“Too Expensive, Too Close to Home, Too Small, and Too Christian”

My Path to Redeemer

By: Helana Mulder, reporter

   Two years ago, I hated Redeemer. I didn’t want anything to do with the school. It was too expensive, too close to home, too small, and too Christian. It wasn’t even an option on my list of possible schools to go to after high school. Now, I have just started my second year at Redeemer and couldn’t be more excited to be back. Everything that pushed me away from Redeemer before has become the reasons why I love it so much except for the “too expensive” part; that still bites.

    So, how did I go from hating the school to counting down the days until I would go back? Well, it goes back to grade 11, when my dad first mentioned Redeemer to me. My dad was a student at Dordt and Calvin, so he loved the idea of one of his children following in his footsteps and pursuing Christian post-secondary education. I had told him that I wasn’t considering Redeemer and I never wanted to. It was a touchy subject between my dad and I, so we avoided it as often as we could after that.

   Then, the parents of current Redeemer students started talking to me about the school. I listened politely, but I secretly wanted to tell them that I didn’t care how great their child’s experience was; I wasn’t going to go. I also started to receive emails and letters from Redeemer about their programs. I couldn’t get away. I couldn’t breathe. It felt overwhelming to have so many outside sources talking to me about a school that I wanted nothing to do with.

   The day that completely changed my mind about Redeemer was an Open House day in November 2016 for students interested in the school. I had shown up with two of my friends because it was a way of getting out of classes for the day and because Tim, my admissions counselor, had promised us free t-shirts.

    I had no idea that I would leave Redeemer that day seriously considering going to it. From the amazing tour guide that showed us the ins and outs of the campus, to hear about experiences from students themselves, it was a great day. I left Redeemer that day with a nagging voice that sounded a lot like my dad saying, “I told you that you’d like it.”

    A week later I went to tour Western’s campus, which was the school at the top of my list. I was almost convinced that Western was the school for me. It was big, secular, top-rated, and just a train ride away from home. My mom and I toured the school and, at one point, got completely lost on its massive campus. I was completely overwhelmed. After visiting the school, I left disheartened. The school I had held so high in my head now felt too big, too secular, and too far from home. It was everything I thought I wanted and everything that I realized wasn’t for me. It was after this that Redeemer replaced Western as my first choice.

   The end of November was around the time when the guidance counselor at my high school was talking about applying to colleges and universities. The website that she set us up on let us apply to three universities for one fee of $150. As I looked through the confusing list of schools and programs, I once again felt overwhelmed. None of the universities appealed to me and I, being the Dutch person I am, was hesitant to drop that much money to apply to schools I wasn’t sure about. I then remembered that Redeemer’s application process was free. It was the only school I applied to in the end. I figured I would go to Redeemer for one year, for the experience, and then transfer the following year.

   Getting into Redeemer was like a dream come true. I knew once I opened the letter and saw that I had been accepted that it was where I was meant to be. The feeling has grown so much stronger now that I have been here. While it hasn’t always been easy and glamorous, the people I have met at Redeemer are friends that I consider life-long. They have shaped me in more ways than I could have ever expected. Halfway through my first year, I knew that Redeemer was the school that I was meant to be at for all four years. It is such an amazing feeling to have a place where you feel at home even while you are away from home. It was by God’s providence that I came to Redeemer and grew so much closer to Him. Even though I sometimes have my doubts, I know that God wanted me here for a reason; that is something I can’t deny.