After reading about the tragic conflagration* that destroyed our former home (Andreas 213) and drinking a few beers, we decided it would be a fitting occasion to author our first ever Bagpipe article. The three of us have transitioned to other educational institutions (Georgia Tech, Auburn, and Washington University School of Medicine), but retain a deep fondness for the Castle in the Clouds. Below you will find ten things we wish we had known during our years on Lookout Mountain.
$100 to park on campus is nothing. Between the three of us, our parking passes range from $350-$850. And we’re at risk of being ticketed by the municipal police force, not your friendly neighborhood work study student (none of them want to be doing this, remember).
Food. We still agree that being obligated to purchase a full meal plan is pretty absurd. However, be thankful for those green beans, the salad bar, and made-to- order -subs. To paraphrase Henry Ford, at our schools, you can have any kind of food you want, so long as it’s fast.
Even at other schools, the career service is not going to land you that job or internship that fits you perfectly. Pursuing your “little c” calling is an active, not a passive, endeavor. Don’t expect Leda Goodman to hand you a job.
Speaking of careers, think about what you’re going to be doing 40+ hours a week after graduation before your senior year. Actually, before your junior year. It’s easy to be swallowed by the theoretical world that engulfs us during our years at Covenant. However, Jesus didn’t come to Earth to do a purely abstract work. Like him, we need to be engaged in the practical, everyday aspects of life such as putting together a quality resume.**. Don’t let your first interview be for your first real job. Go read Every Good Endeavor by Tim Keller or Kingdom Calling by Amy Sherman and get excited about the ways you can image God after graduation. Then figure out some things you can do now that will enable you to use the talents you’ve been given in the workplace as a child of the one true King. Then do them.
Go to chapel. We miss it every day. And, each of us has complained about (or maybe slept through) it at some point while we were at Covenant. You will never be able to worship with one thousand like-minded Christian young people thrice weekly again. Thoughtful, diverse, and engaging men and women travel thousands of miles each semester to preach the Ggospel to you. Chapel has changed each of our lives. We’re not exaggerating. Don’t waste the opportunity.
We have been shocked by how much easier it is to get career opportunities now that we’re sending emails from an account at a well-recognized university. Realize that Covenant College does not have the same name recognition in the marketplace as other schools, so it’s up to you to create your own opportunities. You can still do this from @covenant.edu; you just need to be proactive about reaching out to people.
Don’t get lost in doctrinal minutiae. The truths of the Gospel became real to me (Jake) as one of three evangelicals in my class of 120 in different ways than they did over four years at Covenant. God is glorified by truth, but the importance of paedobaptism vs. credobaptism pales in comparison to the questions of why we ought to even acknowledge the existence of anything beyond the material world, let alone why we ought to attend church. It’s extremely likely that your friends will be asking these questions and you need to be prepared to walk with them. On a related note, it’s OK to doubt your faith. It might even be beneficial to think through some of these issues with your friends while you’re still in such a supportive environment.
We need to be reminded of the Gospel every day. This still applies to those that eat, sleep, and play Spikeball at a Christian college.
You aren’t entitled to highly qualified professors who are legitimately interested in getting to know you, willing to meet you where you are, and actively apply their faith to their discipline.
Finally, iIt is utterly abnormal to get married at 22. Early marriage is right for some people and sex sounds awesome, but please do not feel like a failure if you don’t have a significant other locked down by graduation. That said, it’s a beautiful thing that so many of you have long-term commitment in mind at this stage in life. That’s also utterly abnormal.
We know that a lot of these ideas are familiar to you, but they have become much more real to us (and many of our friends) now that we have left Covenant College. Don’t forget that our faith is not just in our minds; Christ demands our bodily actions as well. We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Covenant and are incredibly thankful for the formation we received there. But we also recognize that it’s not a perfect place, and we hope you can benefit from some of these observations. And as the Nielsens used to say, you don’t have to have everything figured out. Just do the next thing.
* This means golf cart fire. For those of you that are skeptical, we have four cumulative years of Student Senate experience and three combined years of RA experience. Unless the Bagpipe has changed considerably in the last 12 months, that ought to give us plenty of authority/credibility.
** Yes, we hate resume-writing too. It’s incredibly awkward to brag about yourself on paper. But you have to do it.