The month of August and each new school year bring great excitement. Our faculty and staff are excited. Returning students are excited, and although typically nervous and anxious, our new students also bring some level of excitement. I am always amazed as I watch our campus transition from a quiet place to a place buzzing with excitement as our students descend on our campus from all over the country and world in only a matter of a few hours.
Our director of admissions is an unsung hero on our campus. Although she rarely gets to be a part of the fruit and see the end result of her labor, her work is invaluable. Our admissions office works diligently 12 months a year to bring new students to our campus, but they work especially hard in the months of July and August. Every new student represents an extensive amount of time on the phone as well as meeting all of our paperwork requirements.
As we receive new students each August, I am reminded of the work our mothers and wives do each year to provide a bountiful meal each Thanksgiving. All of their work is gobbled up in 15-20 minutes and then more work begins with the cleanup. This Thanksgiving portrait is similar to the work that must be done at Oneida after each new student arrives.
As we welcome, tour and interview new students, I am reminded that much work has already been done and that a different work is just beginning. Many new students and their families are uneasy as they face the reality of being left to someone else’s care at Oneida. We often see bewildered and sad looks on the faces of these new folks, but we also see looks of hope and great anticipation. A new beginning at Oneida oftentimes represents a fresh start and the opportunity to change one’s life course.
I always advise our new students to get involved and participate in as much as they can. This helps their transition and enables them to make new friends very quickly. I also advise our new students to notice how our returning students seem as they return to campus. They most often appear thrilled to see their friends and excited to be back. Many young people will say they do not like school, but I believe they really do because they enjoy being with their friends. Some do enjoy learning, but it is the Oneida friendships that help make this a special place.
Please pray for all of our students and especially the brand new students who are beginning their journey with us. Many of them still need to find Jesus as Lord and many have areas needing improvement. Pray that the excitement of new beginnings never grows old as we continue in our calling.