I grew up in a Christian home, and remember as early as kindergarten going to churches, nondenominational and with a couple thousand people.
Then before college, I took two mission trips to Nicaragua and they were probably the most formative experiences for my faith. I think whatever I end up doing professionally, Nicaragua will somehow be tied in. I'm not fluent in Spanish, but I did a lot of translating. I also wrote my own sermons, and spoke in a prison, which was incredible.
I had gone to a public high school where I had to work to make my identity as a Christian. But here at SPU it's the opposite; here everyone is a Christian, or claims to be a Christian, and you don't have to work to have that title. That made the biggest challenge I faced at SPU learning how to own my faith in a different way, and find a way to keep it active and living.
I have always enjoyed studying theology, and I don't plan on doing anything specific with my theology degree after I graduate. I think it will apply in different areas of my life, but I just enjoy it. I'm a nerd in that respect.
I have learned so much. Especially in University Foundations 2000, going through the whole Bible as one narrative. That opened my eyes to a lot, and made me look at specific things that I either had just glanced over before or hadn't paid any attention to.
My favorite class so far is "Four Gospels, One Jesus" with Dr. Nienhuis. At the time that was the hardest class I had taken, and I got my butt kicked, but I loved it. We started in Mark, and then Matthew, Luke, and John, and every class period he had us prepare 20–30 observations, questions, insights. We also had a gospel parallel book that shows all four versions of the different stories all lined up next to each other.
Dr. Nienhuis takes a lot of time to invest in other people's lives and walk alongside them where they are. I think that's one of the coolest things about SPU faculty, is that they are willing to take the time, and not be just a professor to you but a mentor, someone with wisdom who can walk alongside you.
I'm not sure what I'll do after graduation. I'm thinking about staying at SPU, because there's a three-year dual master's program, so I would get my MA in theology and MS in marriage and family therapy.