For those who wish to know,
I was born in Columbus, Ohio to a family who was and is heavily involved in their church and the small christian school affiliated with that church. Nearly all my life, my entire perception of humanity came from this community of roughly 500 individuals. In middle school and high school I was able to travel out of the country. It was these experiences along with certain artistic movements I began to be interested in which made me realize that my perception of the world was extremely limited. The universal church, the similarity of all humans, and the billions of unanswered questions that the Bible leaves were all ideas which began to prod at me. The older I got, the more I realized I needed to break free from a culture which, though nuanced, was fairly homogenous. Knowing that my soonest opportunity to break free of my life was college, I began to start looking for schools which might get me out of my comfort zone—I wanted to go somewhere that would push me to grow in my understanding of God and humanity. When I became aware, through a family friend, of the existence of The King’s College, I never really looked back. I was fascinated and excited about the idea of going to one of the most progressive, inventive, wild, humanity-saturated cities in the world while having a grounding in what was Biblically true. New York City is a festival of endless opportunity, and I have endless aspirations. But, I also recognized that King’s would be full of people who would help me discern which of those aspirations might be most helpful to the furthering of the gospel. King’s has done this, but it has done so much more.
I have only spent a semester at King’s, but already I can see the way it has touched my life. In the midwest, particularly the recovering-fundamentalist midwest, there is an implication that, regarding any single action that can be taken by anyone, there is a best way—and definitely a right way—to do that action. This idea has penetrated almost all of my thoughts making me extraordinarily judgmental. Since coming to the city, no major doctrines of mine have changed. What has changed is how I live out the doctrines I’ve always believed. I no longer believe that there is one right way to do everything. I no longer believe that just because something makes sense to me it has to make sense to everyone else. Since coming to King’s, I have recognized the extent to which I understand obnoxiously little about humanity. And I have been delighted by that fact.
King’s hasn’t just helped the way I think, it has also been a place where I have found community. As a member of the House of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I was immediately welcomed by the upperclassmen in the house. There was no “proving myself” and there was no “rite of passage.” When I showed up in August, I immediately felt like I was a part of the group—I was pre-loved by these men. What a sweet kind of friendship this has been! My relationships in my house have only become more meaningful over time, and I am incredibly grateful for them. I have also been heavily involved in the Empire State Tribune, TKC’s student-run paper. The community here was also so welcoming—not just to me, but to my ideas. Whenever I have something I want to try, the response is generally: “go for it.” I have written several articles and have another in the works as I am writing this. I have also operated as the producer of EST’s podcast, Broadway and Exchange. People have been so patient with my severe lack of journalistic knowledge. I also am a part of The King’s Players, which is another student organization. TKP has been a wonderful release for me. It has been a place to have fun, flex my creative muscles, and feel a great sense of accomplishment when finishing a show. Aside from any organization, I have found great friends in random places all over King’s. I have made friends that I fully expect to be life-long ones. These people challenge my beliefs, listen to my fears, and discuss those things which truly interest me. Nowhere is a hub for such excellent discussion as King’s
I chose the major Journalism, Culture, and Society, because it sounded like the major “People and How to Write about them,” which is really what I am passionate about. So far at King’s, I have learned technical skills and I have learned much about the human condition. I am an artist first. I write poetry and do illustrations. While my choice of major was decided on professional grounds, the things I have learned with the politics, philosophy, and economics, core and the many long, nuanced conversations I have had with friends have been highly influential to the art I produce. King’s has touched basically every area of my life—and I have been better for it.
I’m not ready to leave yet. I feel that there is much more for me to do here.
Matthew Maxwell Peterson
EST Podcast Producer | House of Dietrich Bonhoeffer | Class of '26
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