Four years ago I visited Cornerstone knowing nothing about it. I had traveled from Illinois to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to visit colleges in the area and added Cornerstone to my list of visits on a whim. As soon as I stepped foot onto campus, it felt like home. That first feeling became the reality for the entirety of my college career.
I grew up in a small town in Illinois. As a senior in high school, I was very ready to go somewhere else. I was looking for a Christian college where I could grow in my faith, learn more about myself and make lifelong friends. I remember the night before Cornerstone’s arrival day thinking that my life would never be the same in the best way, and I was right. Getting to Cornerstone, I met so many people. I pushed myself beyond my comfort zone and sought to do everything. I am so grateful that I did. I don’t regret a single late night or extracurricular I joined or relationship that I formed. Everything has led up to who I am today.
Choosing to Make a Difference
There were definitely struggles throughout my time at CU and there was a period where I thought about transferring. I know a lot of freshmen do this regardless of what school they are attending. But I knew there was more for me at Cornerstone. Coming out of my freshman year, I made a conscious decision that I was going to pour as much into Cornerstone as I could to leave it better than when I first arrived.
I was able to go on a leadership trip to Colorado with some of the leaders from student development and ten other students. On this trip we talked about leadership and how we had the ability to shape culture at Cornerstone. We shared our stories and found such freedom in vulnerability, all in the midst of the beautiful Colorado mountains on our backpacking trip.
That experience gave me fresh perspectives and a passion to pursue making a difference. Throughout my time at Cornerstone, I had the privilege of being involved in many areas. I was on the student events team for CUSO (Cornerstone University Student Offices) and was able to plan events for the entire student body. I had the opportunity to plan Mixed Threads which is an event celebrating the many cultures represented at Cornerstone through a talent show and fashion show. It was so cool to be in charge of the planning process for months and then see all of our efforts pay off in an event that was a huge success.
I was also part of Enactus which is a national social entrepreneurship student organization. I got to be a member of the presentation team and present on our projects at both the regional and national level. I then went on to be a project leader for EsperanzArt, a ministry located in Quito, Ecuador, that houses women who have been sexually abused or trafficked. The women who are part of the ministry make jewelry and sell it. My team and I were in charge of facilitating their website, marketing, social media, networking and the shipping and inventory of the product. My co-leader and I were able to visit Ecuador to meet the women and our contact there. It was one of my favorite things I have ever done.
I also got to be a part of Terra Firma as a leader to freshmen, which I loved. I worked for the admissions office, the weight room and food services. For the past year and a half, I have had the opportunity to work for the marketing department as a student blogger and would love to continue pursuing writing and marketing in the future.
Met By Love
The thing that made the biggest impact on me and I believe made the biggest impact on Cornerstone’s campus is Met By Love. After attending a twelve hour worship night in Spring Arbor, Michigan, where I experienced such freedom in worship, I knew I wanted the same thing for our campus. There were other friends of mine that had the same desire and we came together to create Met By Love, a weekly worship night that met every Monday at 9 p.m.
We had the privilege of seeing people give their lives to the Lord as well as be healed, baptized and have countless other breakthroughs. The Holy Spirit was guiding our ministry and continued to pour favor on it. It wasn’t anything special, just some college kids getting together in a classroom. We only had two guitars and a cajon, some lamps and string lights. The only thing that brought us together was our desire to worship Jesus.
I learned so much in the leadership of that ministry. I was pushed towards Jesus by those around me who were hungry for more of Him. I learned what a relationship with Jesus truly looks like.
The friends that I made through Met By Love are lifelong. I truly believe I have the best friends in the whole world. I got to live with them all on campus and now am living in a house off campus with nine other girls. The memories that we made then and now will last forever and I cannot imagine my life without my community.
They are the ones that push me to be a better woman and a better lover of Jesus. They encourage and challenge me at the same time. They believe in me and my potential.
Relationship with Jesus
Many people say they want to go to a Christian college so they can grow their relationship with Jesus. I will say I am walking out a completely different person than when I came in and it’s because of Him. I love spending time with Him and desire to be more like Him. My relationship with Jesus is not dependent on my time at Cornerstone and will not change because I graduated, but I have experienced the most beautiful growth and understanding in my time at CU.
I am so grateful that Cornerstone is a place where I was able to pursue my passions and have countless opportunities. I know that I learned so much inside and outside of the classroom that will benefit me in my career, ministry, and life.
So, while graduation isn’t what I expected it to be, I am thankful for the time I have had. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.