We asked people enrolled in Adventist colleges or universities, or those who have graduated within the past five years, to respond to this question in 50 words or less: “How was your spiritual life affected during your college/university experience? Was it strengthened and reinforced, or was it tested and diminished?” These are their responses. Some chose to remain anonymous.
On one hand, the climate of religious programming and belief tended to inform and reinforce official teachings and foster community. The right brain loves that. Doctrine, however, didn’t receive the rigorous analysis that was present in, say, the chemistry department. That was unsettling for some of us.
I grew up in a conservative Adventist home. My concept of God and truth made me suspicious of people who weren’t Adventist, or didn’t practice their Adventism the same way I did. Attending an Adventist university helped me see that God is larger than our sometimes narrow concepts of Him.
My spiritual life was most affected while studying abroad. Keeping the Sabbath took more effort than keeping it at home. I never realized how hard it would be until I started traveling on weekends, the only time I had to see new places.
Jessica Anzai, Loma Linda, California
I studied for a Bachelor of Art in Theology at Middle East University. Through the years I rapidly matured spiritually. I learned many lessons from God Himself, as well as through other means and sweet people around. I’m thankful for that experience.
Jood Dowais, Irbid, Jordan
I studied public administration from Uganda Christian University [a non-Adventist university]. My faith was tested because most of the important things, such as exams, were done on Sabbath!
I grew spiritually, but found myself looking for more depth and spirituality than I could find. I went to an evangelism training school after graduation rather than immediately going into grad studies, even on an Adventist campus. There is still good to be found there, but I grieve the drift from when our schools, not just in name but purpose, existed to train missionaries for home and abroad (i.e., Andrews University, formerly Emmanuel Missionary College; Loma Linda University, formerly College of Medical Evangelists).
David Skau, Cairo, Egypt
Washington Adventist University has strengthened me spiritually by helping me become a servant. I have learned that service is not only crucial in my spiritual life, but also something I am called to do regularly. Whether it’s visiting someone sick or sitting down with a man who is homeless, service has become a part of my everyday life.
Jeffrey Wilson, Burtonsville, Maryland