Dear ACU Freshmen,
Welcome to Abilene, Texas! A place that will change who you are, and at times make you wonder, “Why on earth, did I come to west Texas?” I remember as it was yesterday arriving in January of 2010 as a transfer student from Schreiner University to Abilene Christian. I was looking for a fresh start, somewhere to make a difference. This is a letter I wanted to write to you as you consider your time at ACU and what choices to make, and what Abilene Christian is all about. Following are questions that have been asked to me during the previous Welcome Week. Please ask any more questions that you wish for me to answer.
Is there a bubble surrounding ACU?
Plastic? No, but at times there feels like there will be a bubble surrounding campus. Embrace it at times, and more often than not, get out and discover Abilene. Go do neighbor to neighbor in a poor part of town. Go do Meals on Wheels and visit with the lonely, with which you could be their only interaction all day.
Do I need to join a social club?
I will point out before I answer this question that I am not in a social club. But, I am not against them either; I’m in fact quite neutral on the issue. First, you do not need to join a social club to be successful on campus or to get involved, I tend to think I came out okay, and I didn’t join a club. But I live with a club guy, and have friends in all club, they are all wonderful people. When you consider pledging your sophomore year ask yourself why do you want to join a club, and truly evaluate your reasons, because each club is different, as are you as an individual. I have seen several people who truly had wonderful club experiences, and have seen others where club truly changed them as a person and what they stood for.
If you do choose to pledge, remember your identity is not in a club.
Do I have to go to chapel every day?
Technically, no you do not have to go every day. But, you do need to go the majority of the time, you have to achieve the highly sought after target of 55 credits a day. There are also forums at night, where you can receive up to 3 credits at one sitting, and there are ways in which you can serve in replacement to going to chapel. For example you can deliver meals on wheels once a week instead of going to chapel. Also, if you are working during that time, (usually it has to be off campus) you can get a chapel exemption. You will never be exempt from all of your credits, you will always have to go to at least 12 days of chapel, or get 12 credits in some form or fashion.
A quick note on how I feel about chapel:
Chapel is wonderful, and you will at times get bored with it, be distracted by others on their phone and their talking, but remember when you walk into chapel you are entering into a time of worship, a time of community worship where we get the privilege to take a break from our busy days and worship God. Think about the God you know and love when you walk into Moody.
Where should I go and eat?
This is one of my favorite questions, but I will just target food styles on this one.
For Mexican food, go to Los Arcos on Ambler, it is amazing!
For a burger, go to Wholly Cow on Judge Ely or Lucy’s on Treadaway
For a date, take her to Beehive in downtown Abilene
For a cheap place, go to Little Panda & Rosas.
For a place where you will not be able to move, go to Bells Chicken House on the west side of Ambler, all you can eat sides with fried chicken, or my favorite the chicken fried ribeye.
How are you a business major at a Christian college?
When I first arrived at ACU I went through the whole “Should I be a Bible Major panic?” One thing that allowed me to be a peace with the decision were two quotes I heard one was from A.W. Tozer:
“It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular; it is why he does it.”
The second quote came from Dr. Rick Lytle, dean of College of Business Administration when he said, “More people go to work, than church.”
These two quotes have made me come to peace about not being a defined Bible major, but I do consider myself to be a missions major, and that is what’s so great about ACU. The professors and staff make you think missionally about anything you want to do in your life.
Are girls coming here strictly for their Mrs. degree?
Of course there are some here, but don’t let that be the focus of any dating relationship you get here on campus. Also, this is going to sound radical, you do not have to date and get married here, or ever. There is a huge myth that to be successful, on graduation day, you need to have 1. A diploma 2. A job and 3. A spouse. I would highly recommend getting the first two, but the third do as you want, and live your life how you want to live it. Not how your parents or grandparents want you to live your life. If that is something you desire in the short term, my blessings on your search, but don’t force anything.
How do I find a church home?
There are over 600 churches in Abilene, with all of them uniquely different. From Beltway that has 1,000’s of members to Hamby that has less than a 100. From a church that is deaf and uses sign language to a church that is charismatic and speaks in tongues, you will find plenty of diversity here in Abilene. Go and explore and find community. If you have one bad experience, do not let that discourage you from going somewhere else, or even trying that church again. Go to a place where you don’t just sit in a pew, but you help contribute to that churches growth.
Remember, you will never find a church that looks exactly like you.
What’s the best piece of advice you can give me?
1. Enjoy your scraped knees. You will fail, and fall down, and hurt, and cry maybe in the first week of school. Embrace it, embrace the change. This is a new chapter of your life and you need to reali ze all of your comfort zones are gone. Get out there, and do not fear the unexpected, the rejection, and the possibility of failure, embrace it and strive for success. Your education and time at ACU is an investment, you get what you put into it.
2. Meet your professors, they are here for you guys, us. They want to get to know you and learn about you and help you achieve all of your goals.
3. Discover the God you know and love in a new setting and environment.
In conclusion, enjoy your time here at ACU. You never get these four years, or five for some of you, back. Get involved and discover your dreams and live them out. Abilene gives you the opportunity for you to reach your potential in a Christ-centered environment. There are great things here, and there are bad, but remember you can make a difference not just in Abilene, but wherever you go from here. As a senior, I can truly say ACU has blessed me to go on and do great things wherever I go, I will always be thankful to this community and the knowledge I have gained here.