Amber and I moved into Yoder Hall during the later part of July so that I could prepare for my new job as residence director. It was then I began to see what Goshen College was all about.

We were warmly greeted with a fresh batch of cookies, compliments of Susie Lambright. They were quite amazing, and I knew we were getting off to a good start.

As time went on, and we continued to settle in, my wife and I began to notice that the campus wasn’t as empty and quiet as we’d anticipated. There was life everywhere: youth on the basketball and volleyball courts; families playing tennis; older couples strolling, arm-in-arm, during the warm summer evenings.

I was beginning to understand that this was a place where community happened.

By the time we had finally settled into our new home in late August, students began coming back, creating for me a sense of anxiety and excitement all at once.

Various questions ran through my mind: Will they like me? Will they want to get to know me? Will they care that I graduated from Bethel? Does it matter that I’m not Mennonite?

I quickly found that although I felt different and a little out of place, the students, staff and faculty welcomed Amber and I with open arms. It has taken time to adjust to my new job, new setting and new routine, but everyone has made us feel that this is a place we belong and can call home for the time we’re here.

I’ll be honest, though. There were things people warned/informed me about before coming to work at Goshen College. I heard that Goshen College is a very opinionated place where guys wear skirts, the national anthem isn’t played at sports events and soccer is taken very seriously.

I’ve come to find that even though some of these are true, so too is the sense of community and love that I feel from people here – and for people here.

I would never trade my experience. I’ve learned and grown so much in the short time that I’ve been here. I feel Goshen College has helped shape me into the person I am today, even though I still don’t know which part to sing in chapel.

My hope is that as much as you have given to me, I have given to you too.

Jake Shipe is residence director of Yoder Hall.