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Graduates: Amy's Story

24/08/2022

 

Amy studied on our undergraduate degree program and graduated in 2019. She now works to support young people in further education in Northern Ireland.  

Hey Amy, it’s good to hear your story. I’d love to know - some people say they feel really called to study theology. What was it like for you? 

I guess it had always been something I had thought about. But to be honest, I was a bit hesitant about applying; I didn’t even tell anyone I was going to the Open Day! However, going to that and hearing the taster lecture from Dr William Ford was one of the moments that made me realise I really wanted to apply. For a while I was very torn because I had a lot of friends who had studied theology before and who had struggled with it. But then when I got in, I just thought, “Right, that’s that, then.” And off I went! 

You said that some people can find theology very challenging. How did it challenge you? 

Theology has definitely shaped how I view life, people, God, myself. Our year group had people from lots of different backgrounds and ages, and we were all quite vocal and willing to discuss what we believed and why. Experiencing that diversity and trying to learn from and listen to one another was really important. I think it also brought up that tension of how we live in light of our studies, in a ‘faith without works is dead’ kind of way. I often asked myself, “Is what we’re learning here really connecting with what we’re doing in practice?” 

I suppose that’s why studying theology in a Christian community is quite different from studying it in any other academic institution. What did you particularly enjoy about the College?  

I loved the fact that I could really tailor the course to the things I was interested in. I’ve always had a heart for people from different cultures. So, when I did my placements, I was able to work with persecuted Christians from other countries, and homeless people in Dublin. Then in final year, I was able to build on those experiences, and wrote my dissertation on how evangelical churches in Northern Ireland could support asylum seekers and refugees.  

That sounds like a really great opportunity to think through some very practical and topical issues.  

For sure. I think part of doing the dissertation research was also to encourage other people to think about how they view and respond to refugees. I found a number of reoccurring attitudes from the people I surveyed, maybe due to stereotypes or personal experiences they had had.  It was good to help clarify the terminology we use in these situations, and help people think about what the Bible has to say about our response. 

Do you think that your time at the College has had an impact on your life now? 

Definitely. I look back and realise that I’ve had so many opportunities to meet people and love people that are really marginalised. And everything that I learnt at College has really helped me for all the people I met, even now. Learning about God and about who we are in relation to Him gave me spiritual glasses to see that everyone is created in God’s image and that we all have His stamp on us. That changes how I interact with people, even people that are difficult in my day-to-day life. 

Is there anything else you think that God taught you through your time at College?  

I’d say God taught me that when we put ourselves out of our comfort zone, we really see Him work in our lives. I tried to do placements that would challenge me and take me to places I hadn’t been before, and I think it was a way of learning that whenever we are weak, we learn that God is strong. He works more in those moments than I’ve ever seen him work in the times where I think I’ve got it all together.  

You graduated in 2019. Looking back – is this where you thought you’d be now? 

Not at all. I went into college wanting to be a missionary in Asia. But when I got to final year I realised I should probably have some other job to take across the world. My view of what I thought God was leading me into is so different to what I’m doing now. But God has a real way of shaping your journey. My job now involves supporting young people in the workplace, but I didn't realise until I went to the interview that it mostly involved people working in the construction industry. Turns out I had been working in construction for a year, and had all the relevant experience needed for the job. God has such a sense of humour! It’s so clear that He is written over the detail of our lives. 

What would you say to anyone currently studying at the College? 

Get stuck in! Your time at the College is what you make of it. Make sure to engage with people, don’t just stay with your friends. Put yourself out there and try something new, and you’ll really see God at work in your life. He’ll use you in ways you could never imagine. 

 

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