Natalie FariaIn my undergrad experience, I was lucky enough to have a few amazing mentors. These members of the Religious Studies faculty took a great interest in my academic work and what I was called to do in this life. They took time to have conversations with me that helped me discern my next steps after graduation that led me to Candler. Coming into Candler, I was apprehensive that I may not find mentors like this again.

However, this semester I was lucky enough to take Systematic Theology with Dr. Steffen Lösel. After our first exam, Dr. Lösel suggested that we meet to discuss my results. I hadn’t done very well, but it wasn’t a terrible performance either, so I was a little puzzled as to what he might want to discuss. When we met in his office, he asked about my life and my experience at Candler so far. Then he said with a serious look, “You can do better than this. You’re a better student than this.” It was the motivation I needed to truly thrive in his class. He was right; I could do better, and I did.

It was my faculty mentors in college who helped me understand the idea of calling in a new way. I began to think about how God uses the people in your life to speak to the things about yourself that you might not be able to see. I found that kind of mentorship again in Dr. Lösel. In our conversation, we also discussed my performance in other classes, and I told him that theology courses had not been my strong suit. It was his confidence in my ability to perform in his class that made me get over the idea that theology was just not my subject.

I have been amazed again and again at the caliber and care amongst the Candler faculty. I am glad to have found professors who see the potential in me that I am not always able to see, and who will push me to do the best that I can.