By Anastasia Howland

At the end of each semester, Montreat holds a “Senior Chapel.” It is a time to pray for and honor the graduating seniors before they are sent out into the world, but also a time to hear some of their testimonies and words of wisdom. In this past semester’s Senior Chapel we heard from three graduating seniors: Alex Wheet, Ashley Hurd, and Craig Setzer. Here are three pieces of wisdom that they passed on to the rest Montreat community.

1. “Get to know your professors as people.” Both Alex and Craig emphasized this as being incredibly formative during their time at Montreat. Each named several professors who they’d gotten to know beyond the classroom. These professors pushed them academically in the classroom, but also made lasting relationships with them. Craig highlighted the difference it made in simply hanging around after class for 5 extra minutes to talk to professors—not about a test, or a homework assignment necessarily, but simply just to talk to them as people. In doing so during their time at Montreat, Alex and Craig’s lives have been enriched by gaining wise friends and mentors in their professors, and they urged students to do the same.

2. “Your ‘no’ can be somebody else’s ‘yes.’” Ashley shared about the difficulty she had in saying “no,” specifically in her first couple years of college. Because she rarely said “no” to any opportunity, job, or volunteer position, she was always juggling six different things, in addition to her schoolwork. Ashley admitted that this caused her to spend far less time with God in prayer and in His word, and in turn she was no longer about to juggle any of what she had been before, let alone all six things. It all began to fall apart. She decided to reevaluate, to make spending time with God a priority, and to choose two or three things to devote her time to do excellently, rather than five or six things poorly in the limited time she would be able to give to each. As she put this plan into action, she was able to find peace in realizing that the things she said “no” to could be blessings for somebody else to say “yes” to. Ashley spoke of a time when this happened in her own life. One girl had said “no” to a position, so Ashley was then given space to say “yes” to it. She has since been immensely blessed by serving as a resident assistant at Montreat. Ashley advised students to devote time to doing a few things excellently, and to realize that the opportunities they have to pass up will be blessings for others.

3. “Your identity does not lie in what you can do. Rather, it lies in Christ alone.” Craig spoke of himself before college as physically fit, and able to do just about anything he wanted—hike any trail, climb any mountain, scale any cliff. It was tempting for him to find his identity in these amazing feats he could accomplish. However, in his freshman, sophomore, and junior years of college, he encountered different injuries which prevented him from going on such difficult adventures which he previously enjoyed. He was “out of commission.” Craig shared how this led him to realize the importance of finding his identity in Christ, rather than in physical feats he could do or the “cool” reputation they gave him. He urged students to realize that they won’t always be able to do the things they feel define them, and so to instead find their identity in Christ, for they will always have Him and He will always be most important.

Thank you, graduating seniors, for all you contributed to the Montreat College community during your time here. We pray God sends you from here to be salt and light in the world, and that He blesses you richly.