Sunday, May 16, 2010


Yes, it happened. I am now officially a BA. (Joke stolen from BrittaLisa Gess.)

What to say? It feels good. Not The Best Most Awesome Thing Ever, but pretty good.

I spent my last few days of college exactly the way I wanted to: hanging out with old and new friends, eating out at La Fiesta, Pizza Ranch and Pizza Hut, drinking beer (and sometimes coffee), watching South Park reruns, arguing about Marxism, reminiscing about freshman year, making impromptu trips to Sioux Falls, going to terrible movies (Iron Man 2), rooting through dumpsters, and trying to foist old food on other people. Now I'm at home, without any tests to study for, textbooks to read, meetings to go to, or papers to write. It's a beautiful thing. It really is.

When I first got home, I spent four days going through all the junk I brought back from college and all the junk I left at home, trying to get rid of all my unnecessary possessions, and organize what was left. A lot of that junk was old college assignments. I took my time going through those old papers and deciding which to save. It was an interesting journey through my academic life so far. I'm happy to report that both my writing and my belief system have improved noticeably since I was a freshman. I learned a ton at college. My worldview was stretched and pushed every which way, and completely shattered once or twice, but I am, I hope, much wiser for it. In that sense, I consider my college career a success.

A side effect of all that learning was a big dose of humility. I'm a lot less cocksure than I was as a freshman. (I like that word. "Cocksure." It works.) In the middle of finals week, Alvin, Shena, David K. and I got invited to be on President Zylstra's radio show "Conversations." Dr. Zylstra mentioned that college surveys show that a comparatively high percentage of Dordt College alumni say their beliefs were tested at school, but that an equally high percentage of Dordt alumni are very sure in their beliefs. Put me in the first box, but definitely not the second. At the beginning of my semester in the Middle East, a British ex-pat pastor told my group, "I know only two things for certain: Christ is Lord, and I am here to serve him." Wishy-washy liberal hogwash, freshman-Joel would say. Yeah, that's pretty much it, BA Joel says. "Decide what you believe now, while you have the luxury to spend time thinking about it," our fall convocation speaker advised us. Oops.

My college experience definitely did not equip me to offer answers. If anything, it equipped me to ask the right questions. Further study is required. Grad school? (Sigh).

So, that's that, I suppose. A big thank you to my parents, my relatives, my college friends and my professors. I probably would have gone crazy without you. Much love to you all.

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'"
- Isaiah 30:21

الحمد لله

Praise be to God.


  1. Joel, glad to hear things are going well. Praise be to God indeed!