The first time I officially set foot on the campus of Southwestern Adventist University was to practice basketball. It was my junior year of high school and I was playing for a local homeschool team in Johnson County. We didn’t have our own gym so Southwestern let us use theirs. The student employee in charge of the gym was immediately friendly, bringing each one of our team members a Southwestern teddy bear and information on the university. I soon learned that friendliness was something I could rely on anytime I was on campus. After attending the Hoops Classic, a university-sponsored basketball tournament, I decided to look into enrolling the next year. It was a very friendly and efficient process. Even though there were hundreds of other applicants, they made it obvious that I was important to them and they would do whatever they could to help me succeed.
I continued to find the whole campus atmosphere friendly and helpful. My professors would go the extra mile and it was easy to make friends. As a freshman, I lived off-campus with family in Alvarado, so I didn’t immediately get involved in all the events. However, I still found it easy to be accepted as part of the Southwestern family. Classes were just the right size and the professors were so caring and so helpful. However, I really didn’t intend to go more than one year because I thought I needed to go to a larger school for more experience and opportunity. As it turns out, Southwestern was exactly what I needed, for two reasons.
Because Southwestern is a smaller school, I didn’t expect to find a lot of opportunities but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I am a communication major and my professors are very well connected. They are always looking for new ways to help their students get experience and opportunities. Though my emphasis is in Public Relations, I have had the chance to branch out in audio/visual/photography to get a more rounded experience. I have had the opportunity to develop way more skills than I thought possible.
Initially I was also a little bit apprehensive about attending Southwestern because I was not raised a Seventh-day Adventist. I was raised in a non-denominational Christian home. We studied the Bible every night together. During our studies, we noticed that the Sabbath commandment says to keep the seventh day holy. As a family, we decided to start keeping the Sabbath. We hadn’t heard of Adventism until I visited Southwestern’s campus.
I didn’t need to worry. While Southwestern is a very spiritually strong campus, I have never felt forced or pressured into being an Adventist. My professors and fellow students really exemplify Christ’s example to love and accept everyone.
During my freshman year, I attended Week of Prayer. It was a wonderful experience to see my fellow students leading out. I was so impressed that I decided to give the Keene Seventh-day Adventist Church a try. I now consider it my home church and plan to continue attending after graduation.
Southwestern is such a supportive network and I now realize how unique it is. In talking with friends at other schools, I know I was meant to be here. I believe that God guided me here and I would recommend Southwestern Adventist University to anyone, regardless of religion. This has been a very positive experience. This is my family.