Starting Over – A Return to the Classroom

By Brandon Andrade

Brandon AndradeIn 2015 I found myself with the gruesome desire to pursue post-secondary education. Gruesome, because I had been out of high school for three years, and gruesome, because I hadn’t done particularly well when I was in high school. Yet there I was, working full time at a good job and finding myself longing to be back in a classroom I once longed to depart from.

What does one do when they find themselves in that position? I panicked, that’s what I did. I freaked out, and I suppressed my calling into higher education for 6 months. I felt that I needed a purpose for my education: a reason to go to school and to leave my stable job behind. After all, I thought, learning is a means to an end so that one might do something, isn’t it? Well, I found that purpose when I became a Christian. The day I became a Christian I felt that God called me into ministry. I remember getting home, typing into Google “how to enter ministry,” and being thoroughly confused. I ended up asking my pastor how he did it, and he told me he went to Ontario Bible College (OBC) to get his training. A quick Google search showed me that OBC was now called Tyndale and that entering ministry usually meant going to university first. I found that Tyndale had a university, so I simply applied. It was a means to an end of my goal to enter ministry.

What I learned at Tyndale, as a mature student, was that I was dead wrong. Education is not merely a means to an end. Learning is not merely a prerequisite for doing something but rather it is a way of living life to the full extent of your very being. I found myself surrounded by people – many younger than me, but many my age or older – yearning to learn more and to ask deep insightful questions. Subjects I once despised (English) became classes I couldn’t wait for. I wasn’t getting amazing grades, but I felt more alive than I ever had. High school was like a distant memory of what education didn’t have to be, and Tyndale was like the realization that education can be something so amazing, so inspiring, and so much fun!

It wasn’t a miraculous change of my nature that brought about a love of learning, nor was it a desire to get a job or succeed at school with great marks. It was simply taking that step and entering a world where I could learn, and learn safely. Does it help that there were many other mature students in my classes? Yes. Does it help that I was surrounded by Christians who longed to love God with their minds? Yes. Does it help that my professors would begin their lectures with a prayer? Yes. Did I need to be called into ministry to experience a life-changing pursuit of education? No. You don’t need to be certain of what it is you want to do with what you learn. It’s enough to simply want to learn and to take that step towards educating yourself. As a mature student who came with bad grades in high-school (which, by the way, I never finished) and who had not written an exam or an essay for over 3 years, I couldn’t imagine myself being excited to start the second semester – but I was. I’m no genius; I just decided to take the step. So what’s stopping you?

Click here to find out more about applying to Tyndale as a mature student.

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