by Soma college intern Alex Templeton
“You know, we’ve been placing bets in the teachers’ lounge on whether or not you’ll graduate.”
One of my teachers told me this my senior year of high school.
“Most of us are betting against you, and I think they’re right.”
I knew their prediction would probably come true, but didn’t care. Yet somehow months later I proved them wrong and received my diploma, wondering how in the world I made it. I felt I must have had someone on the inside looking out for me. My suspicions were confirmed when I found out a teacher had given me a D when I should have had an F, just so I could graduate.
During my entire time in middle and high school, I had an IEP and received help through almost every class. This on top of knowing a teacher gave me a grade I didn’t earn made me feel that I didn’t accomplish anything and didn’t deserve the diploma. Yet no matter how much I didn’t enjoy, nor succeed in, school, I never second-guessed going to college. I knew I had to go, but I wanted to do it on my own. If I couldn’t finish on my own, I felt would never make it in the real world.
It was a dark time in my life. I registered for a full load, but ended up failing two classes. I was constantly searching, knowing there had to be something more, looking for who God was. For the first time at 19, I started praying to Jesus Christ—that he would come into my life and just give me one day where I wouldn’t smoke. For some reason I knew if I had that one day, I would never smoke again.
I didn’t know much about Christianity, nor did I have a church or any mentors in my life to help guide me. This led to many seasons of doubt, relapses, wandering, and being lost. But I started to seek to Jesus. Over those years I continued to go to school, but altogether I failed or dropped 15 courses. Feeling lost, I took a semester off to rethink my life and what I wanted to do. I knew I had to get closer to God and that I wanted to play football again.
I started to focus on God and set out to read the entire Bible. The more I read the Bible, the more I believed in it and in who Jesus said he was. Three years after I began to pray, I got baptized at the age of 22, yet still without a church or anyone to walk with me in my new life for God.
With no one to aid me in my walk in Christ or struggles in academics, I ended up putting God off. He ranked second or even third during each semester or season of sport. Fortunately, my athletic trainer ran an FCA Bible study with my football team, which I joined my second year. This helped guide me in my walk with Christ and taught me how to seek and live for God on a daily basis.
Later that year, I ended up accepting a scholarship offer from Lincoln University to come and kick for their football team. Coming to Lincoln, I felt lost again, a long way from home and on a team that was falling apart. I kept my faith and soon met Pastor Dave and attended his Bible studies. I also met Pastor Jon and started getting involved with Soma Community Church. Through the two years I attended Lincoln, being involved in these studies and around a godly community kept me afloat and motivated. Eight years after graduating high school and failing many classes along the way, I was able to finish with a 3.6 GPA, graduating with a BS in Wellness as a salutatorian.
One thing is for sure: I did not do this all alone.
I want to help college students with finding a connection with God and joining a community of godly people. It doesn’t matter where, but it matters when. It took me six years to realize that we can’t do this all alone and that we need a network of supporters and encouragers. Although I thank God for all He’s done in my life, had I sought Him with more urgency early on, it would have saved me from a lot of relapses and wandering times. Therefore, if you’re seeking God, wandered from God, lost, or have never known God, I encourage you to find a place that will walk alongside you, disciple you, and show you who He is.
This semester we have a lot going on for students to be invested in and for them to volunteer.
Tuesday, 7pm Bible study @ Baptist Student Center (Pastor Dave)
Wednesday, 7:30 pm Bible study @ SUC ballroom (Pastor Jon/Soma)
Sunday, 11:00 am service @ Baptist Student Center (Soma)
Also on Wednesday nights before Bible study, Soma runs a one-on-tutoring program called Whiz Kids, also at the BSC. For those who’d like to volunteer, click here.
For more information on how to get connected to Christ and community, visit https://somajc.org.