2024 graduates reflect on their time at PHC

Posted by Hannah Gaschler on 5/22/24 8:39 AM

2024 graduates share their reflections

As PHC celebrates the Class of 2024, we asked four graduates to share their reflections on their time at college. 

How have your priorities/dreams/aspirations changed since being at PHC?

Joey Ooi: I came into PHC determined to be a career woman, to throw myself into work. My goal was to come to PHC, not make friends, get out as soon as possible, and pave my own path. Four years later, I desperately want to be a mother, raise my children to love God, and to learn to share the gospel. I think the ambition to work and be successful is still there, and I'm thrilled to see what God has for me, but I just want to share the gospel and teach others to love God as well. 

WATCH: Olivia Green's 2024 Student Remarks

Daniel Chavez: When I first came in, I was obsessed with my school performance and making sure that I would keep a good GPA. … I now see that God has entrusted so many callings to me during my time here. I am responsible for being a student, but I am also responsible for being a friend, a worker, a brother, a servant, etc. These callings are too important to neglect, and in cultivating them, I have found that God has rewarded me with a deep sense of joy in glorifying him. I work hard in academics, but I do so not for myself or for others but to be faithful to God. Similarly, I now place a high priority on other people. They are gifts that I have been blessed with for this short time and I want to serve them and invest in them as much as I can to glorify God.

Priscilla Larson: I did not come into PHC with a 10-year plan, nor am I leaving here with one. I do think my priorities, while the same, are more well-ordered, or at least I better understand the duties I have to God and my neighbor. I also know how easily my priorities of good things can be twisted by my own mind if the truth of scripture is lost. The truth is being faithful in the little things is harder than wishing to achieve greatness, but it is what we are called to and what God equips us to do.

Finn Buck: I came to PHC expecting to go to law school and become a lawyer. Since then, I've learned things about myself that have changed my plans. I'll be teaching high school for the next couple of years, and then most likely transitioning to grad school or seminary.

What has been the most surprising thing you've learned?

Joey: That you have to fight for joy. Happiness may be a state of being, but joy is an active state of mind you have to constantly choose and fight for.

Daniel: One of the most surprising things that I have learned is how to love. Leaving high school, I did not feel a deep sense of loss or sorrow. I did not truly invest in the community that God gave me at that time and was perfectly fine saying goodbye and never looking back. Here, however, I can confidently say that my perspective has absolutely changed…. Even when I feel that I can't love, I can still show Christ's love because it is fully contingent on him rather than me. I have found that when I begin to make love a habit, I naturally start growing in my desire to love. Now, I can confidently say that God has taught me to love genuinely and has given me a desire to actively engage and invest in community.

Priscilla: PHC has made me realize how I did not see myself and others as more than just what you can produce. I did not realize how skewed my valuation of others was till I was directly confronted with how lacking I am. It's still a lesson I have to keep relearning, but I am glad PHC gave me a crash course. 

Finn: The biggest thing I've learned is the good of friendship. I've been so blessed to know people who have changed my life like my friends have. All of my sweetest college memories are with them. In some ways, I'm glad that I've prioritized friendships over academics during my time here. The best thing I take with me after college is not my diploma.

How have you learned to love God more?

Joey: In learning to love the redemption story, I've learned to hold my Lord in complete awe. I love the Lord for his righteousness, for his grace, and simply because he is the Lord. Love for the Lord is no longer a fluffy feeling that I was looking for; instead, loving the Lord was a raw, logical, and "only-response" kind of thing. … My love for the Lord is so imperfect, but the Lord does not love me any less because of it. Even if I loved the Lord perfectly, he wouldn't love me any more for it. I pray to learn to love him more, not because I need that for salvation, but because he deserves nothing less. 

WATCH: Caleb Knox's 2024 Charge to the Graduates

Daniel: I have learned to love God more by becoming more appreciative of the gifts he has given me. Everywhere I look there are signs of God's goodness in my life. Whether it be looking at the beauty of creation through the sunset or engaging with other people created in his image, the world is so saturated with his blessings. Even things that I am not as happy about are gifts and opportunities to understand God better and strengthen my relationship with him. … Though not every day is easy (in fact, they are often very difficult), every day can be beautiful because that time can be redeemed by God. When I daily serve him, no day, no matter how hard or painful, is wasted.  

Priscilla: I think God's love becomes more real to you as you grow in your faith. This better understanding of his love is gained through seeing the love of Christ exemplified through the Church. My love for God is still so feeble and measured, but I know from being at PHC I have more examples of his love in my life which help my heart respond to him in love.

Finn: I came to college deficient in my love for God and others. I have learned to love more in three ways: first, by praying for love every day since my freshman year, because love is a gift of the Holy Spirit that cannot be willed; second, by doing the loving thing even when I don't feel it, because going through the motions often precedes authentic feelings; and third, by surrounding myself with friends who love God and love others more than I do, because love is contagious and learned through imitation. 

How do you compare to the kind of person you expected to be at graduation?

Joey: I don't think my freshman self would have been able to comprehend how sorrow and joy mix in our response to the gospel, or how the Lord is good at breaking us down so that he can build us up as new creations in him. I think freshman year Joey envisioned a glorious graduation with every step afterward planned out "to a T," and I think she would have been very anxious if she knew my plans were in the air. But I am simply a follower of Christ and I'm very content with where I am. I know the Lord has great things for me, but for right now, I want to focus on him and follow him. 

Daniel: I'm not really sure how I expected to be at graduation when I came in. I suppose something I did not expect was how much my worldview and understanding of God would develop. Coming to a Christian school, I expected that there would be some growth but probably not to this extent. I would say that I am much less focused on trying to control my future and more comfortable with seeing where God will lead me. I still have my plans and still work according to them, but I am open to God's intervention. 

Priscilla: Before coming to PHC, I was concerned about being judged by others and was quick to judge others. Seeing people's grace in action at school has been a blessing over these 4 years. While you do not conquer your weaknesses in 4 years, I think my college years have sanded down some of my rough edges. Learning to have charity for others on a daily basis is easier to learn when you are constantly in communion with your peers. 

Finn: At PHC, I have grown in ways that I could never have foreseen when I got here as a freshman. I have convictions about things I didn't even know were important four years ago. I've formed friendships I didn't know I needed, and in turn those friendships have formed me. In all these things I am grateful for PHC because it is here that I learned to see the world in a new way.

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