I only had one normal semester at Kings.
Covid-19 hit during the fateful spring break of my freshman year. I cried on my porch during our last Western Civilization II Zoom class, when our professor read us CS Lewis’ “Learning in War Time” and told us to be brave, to remember that we stood in a long line of men and women who stood fast in frightening times. I hung a poster of the skyline on my wall and wondered if I would ever go back.
And I did, that fall. We came back to an eerily empty city and began the work of rebuilding community in a world of 10-person meeting limits. And now, just when it was seemed like things were back to normal, this newest challenge arrived to bookend my Kings career.
So why did we come back, after Covid, after rebuilding, after rumors of financial instability? Why did most of the freshmen who came in the middle of Covid stay? Why did they come at all?
All these letters offer answers. Here are three of mine:
The professors: The professors here give of themselves in a way that goes far beyond their job description. They meet us in office hours to answer questions about the course, or, more often, about life, to pray for us, to offer guidance, to model what it might look like to be good, brave, and ready. I have been to professors’ houses and played with their children. What keeps us coming back is faculty who cares not just about our grades but our our lives, not just academics but character.
The community: New York City is big, but Kings creates a warm hearth fire to return to, whether the campus itself or the many apartments of our friends scattered throughout the boroughs. We make meals in our tiny apartments, cry and pray with each other in stairwells, and hold book clubs in parks. Because it is so small and its mission so unique, because of the house system and the core curriculum, there is a bond between students that enables us to thrive in this challenging environment.
The mission: Confession: I didn’t want to go to a Christian college. I didn’t want an institution to be a crutch to my faith and I didn’t want to be in a bubble. I wanted to be challenged to wrestle with and live out my faith. And Kings does that. It has to, because of the city we live in. And it chooses to, through expecting us to act like adults and giving us classes that demand we ask hard questions of our faith and offering multiple, but voluntary, avenues for spiritual growth There really is no school doing what we’re doing, and it breaks my heart to think of the city without Kings, of higher education without Kings, of my life without Kings.
Technically I only had one normal semester here, but I would do it all again, even if I knew what was going to happen.
With gratitude,
Aberdeen Livingstone
Aberdeen Livingstone
Alumna | House of Corrie Ten Boom | Class of '22
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