Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?
I came to George Fox after spending six years in the military and an additional five years working construction. Being an older student with some life experience, the first word that I would use to describe George Fox would be “hopeful.” One of my professors, Brian Doak, often explains that personal growth occurs through a process of orientation, disorientation and then finding new orientation. I have had the privilege of watching this loss of naiveté and the resultant struggle for meaning, first in a world without the ever-present light of Christ, then here at George Fox where Christ is proclaimed. To see how people find new orientation in these different settings has illuminated the universality of the human condition, the power of hope in God, the hope that I have lost, and what it means to trust in God again.
Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox?
I have grown quite a bit, and in many ways, since coming to George Fox. Like most students, I recognize the knowledge that I have acquired, my improved ability to process through this information, and my newfound effectiveness in articulating my thoughts. These last three years have helped refine my ability to think.
This brings me to the greatest change that I have seen in myself since I came to George Fox. When I arrived, I was a construction worker who doubted his place in a classroom. However, this self image was challenged by one professor after another. Rather than seeing myself as an impostor in the academic world, I was told that I belong here. In fact, one professor, Tim Tsohantaridis, pulled me aside and said that if I stopped after George Fox, it would be a waste. With enthusiastic encouragement from many of my professors, I decided to go to grad school.
Q: What’s next?
So, as I said, grad school is in my future. I was recently accepted at Yale Divinity School to continue studying the Bible in their Masters of Religion program. It’s a two-year program designed to prepare for doctoral work, and I am both scared and excited to be moving to Connecticut this August. I have no idea, at this point, what doors this will open, or where God will lead me from there, but I have learned to accept the inevitability of uncertainty. The fact that the future is a blank slate where God has endless possibilities to move and guide me has become my reality. This is my new orientation.