Student Profile: Katie Wos '16
Saint Louis, MO / Cape Town, South Africa
Residence Hall and Floor
Maclellan/Rymer, Chi Alpha
Meeting new people, hanging out with those new people that I’ve met, studying in the library (or talking to people in the library depending on my motivation levels), doing things with the diversity program, running the bluff trails, exploring more of Chattanooga.
Favorite place on campus
The chapel, without a doubt! Not only is it a glorious thing to be able to sit with the student body under God’s word every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but the empty silence and stained glass windows make it a haven of rest throughout the week, no matter the time of day. Some of my most intimate moments of worship, my deepest conversations and my greatest memories have been formed in that building and the giant white cross is a constant reminder to me, wherever I am on this campus of what a gift of grace it is to be here.
Why did you choose Covenant?
I grew up in the PCA, was a missionary kid with MTW and knew countless people that had gone here. I even have this picture of me and my two brothers standing outside the chapel when I was just four years old. By the time I was in 6th grade I pretty much had decided this was where I was going. But by my senior year of high school I started having second thoughts. “After five years of Christian education, do I really want to go to a Christian college? Wouldn’t I be more spiritually challenged at a secular university?”
Every other college plan that I made slowly fell through though and after coming back to the States I finally decided to take a college road trip. Covenant was the last campus I stepped on. I didn’t have any instantaneous feelings of knowing this college was for me, but my reasons for choosing it were for the little details: the way that I sat in a professor’s office and he not only took interest in my story but gave honest advice about my future, the way that students took time out of their day to get coffee with me and hear what I wanted to do with my life, the way that people spoke truthfully about their love for the school and each other, the way that I was invited to participate in class and my opinion was validated, the way the administration worked with me personally to make a way to provide for me to come, the way no one said “This is the school for you,” but prayed with me to follow the Lord’s leading…and lead He did.
How is Covenant unique?
Apart from the fact that our dining room used to be the biggest ballroom in the south back in the day and all of campus has glorious views? I cherish the way that professors take seriously intentionally getting to know their students; like how an education professor has students over to his house for pancakes and hymn-singing every Saturday, or how an academic advisor will offer you her car so you can make it to a funeral. This is a place where faculty talk openly about learning grace through brokenness, and your friends aren’t afraid to call you to repentance and walk with you in love. Where tests are started by teachers reminding you that although knowledge is important, your identity in Christ doesn’t change based on your test grade, and multiple guest chapel speakers will tell you that they have never heard a group of students sing songs so sincerely. This is a place where students and staff not only say “in all things Christ pre-eminent,” but take steps daily to explore deeper what it means to live like it.
What has been your favorite experience at Covenant?
Second semester freshman year I was asked to help lead worship with the diversity program for our bi-annual night of student-led worship. It’s one thing to be standing next to your fellow students singing praises to the Lord, but another thing entirely to be up front watching the fragrant offering of worship unfold around you. The final song we sang together was “He Reigns” by Newsboys and I’m fairly certain we almost took the roof of the chapel off with our harmonious declaration of the truth that our God reigns. It was powerful, not because of the music or the noise level, but because I witnessed a group of students, my group of students, believing the words they were singing with unwavering sincerity, and I’m 100% positive “all the powers of darkness trembled at what they just heard.”
What is your favorite class so far?
Introduction to Linguistics
What made that class your favorite?
1. Dr. Stephens is an incredible teacher who knows how to answer the question “why exactly do we have to know this?” every time.
2. The class really challenged and grew me in my understanding of the English language, and of language in general. It likewise deepened my appreciation for the glorious differences in language, dialects, and the spoken and written words of every tribe, tongue, people and nation.
3. When we started our chapter on syntax, Dr. Stephens began with the following quote: “Things that occur in nature are messy. Language is a thing of nature which means it’s messy. And that’s okay.” Without even knowing it, I learned so much more about faith, life and grace through studying the framework of language!
