Editorial for CORDmagazine Winter 15/16
I can’t tell you why I chose Union College. When I made the decision in summer 2011, I shocked myself and my family. Looking back, I see no logical reason to choose Union. I was not a Seventh-day Adventist. None of my friends had ever heard of Union College, and I wasn’t even sure what I wanted to study.
But I decided to stay. I stayed even though I had not gone to an Adventist academy and did not know anyone in my freshman class. I stayed even though I was not a vegetarian. I stayed even despite my lack of knowledge about Sabbath, Ellen White and the General Conference. I stayed because the faculty and staff helped me and made me feel welcome. They invited me to their homes, gave me their email addresses and phone numbers and told me to call if I needed anything.
Here I am about to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Religion, an Associate of Science in Pre-Allied Health, a minor in psychology and a minor in leadership—and I’m now a Seventh-day Adventist. I think I got a pretty good deal.
The faculty at Union College helped me realize that I can impact where I work, live and learn—I can make them better places. They provided the resources and support. All I had to do was take advantage of it. It started with the guidance of my leadership teacher, Dr. Linda Becker. With her encouragement, I was able to implement a recycling program at Union College which doesn’t cost the school a penny and saves up to 45 tons of trash a year.
Union College—and specifically the leadership program—helped me grow, better myself, and discover the calling God has for me. I’ve been able to have lunch with historic football coaches, go backpacking in the Minnesota lake country and be the president of the Math and Science Club. I’ve volunteered with my fellow students each year during Project Impact to help our community and I was a part of a team that helped set up the new Krueger Center.
When I first started college, I struggled with what to study and changed majors several times. But Union has also helped me find my passion and calling in helping people—specifically as a chaplain. The faculty and staff at Union were always supportive and always willing to help me out. With their guidance, I discovered God’s calling through things like volunteering at a hospice center and shadowing a chaplain.
When I look at how much I’ve spent to attend Union College, I feel guilty. I know the friendships I’ve made, the lessons I’ve learned and my experience here are worth significantly more than the money I’ve paid. I didn’t know why I chose Union as a freshman and I still don’t know. But I wouldn’t go back and change a single thing.
When I march down the aisle in gown and mortarboard in May, Union will be giving me much more than a diploma. I will have a family all over the globe. I’ll have memories and lessons I will cherish and use throughout the rest of my life. And most importantly, I’ll be confident in the calling and purpose God has for my life.
In the end, I’d say I got a great deal.
By Joe Hofmann