In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the Grace College admissions office posted this essay by Ethan Horst, a member of the Class of 2019 (and son of Blaine and Lee Ann Horst, director of operations for Encompass World Partners). Click here to read the complete post on the Admissions office webpage.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, campus is gearing up for the break and the end of session. Students are dreaming about the naps they’ll take and the fine food that will be on the table. Professors are assigning essays and handing out finals.
Amidst all the bustle and anticipation of the upcoming break and the time spent back with family, I reflect on what I’m grateful for on, around, and about my Grace College experience.
1. Having a Coffee Shop on Campus.
Jazzman’s is fantastic, especially when you have classes in the same building. Their dark and light roasts are pretty good, as is their iced coffee, but the best thing on the menu is definitely the cinnamon buns. When these are available, you have to get one. Jazzman’s provides a good place to work as it is never as loud as the dorms can get but it isn’t as silent as the library. This allows for group collaboration without disturbing others or becoming distracted. On a lighter side, Jazzman’s is also a great place to hang out with friends and talk or relax after class.
2. Indy One.
Dorm life is interesting, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The sense of community is one of the best features, whether it comes from great conversations about theology and life experiences, or Saturday morning trips to Wabash Donuts, or Saturday night Xbox tournaments in the lobby. Usually, there’s someone doing something, and people are very happy to invite you along. We have hall dinners at least twice a week, plus a couple guys who usually go to supper at the same time. There is nothing that quite compares to the bonds that form from living together and I would not trade this time for the world.
3. My Parents.
As shocking as it might be for them, I would like to publicly thank my parents for teaching me how to change a tire, do laundry, and pick up my room. And beyond that, I would like to thank them for teaching me to be teachable. God has placed very mature and godly men on my hall and in groups who offer counsel, and He has given my professors and the faculty insight and knowledge that I need. I would not have the attitudes to learn any of this if it had not been for my parents teaching me earlier in my life.
4. Growth Groups.
Growth groups, which are similar to a Bible study or discussion group, are a whole lot more than an hour meeting on Wednesdays. I am incredibly grateful for all that they offer and represent. This provides something familiar in the first few weeks when everything else is new and crazy. In addition, the guys in the growth groups are always a good blend of freshman learning from upperclassmen who willingly share their life experiences.
5. The Opportunities to be Invested.
Grace has a myriad of ways to get involved with student life beyond the dorms. I am thankful for the places that God has given me to grow and invest in the campus. There is the Sounding Board, our school newspaper, which God has used to help stoke my passion for journalism, and there are the intramural sports programs for soccer and basketball. Just being able to play a low-stakes game with your hall and against other dorms on campus helps foster healthy competition and a strong sense of solidarity. I have friends involved with the Korean Club, Drama, Chapel Band, and Student Activities Board. Others work as student ambassadors, for Physical Plant, in the Tech Department, and in the Alpha and Westminster Dining Commons. In addition, we as a campus have gone to a Feed My Starving Children mobile pack, done a Rake-and-Run in the surrounding community, and sang hymns at a professor’s house to encourage him. For every gifting, there is a niche, and a time to serve and shine.
Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate God’s generous blessings with family and friends. I hope you take some time to share with others and make someone’s holiday season special. May this verse from 1 Chronicles 16:34 (NIV) encourage you: “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever.”