By Patty Juliuson, Columnist
My husband is an Oklahoma boy, so when he retired from military service, we decided to live near the family in OKC. That put me within reach of several fine academic institutions. How did I end up at SNU? Good question.
First and foremost, I am a Christian. Not an “oh, I go to church” Christian, but a born-again, Bible-believing, faith-driven Christian. I am so grateful to know Christ as my Savior! It’s not a label I put on like a sweater; it is who I am and how I have chosen to live my life. With that as my foundation, I knew I would not be happy in a university that does not acknowledge Christ. It’s that simple. I am not Nazarene. (Shocking, I know). However, it’s not the denomination, it’s the foundation. I wanted a Christ-centered liberal arts education, and this university offered just that.
I didn’t want to constantly respond to humanistic or atheistic philosophy, and I absolutely refused to subjugate Biblical principles to get a degree. I know that some classes in other universities would have required that I either go head-to-head with a professor or simply “drink the Kool-Aid” in order to pass. I’m experienced enough to know neither situation would have been appropriate.
I also knew myself well enough to realize I would be lost on a sprawling campus with a student population that numbered in the tens of thousands. Beginning college in my 50’s was hard enough; getting lost on campus among strangers was not an appealing thought. For me, a smaller student body meant that I would share multiple classes with some students and I might have an easier time making friends. And that’s what happened. It was comforting to see familiar faces, and much easier to learn names in a class of 20 as opposed to a seminar of 200. Study buddies and partners in crime… oops, I mean friends… were easily identified, and my stress level went down as I became more familiar with my classmates.
SNU also offered a variety of offices and programs to help me reach my educational goals. I received information and advice from Financial Aid, the Learning Resource Center, and the Office of Disability Services. I became a member of the Student Support Services and found their assistance invaluable. While other institutions may have similar programs, SNU personnel have extended themselves in a way that leads me to believe they consider it more than a job. Having a staff member take a personal interest in my challenges made all the difference.
In another university, I might have been just a number, but at SNU I know my professors see ME. (OK, forget that I am the oldest person in the room and a little hard to miss…) They have been supportive of my goals and have helped me reach beyond what I thought were my limits. I have a new goal now: graduate school. One professor gave me the dream, others have encouraged me to go for it, and–can you believe it?-I am now in a program designed to help me in that quest. Who would have thought?
I could have chosen any university, but I am here. “Character, Culture, Christ.” Thank you, SNU, for helping me develop all three.
I have homework to do. See you in class.