[This is part V in a series on the benefits of Bible college (in our case Columbia International University). This blog is written by my wife Jennifer who also went to CIU.
PART 1 – Five Indispensable Things I Learned in Bible College
PART 2 – Two Vital Relationships I Gained at Bible College
PART 3 – Professors That Really Cared: Dr. Anita Cooper
PART 4 – Professors That Really Cared: Bill Jones]
I’m almost hesitant to even write this, even at the request of my hubby.
The professors at CIU are well worth writing about — but I’m still intimidated by my favorite professor :#)
I don’t think I was even really supposed to take English at CIU. I took AP courses all through high school, and English was my favorite class. I tested well upon entering college, and was exempt from English 1. Whether it was a fluke or not, I ended up in Steve Barrendse’s English 2 class. I know it sounds over dramatic, but that class and his teaching drastically changed my perception of the world.
For some reason, and I’m not honestly sure why, I had started to believe sometime in high school that literature was some sort of unredeemable subject. I look back at my thought process and can’t believe that I ever believed that…but, it is what it is.
Mr. Baarendse (at the time; I believe he’s earned his doctorate now) showed me how to read literature of all kinds, and find God, His truth, and His character within it. I’d have to double check my transcript to ensure that I listed all the classes I took from him but, after English 2, I took as many classes from Baarendse as I could. Shakespeare, Five Great Novels, Arts & Ideas…I even changed my major to Humanities.
My journey in college is pretty complicated. I ended up not graduating from CIU. I transferred beck to Texas, and graduated with a Bachelor in Professional Studies. It’s too long of a story to address here, and isn’t the point of this post. There are a tons of things I wish I could go back and do differently — namely, do really well in all of Baarendse’s classes. I wanted so desperately to repay him for all he had given to me by being a good student — it just wasn’t in the cards at the time…and it’s still something I regret.
While finishing up my degree in Texas, I took a drawing class at a community college. Mr. Baarendse’s Arts & Ideas class rekindled my excitement and love for art, and helped me make some of the course choices that I made. We did a lot of pieces in charcoal, and I ended up doing a replica of Leonardo DaVinci’s drawing, “Head of a Woman.” I was so proud of the piece that I made, and wanted to send it to Mr. Baarendse, as a sort of “thank you,” and a sign that I was doing well. Unfortunately, my art portfolio was stolen (thankfully, after it was graded, but still…), and I’ve never gotten around to remaking it.
At any rate, Mr. Baarendse was/is an incredible professor who inspired his students to pursue literature and art with a passion to better themselves and understand their Creator. I don’t know of anyone who could sit and listen to him teach, and not be enthralled, because his excitement for what he taught was so contagious. I find it incredibly difficult to adequately articulate how he impacted my life — but, I am the person I am today because he chose to invest his life in students.