Anya Benninger, Student Writer

Carolyn Kuz

Year: Freshman

Why did you choose your major?

I’m really interested in the brain and how that affects our behavior, and all the kinds of health-related stuff like concussions and headaches. I struggled with that through my adolescence so that made me really interested it. I’m all into neuroscience and brain chemistry. Plus, I think people are weird, and I’m itching to know why.

What other things are you involved in on campus?

These past couple months I’ve gotten involved with student ministries, and I am now the director of women’s ministry. So that’s been a big task because we don’t have a ministry yet, so now I have to hire a bunch of people and figure things out logistically. Technically that’s not until next year, but it’s still taking up all of my time.

What are you most excited about in your ministry?

I really want it to be a place where people can connect, for it to be open and for it to be safe for people to meet someone who can help them or is going through something similar. I feel like there are a lot of people who are isolated on campus and who are going through a lot of the same things, but they’re all struggling alone. I’m really big on forming positive relationships between women and women, women and men, men and men, so we can best love each other because there’s a lot of men’s issues and women’s issues that are going on around campus, but we can’t really love each other because we don’t know what the other going through. It’s good to know that this is a thing, cause we’re all one big Christ community.

What are some of these issues you’re talking about?

There’s a lot that pertains to romantic relationships and all that kind of stuff. And some of that’s theology differences and denominational differences, and some of that’s just the way we treat each other. There is a really sickening amount of objectification on this campus, or people only getting into relationships because they’re interested in going on a date or getting married or the whole ring by spring concept, and that really cages people and makes them feel like they can’t have a friendship with a person cause they’re going to think this. It’s all that kind of stuff that’s the issue. There’s also biblical stuff; we had a meeting and we were talking about how some men just don’t understand how certain ways that the church has done things or certain scriptural passages have been so twisted by the church that it’s really damaged a lot of women. They don’t know about how that affects us psychologically. And the same I’m sure is for men, like there’s stuff we just don’t know about that they’ve had to go through because of the church or institutions.

What have you found is your biggest struggle since coming here?

This school’s not that big, but it’s big enough that you can know people’s faces but not know where you know them from. Trying to maintain genuine relationships while switching classes every semester and hanging out with a totally new group of people, especially in gen-ed classes, is really difficult. For me a friendship has to be past the surface level. It doesn’t have to be “this is my deepest darkest secret,” but it’s having that comfortability in your relationship and understanding that you both have some kind of background, whether it’s that your both Christian or you both believe in this thing that you can relate to.

Why is developing that kind of relationship so hard on campus?

Part of that is because I guess we assume everyone’s already Christians-going-to-Messiah-College, and people think they have a deeper relationship with someone else because of that when they really don’t. Like you don’t know that they’re a Christian, and you have to dig a little deep to get to that kind of relationship with them. I guess that’s the false sense of deepness that’s there. A real friendship is trying to go beyond convenience friendships to “this person is actually really interesting,” beyond what they can do for me in X class or that they’re the only nice person in this club I’m doing.