Bye Bye Berrien

This morning, I finished packing up a Toyota Station Wagon and drove out through Snow Road away from Berrien for the last time in a while. I said my final goodbyes, and promised to keep in touch with many of you. I’m not sure whether life’s memories stay where they are made, or whether they follow you wherever you go. In either case, life’s memories should be made together, celebrated together, and shared together.

With that in mind, I am starting this blog. This is a blog about what I’m up to, but also my thoughts about things I am passionate about and those things that have my attention right now. This blog is a digital snapshot of my journey through life–a journey which in many ways had its origins in Berrien Springs. Did I live elsewhere? Yes. I was born in Orlando and grew up in Wisconsin. But I spent my young adulthood in Berrien Springs where I resided from August 2011 until today, 5 June 2016. During that time, I was blessed with some of the greatest friends and memorable experiences I will ever encounter.

To name a few highlights:

  • 2011 October: First surprise birthday of my life
  • 2012 April: A sigh of relief after second semester of Western Heritage with my Honors family
  • 2012 May: South American Spanish Study Tour through foreign languages department
  • 2012 June-July: Summer Research at Australian National University through Physicd department
  • 2012 August: RA training at Meier Hall
  • 2012 September: Started serving as president of the Impressions of the Master Drama ministry, writing and performing skits on campus and abroad.
  • 2012 November: Nina Rambo, a photography student at Andrews inspired me through her work to take my unicycling and chainmaille hobbies more seriously through a series of photoshoots.
  • 2013 Spring: Was interviewed by the school’s envision magazine on how to juggle academic and extracurricular responsibilities while finding time to be unique and enjoy undergrad years.
  • 2013 April: Started dating my now wife after taking over a half dozen courses together in Physics.
  • 2013 Fall to 2014 Spring: Served in Lebanon through the AU student missions program.
  • 2014 March: Declared an Engineering Major thanks to the encouragement from my eventual advisor, Dr. Lovhoiden.
  • 2014 Fall: Began serving with a team in Campus ministries organizing small groups called “Triads”
  • 2015 Fall- 2016 Spring: Served at Meier Hall as a student dean
  • 2016 March: Presented senior physics research on educational games I had developed at the American Physical Society at Baltimore, MD.
  • 2016 April: Presented my Senior Engineering Design Project.
  • 2016 May: Graduated Summa cum Laude with a BSE in Engineering and a BS in Math and Physics, as a J. N. Andrews Scholar.

In compiling this list, I was reminded of just how far my friends, family, and faculty pushed me. None of these things on this list would have been possible if someone had not taken the interest in me, and said “You are special, and I want to help you go farther than you can by yourself.”

There is an African Proverb that says: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” When I first arrived, some thought that I could be finished and out of college in a few short years, but there were many others that partnered with me to develop a love of lifelong learning, and foster an affinity for using my talents for building community and ministry. I believe that these traits are far better than graduating as quickly as possible.

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. - African Proverb

Po and friend say goodbye to Berrien... for now.

So, to thank all of you I met in Berrien, I want to dedicate a blog to you. This is the partial fulfillment of the promise to “keep in touch” I made to many of you at graduation. I hope to show my gratitude to you all by sharing my success. And perhaps even more importantly, to share the lessons I learn through failures–failures in opportunities I would never had if you hadn’t invested in me as much as you did. It was through my failures at Andrews and through your ensuing mentorship that I was able to ever improve and do all that I did at Andrews. And furthermore, I know that in sharing what I’m up, you as my “personal board of advisors” will continue to help me to Seek Knowledge, Affirm Faith, and Change the World.

I thank God for what He has done through you. And although I am saying goodbye to the city of Berrien Springs for now, I am by no means saying goodbye to the people of Berrien Springs.