Finishing my first year is both emotional, stressful, and relieving. It’s the whole idea of happy to be done, sad to leave (even if it’s only for the summer). I remember my first day walking on campus. I moved into my dorm, made some friends, and tried dining hall food for the first time. During the first few weeks on campus, I was involved in a different campus ministry. I had heard about them during freshman orientation, and they seemed nice, so I went to one of their worships. Almost immediately, I realized that their beliefs didn’t align well with mine. Again, I found myself looking for a campus ministry that could act as my faith home.

I will never forget the first time I walked into UKirk. I was nervous about it and worried that the people wouldn’t like me, so I was a bit timid. I sat down in UPerk (not realizing it was considered its own separate entity) and started some homework. Andy walked in and greeted me. He made me feel at home. He offered to give me a tour, and I accepted, eager to see the place. There was just something about the place that made me feel safe and warm.

I went to UWorship that week and was invited to sit with some people. They asked me questions and got to know me. It wasn’t until the worship service started, though, that I realized I was where I belonged. I didn’t find myself wanting to leave during the service; I found myself hanging onto every word. I found myself wanting to learn and grow with this amazing group of individuals.

Throughout my entire first year, UKirk was my rock. If I was ever stressed, I would go to UPerk and work. If I was ever dealing with personal things, I would go to UKirk to pray. If I ever wanted to see friends, I would go to UKirk and walk into Jaclyn’s little office where it seemed that everyone congregated at one point or another. I have made so many amazing memories from going to Montreat College Conference, to Wonton night, to bonfires, and so many others. I can’t wait to see what next year has in store for me.

Ellie Lander
Freshmen, Chemistry Major