The “Portrait of an Alum” blog series gives a glimpse of life after graduation, with a particular emphasis on our students’ readiness for the transition to college and how their affections and outlook have been shaped through their experiences, teachers and Christian community at Veritas. In this profile, Director of Communications Sara Kennedy interviews recent graduate Christa Schuping, a Freshman at the University of South Carolina.
SK: At Veritas, you were involved in everything – athletics, House leadership, summer sports camp, the arts … what does your outside-the-classroom life look like at the University of South Carolina?
CS: Very full! I am part of several organizations: Carolina Productions, InterVarsity, a small group Bible study offered by my church, intramural sand volleyball, Changing Carolina Peer Leaders and am a rookie in the University Ambassadors program. I am particularly excited about the Peer Leaders and Ambassador programs, as they allow me to help students enjoy a healthy transition to university life – not just from a wellness perspective, but also socially, emotionally and spiritually.
I am a person who likes to be busy – to make a difference where I am. I want Columbia to feel like home; to do that, I need to help make it a place I want to live – and want to enthusiastically invite others to consider, too.
Bottom line, a big reason I have time and space in my schedule to do so many activities outside the classroom is the education I received at Veritas.
SK: Great segue … so, how do you think Veritas prepared you to make your own transition to USC?
CS: Academically, I definitely feel I’ve been given an advantage many of my peers don’t have – I know how to study, to think logically and to reason critically. Even though I complained to no end about the many rhetoric assignments we were given in 9th – 12th grades, I cannot overstate how helpful this has been to me. From class participation to interviews for the opportunities I want to pursue at USC, the years of practice at Veritas took me from a terrified high school freshman to a confident college freshman.
SK: It sounds like USC is a great fit for you. Any advice for our Juniors and Seniors as they near the end of their time at Veritas and consider where to apply to college?
CS: For me, finding a good college was about knowing myself. I am just happier in warm weather, I love SEC sports and I needed a scholarship. USC offered all this and so much more. Everyday, I find another reason to love this school. Go Gamecocks!
For my friends at Veritas, I’d offer this:
Be intentional. Don’t just “get through” the next event, the next game, the next assignment. I wish I had taken more time to slow down, to get the most out of my education and the opportunities around me.
Build good habits now. Make the effort to be disciplined in your studies, in your faith and in your relationships with real live people – not just via social media. While I love USC, there is so much apathy in our generation. People constantly ask me “why do you care?”; I take this as a challenge to help motivate them to see the opportunities around them. I am also amazed at the pervasiveness of technology in every aspect of our lives. Remember to put your phone down and enjoy the beauty around you – in nature and in people.
Get involved in a local church and campus ministry. While its more common in southern colleges to go to church, there are still many who don’t. My church is really smart – they actually send a shuttle to our dorms, and provide breakfast when we arrive. I get to see families at church – not just the 18 – 22 year olds I see everyday on campus! InterVarsity has been great, too. It is only 2 years old at USC, but everyone is so welcoming and friendly. I really feel known and accepted, and from the welcome I’ve received, I can extend it to others as well.
Know yourself. Remember that you are not competing with your classmates at Veritas – pray that the Lord will show you the right next step for how you are wired, what you love, what motivates you, what will help you grow. If that next step happens to involve checking out an awesome southern university, look me up! It would be an honor to show you around.