Going to MNU has definitely taught me a lot about what it means to live in community.
Coming into my freshman year, I had a lot of unrealistic expectations about the community at MNU. For example, I expected to be best friends with everyone. I didn’t expect cliques, drama, or really any hardships at all.
I’ve now been going to MNU for 3 full semesters, and in that time I’ve learned some simple truths about community.
Truth #1: You won’t be best friends with everyone
The community at MNU is unique because it’s giant. When I hear the word “community,” I think of a small group of people. But the community at MNU is made up of over 1,000 people.
When you’re living in a community of 1,000+ people, expecting to know everyone is unrealistic… and exhausting. I tried to do that my freshman year and it was brutal. It was great to walk into Campus Center and know I’d have someone to sit with all the time, but the relationships I formed couldn’t be deeper than surface level. You simply can’t have that many close friendships without going on at least 29 coffee dates every week.
I think of community as a big family. You’ve got your “siblings,” or your closest friends, that you see all the time and tell everything to. Then you have your “cousins,” who you love to talk to when you see them, but don’t keep up daily. And then there’s your “second cousins who live far away,” who you really don’t ever see, but if they ever needed anything, you’d be there simply because you’re family.
I would classify a majority of the students on this campus as my “second cousins who live far away.” I love them and would do anything for them, simply because we live in the same community, but I wouldn’t call them close friends. The cool thing about the community at MNU is that we can come together to worship, laugh, and cry together without being best friends. There’s a special connection you have with people when you share a community with them.
Truth #2: Community is made up of human beings
I have had drama at MNU. I have strained relationships on campus. There have been times when I’ve been frustrated with the community. But, I should’ve expected that, because anything made up of human beings is going to be imperfect. People don’t love the community at MNU because it’s perfect. They love it because it’s real. Because, at the end of the day, even with all the imperfections, it’s beautiful. Being a part of this community has taught me love, forgiveness, and grace on deeper levels than ever before.
Truth #3: You won’t love everything about it
I don’t love everything about MNU. I hope I don’t get fired for saying that. But in all honesty, if you’re planning on coming to MNU, chances are you won’t love everything either. I don’t know if there’s any community that you’ll love absolutely everything about. Sometimes I don’t feel like going to chapel. Sometimes I sit in my room while everyone else is at an ASG event. Sometimes I need to get away. And that’s okay. I had the expectation coming to MNU that I would love every second of every day. That it would be rainbows and butterflies all the time. But I thank God that’s not the case. Living in community with imperfect people creates great opportunity for growth. And that’s exactly what I’ve done while I’ve been at MNU. I’ve grown so much.
If you’re thinking about coming to MNU, I hope that being honest and vulnerable with you has opened your eyes to what community is all about. I hope that this excites you about the possibility of attending a university with an authentic community.