Friday, October 24, 2014

Letter to the Editor: Liberty then and now

Alumna Julleanna Seely reflects on her time at Liberty and gives recommendations to current students

Be warned, Liberty student. Ten years will pass quickly.

You will be in your 30s, standing in front of DeMoss thinking, “Has a decade really passed since I was here?”

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At least, that is how I felt after returning to the Liberty campus for only the second time since I graduated 10 years ago. It is truly shocking and quite impressive how much a place can change in that amount of time.

Returning “home” to Liberty during Homecoming was a bit like time travel. Suddenly, everything I have done and all the places I have been faded to the background as my mind’s eye relived my experiences from those four years I spent at Liberty.

I was just you. Dreaming big, studying hard and experiencing the daily joys and trials of college life – all with the full potential of what life could offer right in front of me.

Now, I want to caution you. Do not take these precious years for granted. Soak in the wisdom from your professors and countless speakers, and appreciate the fellowship of friends. You will miss that.

There is so much more to do at Liberty. Ten years ago,————— there was no Campus East or Campus North, and the Hancock Welcome Center was readily overlooked. You have an ice rink, skiing, pools and impeccable sports fields all around you to keep you active. These are all wonderful things, most of which are new to me, but they are just things.

People are what matter. I encourage you to invest your college years into building relationships with people who can be a support and friend to you for years to come. You have the best opportunity for that right now. I only had the chance to see a few people I knew during my visit, but that was the best part by far.

The familiar faces will be welcome as LU continues to grow and change. It was almost difficult to find places that were familiar to me 10 years ago, hidden amidst the grandeur of what this campus has become.

But I found those familiar places.

The Circle Dorms 26, 27 and 28 are where I stayed all four years. Those long halls and cinder block walls became home to me. Shout out to those of you living there now!

The Champion office looked much the same when I stopped in to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the paper as it did when I served as editor-in-chief my senior year. This year’s staff seemed great, and Deborah Huff continues to be an exceptional advisor.

The Vines Center is mostly as I remember. Though it is sad to think that Dr. Jerry Falwell, Sr. no longer takes the stage. I can still hear him detailing his dreams for Liberty and his vision of training hundreds of thousands of champions for Christ. Though he is no longer with us, his dream seems more alive than ever.

The Prayer Chapel was the final and most familiar place. It sits on that hill so unassuming in its refreshing simplicity. The dark interior still holds the same wooden pews and humble stage with a piano tucked in the corner. This was the place where I felt most at home.

It is a place that is easily overlooked, but you should go there sometime. Alone. And pray. It can quiet your spirit in the midst of any storm.

It is in those quiet moments alone in his presence where you are truly given the strength to become a champion. You are here for a reason, Liberty student. Make the most of your next 10 years.

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