We were standing in the middle of the gym during halftime of the basketball game. I had my tiara on and was grinning nervously at the crowd. Next to me was the freshman homecoming prince, and past him was the rest of the court. I remember very clearly watching the senior homecoming king and queen get crowned, and thinking to myself, “Wow, seniors in college – I won’t ever be that old!” Wishful thinking that most of us do at one point or another in our lives, I suppose.
And now here I am, a senior in college with a little more than a month remaining between me and the kick-start of my life as an adult with a college degree – yikes! In some ways I’m not very different from little freshman Tracy. I’m still single, I still don’t have a full time job, and I’m still not sure what I want to do with my life. However, looking beyond these almost superficial qualifiers, I have changed an incredible amount. Through my experiences at George Fox, I can’t go back to the old Tracy, nor do I want to.
The old Tracy didn’t consider homelessness to be a pressing issue. The new Tracy has stood alongside peers and fed a homeless community living in Portland, heard their stories, and been touched. The old Tracy considered the mission field as a place for pastor’s kids and nursing majors. The new Tracy hopes to one day improve the lives of others internationally using the knowledge from her business degree. And most of all, the old Tracy believed God was someone encountered at church or at her private religious school only. The new Tracy has seen the Living Christ in the eyes of those around her, in the wild streets of Portland, and in the untamed beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
Freshman year Tracy had absolutely no idea what college was going to be like. I took a chance and jumped into life in Newberg with all my heart. And while it’s been no cake walk, the truths I have struggled with and the people I have encountered have changed me into a woman who has seen more of the world than she ever believed possible, and has seen the hope of Christ in the freshest, most real way.