2004 SBU Language and Literature Alumni
"I spent the last two years teaching high school Spanish in Shelbina, Missouri. Currently, I am expanding my academic and professional horizons by pursuing a degree in nursing. Eventually, my husband and I hope to use our love for people, education, and Christ as overseas missionaries working with Bible translation.
Studying English and Spanish at SBU has impacted me both professionally and personally. In my classroom, I constantly use language analysis skills to communicate important grammatical and literary ideas to my students. Without the countless hours of writing essays, taking notes, studying for quizzes, examining literary devices, and diagramming sentences that were required of me as an undergraduate, I would lack the skills and experience necessary to effectively teach my students.
Personally, my English degree presented me with a concrete illustration of how I should approach my relationship with God. Each exploration of a poem, story, or novel reveals new shades of meaning to an attentive reader. Therefore, really understanding literature requires spending time with the text. Similarly, intimate fellowship with God requires spending time with Him in worship, prayer, and Bible study on a continual basis. If understanding man’s works requires more than one reading, how much more does comprehending the vastness of the Heavenly Father demand careful, constant contemplation?
Also, my studies provided an example of God’s patience and faithfulness in refining my life. At SBU, I learned that writing well required more that a cup of coffee and a night with a computer. In order to produce quality work, I had to spend weeks researching, prewriting, editing, revising, and revising again. Even when I thought I had written an excellent paper, another reading would reveal an idea to tweak or punctuation to correct. I was not proofreading my work merely to look for errors; rather, I was searching for areas in which I could improve what I had created. I invested my time into my writing because I wanted to produce quality work in which I could take pride.
Likewise, God’s transforming work in my life is not a finite process. Because He loves me immensely, God molds, shapes, and sometimes breaks my life so that in the end, I will be a showcase of His glory. God lovingly looks at my life day after day, moment after moment, seeking out my weaknesses not so He can belittle me, but so He can transform me into His perfect masterpiece."
Melissa Beever, 2004