I graduated from Pensacola Christian College (PCC) with my Mechanical Engineering degree in 2002. It's a good college, and one that I would recommend to anyone who doesn't mind abiding by rules (whether or not they make sense). For those who want to go to a private Christian college but can't afford the private school cost, PCC is an option you should consider as it's the least expensive Christian college I know of (~$5,000 per year for room, board and tuition). I had gone to PCC for three week music camp twice during highschool so I knew that it was possible for me (a person who lived in jeans) to wear skirts for at least three weeks.
By extrapolation, I felt it must be possible to dress that way for an entire semester. It's as safe a college as one can find anywhere. Girls are not allowed off campus unless going with other girls until they are a senior, and then they can go off alone (but only until dark, or was that just a suggestion?). Because of the rules and the fact that if you break them continuously you will accumulate enough demerits to be kicked out, most of the student who are there really seem to want to stay. Though we didn't like some of the rules, we were willing to abide by them for the greater good (getting a degree).
But on to the things I learned at PCC (note these are not in order of importance and definitely not all-inclusive!):
1) How to play Dutch Blitz. PCC does not allow students to play games with regular playing cards. This rule doesn't make much sense, but I believe that because of it, games such as Dutch Blitz are much more popular than they would otherwise be. I learned it probably in the summer of 1996 and have played it regularly with my family and friends when home and with my college friends whenever we needed a study break. It's a fast paced game that raises your pulse to such a degree that it must be just about as good for you as fast walking! I can't tell you how many hours of fun that game has produced, but it's got to be a lot. Both on Sunday and Monday I played for probably two hours and I enjoyed the entire game!
2) How to appreciate sermons. I don't really remember sermons very well in the churches I attended prior to college. PCC requires it's students to attend the Campus church for Sunday morning, night and Wednesday night services and also has chapel 4 days a week for the students. So, with those services, you will hear 7 sermons a week. That's not counting Sunday school, your required Bible classes twice a week, or the sermon recap you might hear from your calculus teacher if his class is right after chapel (as I did)! In fact it doesn't count the devotional you'll hear or give at prayer group (5 nights a week) or floor meeting once a week. And don't forget all the prayer that will be offered up as every class will open with prayer. I was blessed to hear some amazing speakers and learned to enjoy sermons and even look forward to them. I was reminded that I didn't always like sermons when my youngest sister remarked with surprise that our brother Elijah enjoyed the chapels at his college. Don't take this to mean that I always pay attention as I should or that I have a great memory of what I learn. All I'm saying is that through immersion in many messages, I learned to enjoy learning something from the speakers. This next one follows closely with appreciating sermons.
3) How to take notes. When in college classes you have to be able to write quickly and take notes. Now, my notes never looked as nice as the notes that Julie took in our engineering classes, but the important thing was that I learned to take notes that I could read later. I took notes in class and also in chapel and church services. If you were to ask me how often I refer back to my notes, you may think that sermon notes are really a waste of paper, but I disagree. If I take notes, I am much more engaged in active listening to what is being presented. I may or may not learn something new, but if there was something that made me want to study further, I had a good set of notes as a basis for study.
4) How to take a punishment. Like I said earlier, demerits were given for not abiding by rules, I received demerits (though rarely) for an unmade bed, not taking out the trash, being late to class, not abiding by the dress code (remember the blue angels or the mall?) and other offenses. As I remember, those were minor offenses ranging from 1 to 5 demerits. Other things like skipping a class or church was 25 demerits and skipping Sunday School was 10 demerits. If I remember right, a person was allowed 50 demerits before a letter was sent home and 75 before anything happened to them like being campused.
We were assigned seats in chapel (for attendance taking reasons) and through the assigned seats ended up meeting new people that we would have otherwise never have interacted with. I remember as a new freshman sitting next to an upperclassman who gave me this advice when he found I was a new student: "You have a certain number of demerits each semester, spend them wisely." That made a lot of sense to me. Since my family came at least once a year to go camping at Fort Pickins, I chose to try to minimize demerits throughout the semester so that I would have enough extra demerits to be able to afford skipping church and Sunday school the weekends we were camping.
5) How to have fun with friends. It was friends that made college fun. I was blessed with the best of friends and we had fun even in the midst of study. Time with friends make life memorable and it's the time with friends that I miss the most about college. Wouldn't it be fun if dorm life with your best friends could last forever? Well, maybe one won't want to live in a dorm forever, but those days were definitely fun!
Tomorrow I'm heading back down to visit my college friend Gemma who still lives in Pensacola. We plan to enjoy a Saturday at the beach!