Transfer student Alex: "NNU is doing something right""I was totally set on a state college. I got accepted, and it was cheaper. It was the typical college plan: go for four years and get my degree. I didn't even look at any other colleges," says Alex Kildow in a bubbly, matter of fact way that matches her personality. She is a freshman who just transferred to NNU. "The summer after graduating from high school I got a job and worked full time. Fall came, classes started, and I went to school."
Early on, some trouble with advising confused Alex's plans. "In order to get into the graphic design major, I had to submit a separate application. Then I found out I wouldn't even start taking art classes until my junior year." She switched to the kinesiology program, but when she wanted to change back to art, the registrar's office wouldn't let her. "No one there really helped me or explained anything." She couldn't get any answers.
Academics were at least going better than her dorm life. “I expected living in the dorms would be fun and it would be a great way to meet friends, but instead I felt lonely, and it was hard to not get involved in the party scene because that seemed to be the only thing to do during the weekend.” Alex's bubbly mannerisms are gone.
"The norm was to party and explore substances. At first I was shocked, but then the drug use and overwhelming alcohol consumption by people around me became normal. The worst part was that I started to see myself change as well as my outlook on life. People were bringing me down. I didn't have any connections and couldn't rely on anyone."
Towards the end of the semester Alex had a Samuel experience (I Samuel, Chapter 3). One night she woke up and couldn't get back to sleep. "I have never felt God more clearly. I knew I wasn't where He wanted me to be and that I needed to make a drastic change." Alex fell asleep, but again woke up. “I had felt God’s overwhelming presence once again. I had never felt God so close. I had to go somewhere else, but didn't know where."
Three days before spring classes started, Alex decided to apply to NNU. "Rich Vasquez, my admission counselor, was amazing. I had to get the application done really quickly, but Rich gave me his cell phone number in case I needed anything. He answered all my questions. I told him I was interested in track, so he took me over to the sports complex for a tour. At my other school that would have been weird, but not here. Everyone is so nice, it just shocked me."
"I was able to join the track team full of amazing athletes. More than that, though, the team is super nice. They helped me catch up with how practices ran. They showed me the ropes, and during those first dinners in the Dex, they made space at their table for me to join them." Alex's smile is beaming.
"As a graphic design major, my advisor is Professor Paul Kinsman. On orientation day he helped me with my schedule, showed me around campus and where all my classes would be, and even went with me to get my ID picture taken! Paul and other professors are so passionate about their jobs. Even with all their experience, they are still excited to share their knowledge with students."
Dorm life is going even better than academics. "Honestly, I was kind of freaked out by the 50 or more people who just came up and introduced themselves to me. My RA made a little welcome sign on my door; it was really cute." By this point in the conversation, the energy in Alex's voice is barely contained. Everything she says is all one joyful sentence.
For the next forty minutes Alex recounted the love NNU has shown her. Heartwarming comments seamlessly follow from story after story. All of it was equally hilarious and touching. "On Thursday nights we [dorm wing] draw from a hat, it's more like a beanie, I guess. In the hat (beanie) are plans for what we will do on Spontaneous Saturday. Last week we went to Jump Creek Falls. I am absolutely convinced that NNU is doing something right. I have close friends here after only seven weeks. At my other school I had only acquaintances after an entire semester."
A chat with Alex will be the most uplifting conversation of your week. NNU is blessed to have her.