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the Covenant experience narrative

The Blue Tribune is your place to learn about all things Covenant and keep up with stories from campus and beyond. By guiding you through the different aspects of Covenant, we'll help you decide if you want to pursue your very own Covenant experience.

My Non-Traditional Journey Back to College

Family posed in field

A New Chapter Begins

I had been out of high school for nearly six years when I started to think about going to college. You could say I kind of swapped the conventional path. I got married right out of high school, started a family, and got into the working world of restaurants and blue-collar jobs. It was great, and I have a lot of respect for careers in the trades, but as the years passed I began to learn more about myself. I hit seasons of deep doubt about many things I had never questioned before. I found how deeply I loved literature and philosophy and the process of wrestling with ideas. Through this discovery I came to two conclusions: I wanted to dedicate more of my life to reading and writing both for my own sake and for the sake of raising children in an increasingly confused world and I felt I would be well suited to a career involving connecting with people, like a high school teacher. So off I went to pursue jumping back into the academic world.

Weighing Options: Choosing a Path

When my wife and I began scheming about the transition to school, we considered first the option of moving away from Chattanooga and whether or not to pursue a larger, secular state university versus a smaller, private Christian college. In the midst of considering this, we visited a church that we fell in love with, making nearly instant and deep friendships there which prompted us to stay in town. All I had to settle now was whether I wanted to attend a Christian college or not. After living in Chattanooga for four years, I had met a few Covenant graduates in different work settings. Many of them impressed me as excellent and thoughtful individuals and struck me as the kind of people I would like to think deeply with.

Cultivating Balance: Harmonizing Responsibilities

Of course, I knew it was going to feel like performing a juggling act on a treadmill to jump back into school at the age of 26, married, with toddlers. I was pumped for sure but also slightly terrified. There were all sorts of concerns I had thinking about trying to manage a packed schedule of working, studying, keeping a house even slightly organized, and managing two sweet, lovely, yet sometimes monstrous children. Will we have enough money? Will I have enough time to pass my classes? Will our schedule as a family even be compatible with class schedules? Will we maintain sanity? I'm exaggerating a bit, but the fact remains that my wife and I had quite a bit of uncertainty going into a four-year commitment to a completely different pace of life with many challenges we knew we couldn’t foresee.

Finding Community and Support at Covenant

My experience so far at Covenant as a non-traditional student has been one of support, respect, and challenge. The student body has been surprisingly engaged with me despite the fact that I live off campus and am a bit older. The professors have been encouraging and always available to talk and get into the weeds of ideas, and the administration has made my narrow schedule work. I remember sitting down with Rodney Miller in the records office at the beginning of my first semester. He looked me in the eyes and said, “What you’re trying to do is going to be tough and I genuinely care about you, your family, and,” he said with a smile, “yours and your wife’s sanity. I want to do whatever I can to make this work for you.” I knew then that Covenant would be a great fit for me as I pursue a degree in the stage of life that I’m in.

All in all, Covenant has been a caring community that has diligently created an academically rich experience accessible to people, like myself, in different life circumstances.

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