…also, diagramming sentences in college is a whole lot more fun than it was in elementary school!
What are some things you enjoy about your major(s)?
I love the fact that every semester I go to register, I get far more excited about the classes I get to take than the average college student usually does. I enjoy that I not only get to read a lot and write a lot—two things I love doing—but that my professors are so invested in helping me grow in those areas and that the school gives me numerous platforms to help me steward and improve those gifts.
What person at Covenant has had the greatest impact on you, and why?
This is a tough one. There have been numerous people that have poured richly into my life since I’ve been here, so instead of naming one I’d have to say it’s been the community of girls that have walked life with me on the fifth floor of Mac/Rymer. My freshman year they welcomed me, invited me into what living here was all about, shared my joys and adventured through every (and I mean, EVERY) event. And this year, they have challenged me, taught me more about what it means to really love sacrificially, and continued to walk with me in the middle of my brokenness.
We talk about the beauty of Covenant community a lot here and I thought I understood that my first year. But this year I’ve come to realize that “community” is more than laughter, more than late night talks, more than Sunday prayer and praise, more than doing fun bonding events together. It’s not any less, but it certainly is far deeper. It’s taking the risk to really know and be known, it’s letting both your failures and others point you to Christ and hope, it’s holding beauty and brokenness equally in both hands. The girls I’ve lived with have showed me that life doesn’t always have to have a silver lining, that we don’t always have the answers to the “why?” or “how long?” of our struggles, but that when we walk in honesty, trust and surrender we will be shown more of Emmanuel—our God who is with. These girls have been a faithful presence, one that continues to point me to the ever-faithful presence of the Almighty.
What’s your favorite part of the day at Covenant?
Apart from chapel, it would have to be from 5-8:00 p.m. I know that covers half of the day, but picking favorites is hard! From 5-7:00 p.m. is dinner time, and most nights of the week I find myself in the great hall for all two hours. Whether I’m eating dinner with my hall, having a heart-to-heart with a friend, or sitting down at a table full of people I’ve never met before, dinner time is one of my favorite times of fellowship! And then that golden hour between 7 and 8, when dinner ends and the homework actually starts, when all of campus is filled with sunset light and people hanging around outside, when the moon begins to peak and the city lights below start appearing like stars, when I stop thinking about school just long enough to breathe deeply, listen fully, and remember why I’m here, so that I can dive into the next task before me—that’s my favorite part of the day.
What are your post-graduation plans?
I would love to teach! Whether that looks like teaching overseas, teaching high school English, teaching English to ESL learners in public schools, or simply teaching my own children, I’m openhanded to wherever the Lord leads! One thing for sure is that the more I sit in our education classes and step into opportunities to practice teaching, the more I grow in love for the profession and see the importance of godly educators in our school systems—teachers who not only convey knowledge but model a lifestyle of grace, both inside the classroom and out.
How is Covenant equipping you for the future?
I am so grateful for the education I am receiving here. I know that every class, whether it’s to fulfill core requirements or to fulfill a role in training me for the course of my journey ahead, is equipping me to be a better steward of my talents, knowledge and gifts in building up the kingdom.
But more than that, Covenant is equipping me to live a life that places Christ at the center of all I am doing. In my second favorite class at Covenant, Intro to Teaching with Dr. Kaufmann, we read and discussed the book Teaching Redemptively. In it, Donovan L. Graham says the following: “We always have the need to be what God created us to be, no matter how much we may deny or distort it. We were created to act like God, and we will forever be motivated by that need. The question is whether we will attempt to fill that need in a manner that pleases or displeases God.”
I believe that Covenant is equipping me to fill that need in a Christ-pleasing manner no matter where I am in the world—to hold truth in one hand and the hope of the resurrection in the other, to know the love of God so deeply that it fills up my insufficiencies and pours out of my speech and my actions. I’m being invited to discover more deeply where I fit into God’s story of creation, fall, redemption and restoration and how to look at everything around me with that framework in mind.