In November of 2021, I was away from home doing volunteer work when my phone beeped, alerting me to a new message. It was Tuesday, which meant the Regent University newsletter was out. I took a lunch break and, over two slices of cinnamon bread and a bag of oyster crackers, I read through the email. I skimmed quickly through the majority of the photos and announcements, but then a section of the newsletter seemed to fairly jump out at me, and my heart skipped a beat. The section was titled Tutor Interest Meeting, followed by this description: "If you are a strong writer and passionate about serving other students, come learn how to join the University's tutoring team. We welcome both undergraduate and graduate students as well as both on-campus and online students..." I screenshotted the section and texted it to Mom with the question What do you think? Mom was fully on-board with the idea, and so I signed up to attend the virtual meeting. I wasn't sure if they would be okay with a 17-year-old who was not even yet a full-time student tutoring, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to find out more about the position . . . especially because I knew immediately that with all my heart, I wanted this job. Before and after the meeting, I prayed about it, and God was already working in mysterious, wonderful ways.
In order to tutor, I had to complete my ENGL 102 class with an A as well as take an 8-week training course. When I went to register for these courses, I encountered unexpected problems. I was told I couldn't take the tutoring training class as an early college program/high school student, and I certainly couldn't take it until I had done ENGL 102. Not ready to give up, I submitted a petition to the university and witnessed God's hand in my life once again when it got accepted. Now not only was I allowed to take the training course as a high school student, but I could also take it alongside ENGL 102. And thus began eight of the most academically challenging weeks of my life as I formatted and wrote papers, posted and responded to dialogue posts with my peers, researched the women's rights movements (for a 12-page research paper that I had less than a week to draft), etc., facing both discouragements and victories along the way. I will be honest and admit that there were a couple times when I wanted to drop one or both courses; when I told myself I couldn't do it; when I complained or wondered if I was wrong, if this wasn't what God had called me to do. And I will also tell you that along the way, I learned a lot. Spiritually and academically. I learned that tutoring isn't like editing in that I can't do the work for the student; I learned how to cite a source in true MLA format, as well as APA and Turabian; I learned how to write a polished research/argumentative paper; and I learned that to thrive, I need to persevere in Christ's strength alone and do my absolute best with whatever He sets before me to do (have I mentioned that "thrive" is my word for the year?). Philippians 4:6, "do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God," took on a whole new meaning for me.
Also during this time, I came across a song that is now my go-to called "Say I Won't" by the contemporary Christian band MercyMe. One of my favorite lines from that song? Keep saying I won't, and I'll keep proving you wrong. Regent originally told me I couldn't take the training course, and I couldn't do it with ENGL 102; but through the strength and provision of God alone, I proved them wrong. I did both courses at the same time and flourished. Around me, adults are saying teenagers can't apply themselves, can't do hard things; but through the strength and provision of God alone, teens can prove them wrong.
Following the completion of these two courses, I applied for the job, and in the next couple of weeks, I got an interview. Two months and several steps into the application process later, I finally received their decision. My family was just loading up into the van after a morning spent strawberry-picking at a local farm. With my hands sticky from berry juice and baby wipes, I pulled out my phone and saw the subject line of a new email: Welcome to the Writing Lab Tutoring Team! To say the least, I was. so. thrilled. I started cheering and hollering, "I got it! I got it!" I played MercyMe's song on the radio as we headed home, listened to the lyrics, and cried as I reflected on all it had taken to get me to this point. God had had His hand in the whole thing, that was for sure, and I had worked so hard, but it was so worth it. I filled out the paperwork and am planning to start tutoring tomorrow. For now I am working 6 hours a week, but I am hoping that as I grow more comfortable in my job, I can do more.
Typing this post out now, I am still in awe. I have a job doing something I absolutely love to do. It's in line with my major and my future career. And I have God alone to thank for it.
Thank you, Jesus, indeed.
Prayers for strength and grace and that I will shine Christ's light in the workplace would be greatly appreciated. And I hope that this post served as a reminder to you that when others tell you that you can't do something hard or important, through God, you can prove them wrong and bring our Savior glory.