I knew exactly what I needed in a college.
I needed a place that would both challenge me and nurture me. I’d been homeschooled my whole life, a preacher’s kid, and had moved around a lot. So in college, it was time for a change. I didn’t want to go somewhere that was completely antithetical to my values; that would be too much of a culture shock. But I still needed to be somewhere that would prepare me to go out into the world, because otherwise I’d just be postponing the culture shock. I wanted a place that would take me to the next step into growing into the man I wanted to be.
Then I heard about King’s: an academically rigorous, small Christian college in New York City with dedicated Christian professors and a House System. If I had been asked to design a place that would fit both “challenging” and “nurturing” it would have been that.
And I really did get exactly what I was looking for.
The minute I came in, I was nurtured. I had a bunch of guys who were assigned to love me, and made a joyful point to do so. I was in The House of Churchill (Hoo-rah!) and I was loved and accepted and invested in and welcomed into their community, for no other reason than I was now a “Churchill”.
I was also nurtured by the professors and faculty, all committed Christians, who I could come to for advice, mentorship, counsel, and friendship. I recall long conversations and friendships with my professors who laughed with me, debated with me, cried with me, and encouraged me from a place of shared values. During one particularly hard time, I ran into one in the hall, and he asked how I was. I just broke down and cried and he took me into a classroom where I could share what was going on in my life.
And I was also challenged. I was challenged by the students, when I suddenly found myself, for the first time in my life by people were were a lot smarter and more talented than I was, and who forced me to be the best version of myself to stand out. I was challenged to make my people skills better so I could develop the friendships I wanted. I was challenged by professors and students alike to rethink my beliefs (both from the left and the right!). I was challenged by the people I met in the city outside of King’s, who had completely different worldviews than me or anyone at King’s, and I learned how to live in that world as well as the one that King’s created for me. At King’s, being challenged wasn’t a bad thing, it was a joy, and a joy I loved. I couldn’t just have a view, I had to defend it, I had to make sure it could stand up to reality. So now my views can. And I carry that joy with me today.
Being challenged and nurtured gave me the safety and sharpening to discover who I could be in the building of the kingdom of God. It was here I started a filmmaking club and made my first short films; now I’m making my own feature film. It was here I started writing film reviews; how I write film reviews regularly for Religion Unplugged. It was here I honed my views and my ability to discuss hard topics with conviction and friendliness; now I host a weekly podcast called The Overthinkers. It was here I learned how to make friends as a skill, and I have the friends I have today because I learned that.
I don’t know of any other place that could have really given me exactly that combination of nurture and challenge that made it possible. I pray that others will be able to have the same, but if not, I will continue to be grateful that I had it. And hope to be the kind of person who can give that to others.
Founder and Former President of "King's Image Films" | House of Sir Winston Churchill | Class of '16
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