Kate Mariani, '13

B.A. in Sociology, Minor in Economics

How did Grove City College’s emphasis on Christian faith impact you?
By the time I seriously considered attending Grove City College, I had become well acquainted with at least 10 other Christian higher education institutions. I was struck by and continue to be impacted by how Grove City College approaches faith and formation. The College’s emphasis on Christianity avoids a plug-and-chug form of faith; instead, available is a rich community of mentoring and discipleship to address and entertain lines of inquiry, and an environment of thoughtfulness and heritage in faith. Essentially, my faith formation at Grove City College aligned not just what I thought but how I thought and what “living out my faith” meant each day.

One of the biggest lessons I learned at Grove City College was the value and virtue in small things: my daily choices matter. Contrary to being a “Christian college bubble,” Grove City College proved to be a valuable training ground in the faith for practicing daily virtue and cultivating good habits. It was at Grove City College that I was encouraged to look tangibly around me for ways to love my neighbor, to seek to follow Christ by “taking up any crosses,” He gave me, and to prioritize and grow in prayer.

How did your academic work and relationships with faculty challenge you while you were at Grove City College?
Most tangibly, the academics at Grove City College honed my analytical writing abilities and challenged me to appreciate theory-oriented coursework. A temptation in sociology is to shy away from discussion, projects, papers, or classes which appear too “theory-based,” juxtaposing the seemingly necessary evil against more “practical” concerns. I definitely began my time at Grove City College with this misunderstanding, but fortunately, the academic work and specifically, conversation with professors, developed my view of the importance of considering ideology and tradition of thought as the basis for thoughtful analysis.

I was challenged in my understanding of discourse, in which repeating what I read was not sufficient. The classes and discussions on ideology informed a deeper understanding and reading of texts and authors, which has since equipped me to discourse effectively, see connections/patterns and problem-solve in other areas of life. I credit learning to make theoretical connections between theorists and thinkers to my dual sociology-economic studies at Grove City College.

How did your time at Grove City College prepare you for your vocation?
Having served in various capacities in higher education (career development, residence life, admissions), I am grateful for Grove City College’s formative education – spiritually, intellectually, and relationally. In a close-knit community of learners and individuals who are seeking also to use their gifts for the Lord’s service, I was challenged to reconsider and realign my priorities and goals and how they manifested: did I offer up my tasks to the Lord? Did I make time for prayer? Did I look to meet the needs of others or was I self-seeking/self-serving today? This is the type of awareness that the rich and supportive community at the College confirmed for me, and now, whether in my family life, church commitments, or job, I seek to recall those lessons. Even if I fail to remember every bit of information from classes and every lesson I learned, the education at this school taught me the importance of living well: if you do something, it is worth doing thoughtfully and for the Lord. Learn to articulate, not just repeat. Seek to understand, not just to know. 

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