I am a first-year student, but I just turned 26 in the summer. I moved to Hamilton to come to Redeemer and am living alone for the first time in my life, a lot of big changes all at the same time.
Ever since I was 12, I have loved horseback riding. When I was in high school, I got really involved at the barn I was taking lessons from and started working there part-time on the weekends. After graduating from high school, I studied online through Guelph University to earn a diploma in Equine Studies while taking on a full-time job at the barn. My role at the barn continued to evolve to the point where I spent the majority of my time there. You name it, I did it. For a time, I truly was doing my ideal job. I would think, “How lucky am I that I get to go to work everyday and do what I love? How many people can say that?” However, my attitude began to change, and sometimes I would catch myself thinking, “There must be something more than this.” I would quickly dismiss these thoughts as I felt like if I ever did anything other than work at the barn, I would be betraying the owner and giving up on a place I loved and felt like home.
A lot of people reflect on all the bad things that COVID-19 has brought about, which is true, but for myself, personally, I see it as a huge blessing. It was through this situation that a big shift started to happen and that I was presented with new opportunities and a lot more time to consider where I was going in life. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the structure of my work at the barn changed drastically, and I found that I had a lot of free time on my hands. I spent a lot of time talking with my best friend, Emily, who pointed out to me—in a very loving way—that somewhere along the way doing something that I loved became something that was causing a lot of stress and anxiety in my life. My relationship with the owner of the barn began to deteriorate as I realized how tied down to my job I was. I really had no time or space to pursue my own passions.
I have always loved school and the idea of learning new things and challenging myself. More and more I began to toy with the idea of returning to school. In January, I applied to a few different schools, Redeemer being one of them. I didn’t even know what I wanted to study, so I applied for a general arts degree. As I was looking through the list of courses I had a “lightbulb” moment: I saw the ‘psychology’ section, and I knew that was what I wanted to study. The only person I told about applying to Redeemer was Emily. It wasn’t until I accepted my offer of admission that I told my parents.
It was really painful to quit my job. It was probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do and honestly something I couldn’t have done without God helping me through it. I still think back to that day and the conversation and wonder how I even did it—I am not a very confrontational person at all, but somehow these words just came pouring out of me. Somehow I was able to just speak what I wanted to without any hindrance; it’s amazing to me still that I was able to do that. It almost feels like it wasn’t even me talking, it was just God giving me the words and courage.