There is not a single defining occasion that has had the most impact during my time here; there is a culmination of many occasions that have helped to shape the person I have become. I am a remarkably different person than I was when I stepped onto this campus almost four years ago.

The first experience happened within the first two months of college: meeting my best friend. I had sworn off the idea of having a best friend after issues in high school. I decided that I would never let myself get that close to someone again, so you can imagine how difficult it was to open up when she and I connected during freshman year. Though we don’t always agree on everything and there have been extremely difficult times together, I’ve learned so much from knowing her, ranging from discovering more about myself to animal testing to the illness she fights against every day. I’ve never known anyone as strong as her, and being friends with her has helped me to learn to stand up for what I believe is right.

The second experience is meeting a guy and consequently falling in love with him. I still remember the first time I tried to talk to him and he completely blew me off after I complimented his shirt. Little did I know how much he would change my life and teach me about myself. It is so refreshing to be with someone who respects me, actively loves me, and can keep up with (and often surpass) me in his knowledge about the Bible. He challenges me every day to reconsider my viewpoints on religious and social issues, and I have learned from him how to ground myself in the stances I take and commit to them wholeheartedly, yet debate them respectfully.

The third experience is The Bible Women’s Project theatre production. I originally joined BWP because I was sad that the fall musical had ended, but I had no idea how much impact the experience would have on me. When we met and did story circles and theatre exercises with the stories of women in the Bible, I found myself being able to open up about things I had been holding onto for a long time. Many stories ended in tears, and the moments we shared are ones I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.

To see it all formed into a production and to see the reactions of the audiences was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Being in that show not only influenced me in my personal life but also in what I want to do after college. I’m a business major, but I had been feeling very unsettled for a while, like I was missing what I should be doing. After being in BWP, I began to explore the idea of using what I learned to help others, and I discovered the field of drama therapy. I added a psychology minor and applied to two master’s programs for mental health counseling with a specialization in drama therapy. Thanks to BWP, I now know where I want to go with my life, and I now have the opportunity to pursue it.

Thanks to these experiences, I have become bolder, kinder, and far more knowledgeable about the world around me. I still have a long way to go, but I believe the events that have shaped into who I am so far will continue to do so, and I am forever a better person because of the time I have spent here at ENC.