christian, it makes sense to me to be in an environment that not only
addresses, but embraces the most important part of who we are – the
President, The Christian Connector