From a Number to a Name - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)
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January 19, 2016

From a Number to a Name

What would you say if I told you that I was assigned a number as my identity? And what if I told you that my number, 0127 if we want to get technical, was how my professors called on me and took attendance in their class. This standardized form of classroom interaction might have been convenient, especially in a lecture hall with 300 students, but being assigned 0127 as my academic identity wasn’t what I signed up for.

As you probably already assumed, I am no longer at that school and I want to tell you about my journey from being 0127 to Celia Harris, who majors in Communication and takes her coffee with cream and sugar.

Lost in a Crowd

I never fully realized the importance of community before I came to Geneva. Being assigned a number at my “ex-college” wasn’t all that led me to have the desire to transfer. I wasn’t being fed in the spiritual sense. Overall, I had no community, and it wasn’t because I was some loner weirdo who never stepped out of her comfort zone to make friends. It was more that there wasn’t a strong community of believers. Granted, I did make some amazing friends in the Campus Crusade for Christ meetings and I was attending a solid church, but something just didn’t seem right.

So, much to the objection of my friends, I deferred my enrollment and took an obligatory “gap year.” This is where it gets interesting. In the course of that year of playing hooky from adulting, I traveled, worked, slept, learned to cook Italian food, shoveled snow, and took core classes at my local community college, all with the notion that I would transfer the following academic year.

And then I visited Geneva, applied, got accepted, and moved from Maine to Pennsylvania. OK, so I was looking at exclusively Christian colleges, but Geneva stood out because they stressed faith integration on every single interaction I had with them: follow-up calls, student admissions counselor calls, my phone interview, and even on my tour when I stepped onto campus for the first time. Geneva is truly where academia and spiritualty come together and thrive, and I found a community that cares so much for my spiritual growth and well-being in addition to academics.

So, where am I now? I have spent the past three years at Geneva, with a circle of friends whom I never imagined I would be as close to as I am. In every class I take, my faith is stretched and exercised, which has helped to form an identity in Christ.

Being a number on a screen was my identity, but now I am reminded that my identity is in Christ as I continue to pursue an academic career with a community of believers. I am living as a recognized daughter of the risen King in a community of believers. Geneva’s mission is not to assign numbers, but to assign an identity in Christ to each one of the students who attend and that identity is so incredibly valuable to experiences and relationships that are formed at Geneva. 

Celia Harris '16

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