After dropping out of college, I went into the I.T. field where I worked for a dozen years and then I felt God calling me to ministry. I wasn't sure what that meant, but I had an insatiable desire to come to Southeastern. Although shortly after feeling the call, I researched a few schools, but I was certain that God wanted me at Southeastern; so I came.
I will admit, I was more than a little intimidated. It wasn't a return to an academic environment that intimidated me. I was sure that either through the grace of God or just my own stubborn persistence that the academic part would not be my struggle. Sure, I didn't quite know what to expect, but as a result I worked extra-hard at everything I did. By my second semester, it was old hat, and I'd gotten myself into a rhythm, and I was thriving.
The real intimidation for me was the fact that I was going to be a 34 year old college student. I did have some friends who had been to seminary that told me because it was a college at a seminary, there would be older students, so that eased my mind a little. While they were right, I believe at new student orientation, I was one of only a small handfull of students over 20 (but I wasn't the oldest). Once I started classes, I realized that many classes would be cross-listed classes, i.e., I would be in the same classrooms as seminary students. Even so, in most of my core college classes, I was by far the oldest person in the room (and that included some of my professors).
What I quickly discovered, however, was that it didn't matter. I developed close friendships with many of the college students. They were struggling in different ways than I was, and it was because I had one thing they just didn't have—more years of experience being alive. I was always encouraged to meet one of my younger friends and hear they nailed a test, or aced a paper. I always tried to be an encouragement to them, and I wanted to be certain I always set a good example of how to manage life and school while being successful at both.
So, that is one part of why I am writing today: Even if you are like I was—you think you are too old to come back to college, let me tell you now that you most definitely are not.
Now for the second part of why I am writing: why come to The College at Southeastern?
- The Faculty: If you choose to come to The College at Southeastern, you will be taught by some of the brightest Christian scholars you will find at any school. Some of your professors will be career academics, some will be pastors, but all will be people who serve the local church in myriad roles from members to leaders every week. Every professor I have sat under at C@SE has made a positive difference in my life.
- The Curriculum: The curriculum at C@SE is a classically based Christian curriculum. There is a core curriculum that includes History, English Composition, Literature, Philosophy, and most importantly four classes of the History of Ideas where you will read and be exposed to thinkers from Plato and Aristotle, to Nietzsche and Freud. The core curriculum will make you a better thinker, a better reader, and a better writer. In addition to the core, all students have a minor in Christian Studies which will include classes in Hermeneutics, New Testament, Old Testament, Church History, Theology, and Evangelism. You'll also take either a Math or a Science and a two-semester block of languages. The best part is, if you are interested in pursuing seminary afterwards, there are several great options. There is a program which will allow you to complete a B.A. and M.Div. in 5 years, or if you want more flexibility in your undergraduate studies, you can complete the regular B.A., and then (like I am doing) pursue an M.Div. with Advanced Standing. This allows you to use many of the classes from your Christian Studies minor (which are almost all cross-listed with Seminary students) and apply them toward your M.Div. core. This not only makes your M.Div. a little shorter over-all, but allows great flexibility in allowing you to take more advanced electives in your M.Div. you might not have space for in a regular M.Div.
- The Community: The community at C@SE and SEBTS is fantastic. As a student in the college here, you are not only a part of the college community, you are part of the greater seminary community as well. You will meet, interact with, and make friends with people from many generations and cultural backgrounds. The college has a new House System which fosters even greater community. There are always fun activities organized around campus, college worship events, games, competitions, and other activities scheduled through the semesters. Twice a week the entire on-campus student body gathers to worship together in Binkley Chapel, and you will be able to worship together and sit together under some of the best preachers alive today. Not only that, each year several conferences come to campus, and many scholars come as either visiting scholars, or to give lectures. Not only will you often be able to earn extra credit for attending these extra-curricular events, you will be constantly growing and renewing your mind. There is also the Southeastern Performing Arts Club, and the Center for Faith and Culture which often hosts guest lectures and movie nights. You will be a part of a greater learning community that will give you first-hand access not only to fellow undergraduates, but graduate students, doctoral students, and some of the best Christian scholars in the world.
- The Campus: The campus at Southeastern is postcard beautiful. The campus was originally home to Wake Forest College. The seminary shared the campus at it's beginnings but took over the entire campus when Wake Forest College moved west to Winston-Salem. Not only the magnificent oaks and beautiful magnolias, there are beautiful buildings packed full of history. The oldest building on campus, Broyhill Hall was built in 1888 and was originally the science laboratory for Wake Forest College. There is no better way to clear your mind by taking a stroll around the quad and simply taking in the beauty of it all. The Ledford Student center was recently remodeled and is always abuzz with activity—from food, to coffee, to ping-pong, to shopping at The Locker you can always find something to do at Ledford.