Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. My name is Karalyn Rennie. I graduated from Providence College in May of 2019. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics with a minor in theology. While a student at PC, I was involved in the Peer Ministry Program, PC Pep Band, New Student Orientation staff for three years, co-hosted a radio show, went on multiple service trips, attended and lead different retreats, and was a member of many more clubs. I basically did everything in college except sleep.
During my junior year of college, I began to think about what my life after college would look like. At the time I was still in the Secondary Education Program at PC. I had my first high school practicum placement and I began to see that I could not really see myself as a teacher after college. It did not bring me joy. I began to look at my other involvement at PC to try and find what I did enjoy.
I looked at music. I thought about my involvement in the pep band. It definitely was fun traveling around the country for different basketball or hockey games and playing music with my friends, but there was no real joy there. It was just fun. I looked at my experience as a member of the orientation staff. I found joy in working with the students and guiding them through their transition to PC, but there was an aspect of it missing. I began to desperately search for the missing piece in hopes that it would justify me dropping the Secondary Education Program.
It was around this time that I began fully diving into my role as a Peer Minister. I, along with an amazing co-leader, had the privilege of leading a group of freshmen. It was through this incredible group of students that I began to find the missing piece of orientation. I still had the role of guiding these students and helping them through difficult points or getting to celebrate their triumphs like an A on a midterm, but there was the added aspect of getting to share the most intimate part of their life, their faith. I began to fall in love with the role of ministry. I loved building relationships with the students in my group and to see the growth that they had throughout the year. Plus all of the coffee dates kept me well caffeinated for all of the crazy classes a junior math major must take.
I began to search for summer programs that would allow me to explore this newfound love of ministry. During one of my numerous web searches, I found the LeaderworX program through the Center for FaithJustice. In reading about the program it felt like the perfect fit. It was in the same search for a summer program that I began to seriously consider a year of service post-grad.
I participated in Leaderworx that summer and fell more in love with the idea of a year of service. I began to hear about CFJ’s fellowship for the first time during that summer and the opportunity was unlike anything else I found. The idea of having a small faith-based community and having such incredible partnership opportunities was so enticing. I went back to PC for my senior year with the fellowship on my mind. I was not ready to commit quite yet because I wanted to look at all of my options.
I looked at incredible masters programs and numerous other years of service. I talked to many other people in different programs to try and figure out what I wanted. I decided that I wanted to do a year of service; I struggled to figure out what field I wanted to do my year of service in. I looked at so many different career options and began to feel lost in what I should do after graduation.
In my struggle to decide what to I began to look at my role as a Peer Minister again. My senior year I had a new co-leader and a group of amazing sophomores. I found out that I still had so much joy in ministry. I also looked at the sophomores that I had led the previous year when they were freshmen. I had so much pride in seeing two of them succeed in being amazing peer ministers themselves, or in watching them become RAs and so many other roles on campus. I realized I wanted to do my year of service in a ministry position. This allowed me to narrow down my year of service options to two programs.
As I learned about the new partnership forming between the Center for FaithJustice and the Church of Saint Ann’s I knew that I needed to do the FaithJustice Fellowship. The opportunity to dive headfirst into the role of a college campus minister was so unique to the FJF and I was not going to be able to find another position like it. Plus the CFJ staff is really hard to say no to.
Now a week into my fellowship I can say that this will most definitely be a year of growth. I have already gained so many new skills in one week, especially when it comes to my newfound proficiency with Canva (if you find yourself of Rider’s campus there is a pretty cool bulletin board in the basement of Gill Chapel!)! I also have faced many challenges that I know will push me to be a better minister to the students and will help me figure out if ministry is the career field I want to enter into. I cannot wait for all of the experiences this year, and mainly really kicking off my work as a campus minister and youth minister with our first meetings coming up soon! I look forward to sharing it with you all!