Erin Powell, 19, Azusa Pacific University
Coming from the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, I wasn’t sure what to expect when traveling across the country to Azusa, California. I wanted to try something new and live in a different part of the country on my own. I lived under one roof with my mom, dad, brother and grandma. We were always glad to have each other around because we cherished unconditional love and support.
As it was time to move out and choose a college to study at, Azusa Pacific University definitely wasn’t my first choice for a school. I wanted to bury myself in a different culture and see what it was like to be surrounded by people who were raised differently than me. But when I got off the plane from LAX and drove out to the university, something in my gut told me I made the wrong choice.
The first semester of being at this school was a living nightmare. I couldn’t seem to make friends and find a community that I could give to and would give back to me. I heard of MYTHIRDPLACE through a friend, and from that point, I decided to give it a shot. (After all, I had nothing to lose). I had the opportunity to become a mentor for high school students and even be able to write this blog! Immediately, I knew I was in the right place. I have never felt so welcomed and loved where I once felt so much pain. MYTHIRDPLACE quickly became my safe haven and home when I needed to get away from the campus life. Every Tuesday and Thursday, I would sprint after class to get to MYTHIRDPLACE so I could be able to spend as much time as I possibly could there.
As I head home for the Summer, I will miss being around the students and other mentors for bits and parts of my week. They were able to put a smile on my face when I couldn’t seem to put one on my own. I am so happy I had the opportunity to work with such wonderful people and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.