“Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”
Martin Luther King Jr. spoke many quote-worthy words. But, this statement seems especially applicable as I find myself one week away from crossing the FMA stage, receiving my degree and moving the tassel on my graduation cap.
In this last week, my mind wanders back to my first day as part of the 2018 Class and the following years at BJU. College was the scariest thing. I had never been around so many people in my life—or shared a room with two or more other people.
Classes required much more time and effort from me than I had ever previously experienced.
I assume my four years of college weren’t so different from most other seniors and graduates. I went to class, worked a campus job and enjoyed extracurriculars. I tried my best to earn good grades and make the best of my time here.
Overall, my favorite experience has been working on the staff of The Collegian. I’ve worked many positions on staff since joining my sophomore year—staff writer, copy editor, social media coordinator and online editor.
From The Collegian, I’ve gained invaluable writing, interviewing, editing and communication skills. But, more importantly, I’ve gained memories and friends that will last a lifetime.
Nothing could replace the three years of hard work, stress, laughter and joy. Nothing could replace the life lessons I learned in meeting tight deadlines and getting along with people completely different from me.
My college experience would feel incomplete without those three years on staff. For with this, I feel that I have gained a “true education.”
“Intelligence plus character equals true education.” This formula for educational success described by King exists at BJU.
With great Christian liberal arts programs, BJU offers a plethora of opportunities for intelligence and spiritual growth. But the character learned at BJU is equally as important to success in career and life.
We all know that those (oftentimes annoying) little things like room jobs, campus passes, dress codes, mandatory attendance to events and limited class absences all exist to teach us character.
We may gripe and complain about them and their uselessness in our character building.
But the truth is, those little things teach us invaluable traits such as obedience, responsibility and punctuality. When I graduate college, I won’t receive demerits for failing to make my bed or take out the trash.
But I will be expected to show up to work on time, take instruction from my superiors and follow company guidelines for my appearance.
I feel that I have an advantage in these areas from my four years at BJU. The things that ‘real life’ expects from me won’t be so difficult to do considering I spent the last 1,460 days of my life building these characteristics.
By no means am I implying that I’m leaving college as the most intelligent person with awesome character. But I do possess both intelligence and character. And that is due in large part to my time spent at BJU.
The final area of my life impacted over the past four years is my walk with God.
Although chapel and discipleship group encourage spiritual growth, the professors who possess a Christlike love for their students have spiritually impacted me the most.
Knowing that my professors took a genuine interest in me as an individual and fellow sister in Christ (not simply as a student) encouraged me to invest in others.
As I said before, I imagine my time here is very similar to others’, but college really is what you make it. You get out what you put in.
So, from one college senior to those who will be returning next fall: I encourage you to ‘learn, love and lead.’
Learn from every aspect of college—classes, chapel, society, extracurriculars, campus jobs, room jobs, dress codes, curfew.
Love everyone—God, your family, fellow students, coworkers, strangers you meet in passing, brothers and sisters in Christ, the lost sinners.
Lead in all areas of life—family, work, ministry.
If you start doing those three things now, you will find yourself crossing the FMA stage at Commencement feeling satisfied in earning a ‘true education’ here at BJU.