The Next Chapter

Accepting Change and Looking Forward to What Lies Ahead
December 3, 2019

This time next year I will graduate from Southwestern Adventist University (SWAU) with a bachelor of science degree in communication. As this chapter of my life enters its final stages, I can’t help but reflect on everything that I’ve experienced in the last four years of college.

If I had to use one word to describe it all, that word would be change. Although I didn’t know it in the beginning, being enrolled at SWAU would mean so much more than receiving a diploma. I can vividly remember the feelings I had when I first arrived on campus for freshman orientation.

As a Virginia native I was absolutely abused by the Texas heat, but I was also very anxious because I didn’t know anyone and was completely unfamiliar with my surroundings. Early on, I discovered that what I thought was just general Southern hospitality, was really the familial atmosphere that defines the university.

Looking back, it was the exact environment that I needed to feel comfortable enough to grow both personally and spiritually. It was through that growth that I began to see a lot of changes in myself.    

Upon exiting high school, despite growing up in the Seventh-day Adventist Church and attending an Adventist high school, I didn’t really have a solid relationship with God. I came to SWAU not caring at all about God or His plans for my life.

But throughout my time at SWAU I would often see Christ in many of my friends and professors. I started going to more of the university’s spiritual events, and before I knew it, I found myself on my knees ready to start my spiritual journey with Christ. It wasn’t always an easy road to follow, but as I grew in Christ I also grew in character.

I wanted to add to the family atmosphere from which I’d so greatly benefited. I started becoming more involved on campus by joining clubs such as Enactus, where students work to find entrepreneurial solutions to poverty-related issues of struggling communities. I also worked as a resident’s assistant in the men’s dorms, helping on-campus students with their daily needs. From those experiences and other leadership opportunities, I learned how to be an effective part of a team, to depend on the people around me and, most importantly, to trust that God will guide me in everything I do.

Looking forward, I can proudly say that there isn’t a single part of me that isn’t ready for what comes next after graduating college. However, closing this chapter of my life is bittersweet, because it means leaving behind a time filled with so much positive transformation.

I can only hope that I will continue to grow in the future and carry with me the lessons that I’ve learned. Otherwise, I’m very excited to see where God takes me and how He plans to use my life in this world.

By Darren Joseph, Southwestern Adventist University Communication Senior