There are several things in life that prove to round each of us out and make us who we are today. These things include defining moments and experiences as well as each interest and passion. Some of the biggest things to enrich and shape my outlook were astounding mentors, reading the Harry Potter series with my dad, discovering the unending goodness that is British literature and television and finding out that the world is much bigger than my small town had led me to believe.

Being a student at a university is one way that life expands and becomes all the more expansive. Since embarking on my ongoing journey at CBU, I’ve acquired more knowledge and experiences that have further enriched me and that I know I will look back on later and recognize as huge blessings. So, for my time thus far at CBU, here are snippets of the best of the best.

I learned that the world is (still) much bigger than I can imagine. I remember at first being astounded by the sheer number of genuine individuals I encountered. We all had a free pass to start fresh and come into our own. So many people from all over the place come here, and each one has a rich history and ongoing story to share. I find that each person I encounter has an unbelievable amount of depth to them, and this notion continues to strike me and inspire me daily. All people are sacred masterpieces – our job as believers is to treat them as such. This is something that can only be learned when immersed in a completely new environment, and university life has been so apt at doing so.

A Godly community reminds us of the only constant things. I found so many authentic Christ followers at this school; I wasn’t even sure that this many existed in one place, as I hadn’t seen anything like this type of community before. Plugging oneself into friendships, mentor relationships and group scripture studies is key to personal and spiritual growth. It reminds us that God is constant in an ever-changing world, and that he is the best thing we could strive for. Stumbling closer to his company and following him in service is so much more possible when done with others who are along for the ride. Share the difficulties, the heartache, the triumphs and exclamations of praise. Life is greatly enriched when it is shared.

I realized the importance of seeking out each and every opportunity. Education is a privilege, and one way to take full advantage of it is to extend your learning outside the classroom. Get to know your professors and keep up with them when class is over. They can cue you into all kinds of events and advice that will take your learning experiences farther than if you leave it all in class. It’s no surprise that we become more like those we surround ourselves with, and I tend to see the truth of this repeatedly over the past three years. Check out the clubs and the volunteer opportunities, and cling to those who share and deepen your interests.

As I have said countless times, we are at a time in life where the decisions we make now will come to shape us later on. The habits we build, relationships we make and opportunities we seek will affect us years beyond now, and it’s best to dig our wells as deeply as we can during this time. CBU has provided me with countless avenues of doing so, and I find the need to continue to invest more fully with each moment I have left. After all, life is short, but so much beauty can be packed in.