A transfer student from Florida State College in Jacksonville, English major Emily Grooms, a senior, has distinguished herself in many ways as a model student. She sat down recently with TMCNews to reflect on her sojourn at Truett-McConnell, and to chat about where she is headed from here.
Q: Why did you choose Truett-McConnell College?
A: I didn't at first. Between my junior and senior years at a Christian high school in my hometown, I felt convicted by God that I would be leaving to attend a Christian college away from home. And I didn't like that. I wanted to stay home. I love my family and love being with my family. Even though I had heard of Truett-McConnell, I enrolled at Florida State College in Jacksonville.
I wanted to be a physical therapist, so one of my first classes was anatomy/physiology. My professor was blatant about his atheism, and this was very different from my high school experience.
I also had a human growth and development class that was discussion based. Students would say things that showed no reference or knowledge of God. And I could tell right away the professor's worldview was so flawed. I thought, "How am I supposed to listen to her when she doesn't have the foundation of the Bible?"
Q: So, you had a change of mind about
where to get your college education?
A: Yes. What I was hearing in the classroom in Florida convinced me to get an education grounded in a biblical foundation and taught in a Christian atmosphere. Also, my gifting is not in physiology. I love English and I love to write.
Q: That's why you're now an English major at Truett-McConnell?
A: Yes, partially. But the biggest reason is prayer. That's why I'm here. Part of my prayer was that God would allow me to play volleyball as I had done in my high school years. God put TMC on my heart, and I transferred even though there was no volleyball program. Then, near the end of my first year, our college announced the start of a volleyball program. I was completely dumbfounded because God remembered my desires. He allowed me to play the sport I love for a college that desires to represent Him and bring honor to His name.
Q: You played basketball at TMC, too, right?
A: Yes, I had played basketball in high school and I loved it. But it was all the running and my lack of zeal for the sport that deterred me from playing when I came to TMC.
Coach Megan Price asked me to play for her on the junior varsity team, and after much consideration I reluctantly consented and then gained an enormous blessing.
I quickly began to love basketball again for one reason: the love of Christ that Coach Price has for her girls. This isn't simply a love for their talents but a desire to see them know, and grow in, the Lord while using their talents for the Lord.
All of our coaches at TMC do care about winning, but they're more concerned with the condition of their players' hearts than the points they score in a game. I have been blessed to see Coach Price's heart as she's modeled the characteristics of a great coach. I hope to take these upon myself one day as a coach.
Q: What about your classroom experiences?
A: The attitude of our coaches transcends from the gym and is evident in the classroom among our faculty members, too. I never enjoyed history so much until I took an upper level history class with Mrs. Janice Justus. She teaches her students to look for the truth while studying history. This is why I love my classes: We not only get a great education, but we learn the truth -- an education built on the foundation of God's Word.
Q: You mentioned a love for writing.
Is that career in your future?
A: I sure hope so. Last summer I was a reporter for Baptist Press at the Southern Baptist Convention in New Orleans. That's because I also was a summer intern for the Florida Baptist Witness in my hometown. It was through this experience that God made clear what He wants for my life: He wants me to use the writing talent He's given me to bring
praise and honor to His name while also leading others closer to Him.
This all started when I applied for a freelance writing job for Truett-McConnell's Office of Communication.
All these blessings are topped by a part-time writing job I will have at our college. Starting June 1, I will be TMC's sports information director. My responsibilities will include writing press releases, news and feature stories, and keeping our athletic site (www.tmcbears.com) updated.
I also need to mention Dr. Caner. He has had a tremendous impact on my life, and he probably doesn't even realize it because he was instrumental in helping me get the summer internship with the Florida Baptist Witness. Because of Dr. Caner's open door policy, I met with him about the internship and what the future may hold for me in the writing industry. I don't know of another school where students can talk with the president about the direction of their future.
Q: You noted some specific blessings regarding your time at Truett-McConnell College? Are there others?
A: More than I can say. My family and I knew God had something special for me here before I ever stepped on campus; and since then, God has continued to provide for, and bless my family and me.
God has used Truett-McConnell to give me direction in my life. Whether through personal relationships inside the classroom, or with faculty members, volleyball or basketball coaches -- though their love and obedience God has shown me His faithfulness and not only met my needs, but has gone above and beyond to provide me with things I didn't know I needed.
God has used TMC to strengthen my faith in Him as well as my knowledge and understanding of who He is. He's taught me by the obedience of others what it takes to serve Him.
There are still many uncertainties concerning my long-term, future endeavors, but because of God's faithfulness in the past I choose to trust Him with my future. Thankfulness doesn't quite accurately describe my sentiments, but I am thankful for how God has used the people of Truett-McConnell to make an impact in my life. To them I say, "Thank you for investing your hearts into this school."
God is changing lives and using students to praise His name.