Thoughts of a Campus Tour Guide

Joelle KanyanaThoughts of a Campus Tour Guide: What I Really Want to Tell You

I’ve always wanted to write this, covering what can’t be fully conveyed on a tour. I am very qualified, as I’ve been giving tours since 2014. (It’s my fifth year; I often wonder if saying that will scare parents away from Southern, but I have no regrets about my year abroad and its correlating second major or my time in the honors program). Here’s how the article would go:

Hello, welcome to the most formative years of your life so far. You will feel your highest highs and lowest lows, but there is no better place to do it than here. We have one of the most peaceful environments for our campus, as green as our branding and surrounded by trails where you can escape into nature. Be prepared, however, to have your whole life disrupted. It’s a good thing.

You’ll meet people from around the country and around the world. They will challenge your assumptions and broaden your horizons. Many of your professors will have lived and worked around the country and the globe. You will have many opportunities for experiential learning, whether through conferences, service and mission work, or study tours. You might even, like me, add nine countries to your travel checklist through Southern—and I know many who have beat my record.

Coming to Southern, you are entering a very specific atmosphere. I think the pillars you see on Southern’s logo and on almost every building might accurately describe one’s experience. Yes, our majors will be different (we have more than 100 to choose from), and we’ll be involved in different student organizations (50+). We might do different study tours (10 are offered by eight departments) and do mission trips on the opposite ends of the planet (we’ve sent Southern students to 100 different countries). Our interests may connect us to various national and international networks (Southern is connected to 50). But, we will all grow pillars built on the same foundation: Jesus Christ.

Campus tour

Graduating from Southern, you will know that, no matter what your post-grad plans are, your foundational goal will be to embody 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Do it all for the glory of God.” Through your exposure to diversity, one of the pillars you will build is a better understanding of our God: rich in creativity, infinitely beautiful, abounding in love for all of His creation. As a result, you will learn another major pillar: to live a life of service for others. In learning the dignity that God has imbued in all of us, you will understand that you are working toward more than turning a profit. Your work is to ensure that everyone will experience God’s love by making their world a little better.

Yes, it may take some growing pains—fallouts with friends, restlessness because of curfew (even though you know that sleep is the best option after 11 p.m.), sobbing because of those really tough classes—but you will have some of the most incredible people cheering you on. I could not have made it to the finish line (yes, I’m finally graduating!) without an uplifting church community, gracious professors, the best bosses I will probably ever have, and some friends who are going through it with me, aiming toward these same goals. This is what makes Southern special. No tour could accurately convey this experience.

Being real, I always feel a big responsibility that comes along with excitement when I see students who toured campus with me now attending classes here. College is not always fun, and it is hardly ever easy. But if God calls you here, I know He will take you through these next four (or five) years of your life, supporting you with His people, who are pervasive on this campus.

Joëlle Kanyana Story by Joëlle Kanyana Published: Last Edited:

The views and opinions of campus guests do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Southern Adventist University. An individual's or group's invitation to speak or present on campus should not be regarded as a university endorsement of their philosophies and beliefs.