It has been more than eight months since my graduation from Providence last year. These eight months have given me a great deal of time to reflect on my Providence education and to ask myself the simple question, “Was it worth it?” Was it worth the expense of a private education? Was it worth going to a school that was unaccredited? Was it worth going so far from home? All of these questions have dogged me since I left Providence. Add to that the fact that I’m still working an average job unrelated to my degree, and you might not be too surprised to find some regret and second-guessing on my part. In the end, however, Providence was far and away the most worthwhile and useful experience I could have ever asked for from a college education.
The more I reflect on my time at Providence, the more I realize its value. At the moment, I am not doing exactly what I want to be doing for a living, but that does not mean that I am not using my education. I have used the knowledge I gleaned at Providence every day since I graduated. At Providence, I learned to think critically and to engage the world around me. I was prepared to take on the world around me as a worker, husband, citizen, church member, friend, consumer, and servant. I was given guidance to cultivate the knowledge and values I had learned from my parents into a coherent worldview that was truly my own and firmly grounded in God’s Word. For these reasons, I believe that Providence was (and still is) the best college available.
True, I could have gone to cheaper, more prestigious, and better equipped schools, but there was something about Providence that drew me in, and kept me there. That “something” was the completeness of the education coupled with staff and faculty who believed in Providence and it’s mission. Providence was not simply there to train me as a historian, but to train me to analyze and engage history as a Christian should, and then to put that knowledge to use in my own life. This was accomplished through weekend experiences, in-class lectures and discussions, and the opportunity to observe a Reformed worldview lived out daily by the professors and staff. On top of this, Providence was home to a community that continues to be unmatched anywhere.
The friends I made in this close community were unlike any others I had known in my life. I met people who were serious about their Christian walk, their education, and their friendships. This is partly because of the kind of people that Providence attracts, but largely due to the way Providence trains and inspires its students. Providence’s unique education style and the unmatched character of its staff and faculty, cause students to quickly mold into the community and become a part of the structure that is Providence. The quality of the students, the education, and the uniqueness of the community brought me face to face with Christian men and women who are more like family than friends.
In the end, even though I’m not doing work related to my field of study, I believe that Providence was worth the sacrifice. Despite the fact that I am not directly using my education in my work for the time being, I still use the knowledge I gained at Providence every day. I no longer live in the community of Providence, but I have more friends that I love and care about than I can keep up with on a regular basis. I praise God for his work in my life accomplished through Providence. I admonish the students of Providence to enter whole-heartedly into its community and its classes. Stay away from cliques and divisiveness and love one another as the body of Christ. I have no doubt that you will find in Providence every joy and happiness that I experienced, and continue to experience.
In Christo Omnia Nova,
Andrew T. Fisher