In our culture, each individual strives to be a hero in a crowd of followers—to leave their mark on something before they exit this earth—yet I often catch myself wondering whether we all somehow end up just as common as the next person in line at Starbucks.
We want to be the smartest, most creative, most inspirational influence on a younger or older generation, the most valued employee in the corporation, the best mother or father to our children. To conquer our expectations, we must make a plethora of fork-in-the-road decisions, including where and how to pursue our education.
Yale, Harvard, Berkeley, USC, Lewis & Clark, Biola, Texas Christian University and Azusa Pacific were only a few of the names that flashed across my computer screen throughout my much anticipated senior year of high school. All promised to provide a distinguished academic experience, to challenge my mind and ultimately to give me a stellar namesake to brag about on my résumé. The intimidating reputation and scholarship of each institution should have been enough to pull me in, yet they all fell desperately short in helping me answer the most consequential question: who did I want to be?
Who did I want to be?
We all ask that of ourselves throughout our lifetime, and the only answer I could find from those schools was “I want to be an academic.” Was that going to be my legacy? I didn’t want to be someone who could just think. I wanted to think and act, to develop my brain in tandem with my heart. But many of the schools I considered were committed to merely developing the brain rather than the whole person.
The Master’s University promised something more, and in my years at TMU, it far exceeded my expectations in delivering the holistic education I craved and needed. At Master’s U, students are encouraged and pushed to pursue their passions academically, creatively, emotionally and spiritually. Like other influential universities, TMU prepares its students for the competitive job market and equally challenging home responsibilities. More importantly, it teaches students (through observation of the perfect Example) how to live an intentional Christian life and stand alone amid a crowd of followers.
Yes, scholarship is important, but it is only meaningful if it is built on the foundation of wisdom, which can only come from a fear of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7). Wisdom is knowledge put into practice—thought turned into action. The name TMU does not evoke the same awe or carry the same history as the names Harvard or Yale, but its foundation far surpasses a simple name. “Christ and Scripture,” which existed before the creation of the world (John 1) and will surpass time itself, constitute a foundation that cannot be shaken. Their purpose, principles and practice are timeless.
I am thankful for the unshakeable confidence this foundation provides. I am thankful for the confidence to walk through life with its joys and its challenges, because each educator at TMU provided a living example of wisdom and walked alongside me as I learned to practice it. Upon graduation, I did not walk into the “scary real world,” though the future is filled with many unknowns. Through the friendships I have made, examples I have witnessed, knowledge I have been taught, wisdom I have received, and the Savior Jesus Christ with whom I have fallen more in love with during my time at TMU, I know how to fight for contentment and prepare for every circumstance. This is what sets me apart from those people flanking me at Starbucks.