One month into the academic year, we took time to check in with a few students from each cohort — to see how the student body is processing at different parts of the lifecycle. We invite you to read students’ reflections here.

We asked each student to respond to the following questions:

From first year students navigating transition and a new beginning to second, third, and fourth year students moving into integrative projects and internships, each story is unique, though common themes emerge.

A big THANK YOU to all the students who contributed to this post!

First Year

I was having a conversation with a few second and third-year students about how things were going so far, and sentiment arose within the conversation. This was a group of students of color discussing what it means to be here, at The Seattle School, during this time in the history of our nation and our own lives. I made a comment inspired by Carlo Nakar: I said I came here to learn how to bleed. As a nation, as the church, we are in desperate need for witnesses, for prophets, teachers, activists, and counselors to teach us how to bleed. How can I be equipped to lay down my life, intentionally, faithfully, at the national intersections of our collective text, soul, and culture in a way that brings about the healing of our nation? I am holding grief and hope. Grief over our national condition and hope in this sacred work of preparation to go out into the world as catalysts for healing.

– Bryan Brown, 1st Year MA in Theology & Culture

Has it been a month already?! I’m thankful for the time I’ve spent at The Seattle School. Through my learning, I’ve stepped just a little closer to finding my voice and naming lies I’ve believed for far too long. I still feel like I’m adjusting to the rhythm of the dance between school and home, but I trust that’ll come in time.

– Jana Peterson, 1st Year Master of Divinity

I feel myself connecting to God in deep ways and holding more space for me to do so. As an MACP student, I am already learning about various therapeutic theories and practices while at the same time beginning to see the ways my theology has shaped me in my life. I hope to continue to be surprised by what I find out about myself and others.

– Hannah Addington, 1st Year MA in Counseling Psychology

Second Year

One month into year two, I’ve been struck by how many connections have been showing up between my electives and a lot of what was discussed last year. I’m discovering new ways to hold my experiences of pain and joy, loneliness and confusion alongside the inspiration that’s been showing up in the research and writing for my Integrative Project (IP). It’s like I’m continually zooming in and out of an unfamiliar map, gradually building a comprehensive picture of where I find myself in each frame. That overview has become an enormous part of the energy and trajectory of my IP. As a result, I feel more gratitude and less fear in the midst of discussions and disagreement. I may have just used a lot of unnecessary words to say I’m finding out how to be kinder to myself as I learn more about my experiences at the intersection of text, soul and culture.

– Robert Tiffin, 2nd Year MA in Theology & Culture

In this season I am coming to believe that time travel is possible; that the Master of the Universe invites us to a series of harrowing, exhilarating campaigns to rescue every part of ourselves that is imprisoned in shame and despair. In these strange quarters, where time itself feels juxtaposed, I most often encounter an emotion for which no word exists in the English language — a radiant new creature, born when grief and hope inhabit the same space. It manifests in gasps, sobs, and unrestrained laughter.

– Genevra Vanhoozer, 2nd Year MA in Counseling Psychology

Just a couple of weeks before school began I started working for Wallingford Presbyterian Church as their Director of Christian Education. I have also recently stepped onto Sacred Space, and both of the roles integrate what I am learning as an MDiv student into forms that are aligned with my end goal of becoming a pastor. I feel very blessed to be a part of The Seattle School as I feel like I have found an institution and people that bring me alive. In my first year here my theology shifted a lot, and I am coming to learn that God is bigger than the box I tried to place Him/Her in. I am excited for the coming year as I have the opportunity to build community in each of the roles I occupy.

– Alex Bodman, 2nd Year Master of Divinity

Third & Fourth Year

My third year so far has been a rich experience of integrating theory and practice. Although it feels like a lot to hold (internship, work, and class), I feel excited as it all is starting to come together.

– Leila Boytler, 3rd Year MA in Counseling Psychology

As I begin my fourth and final year at the Seattle School, I am filled with immense gratitude for how this place continues to form and shape me, for all the people who have invited me to wade into the deep and haunted spaces of life to find the ever expanding and ever precarious presence of God. I am learning what it means to not be afraid, to trust the small seed of my vocation that in many ways has always been there, and to keep stepping deeper into the next layer. It is a strange thing to begin this year in particular knowing that each step along the way is a kind of ending, but I am slowly discovering that each ending is another invitation to take just one more step into a darkness transfigured, to life fully alive.

– Alex Mrakovich, 4th Year Master of Divinity