Interestingly enough, I’m a PhD student studying the role of faith in international students’ experience. This is an interesting fact because, in addition to my research, I am having to hold up a mirror of self-examination to recognise the faith at work in my own life too.
Ever since starting my PhD in September, I have been on a spiral journey, learning to handle the enormous challenge of independent research, and the responsibilities which follow. This has opened a window of opportunity for personal development, as I am confronted with academic concerns of the highest level. Because of this, I have faced many moments when I begin to wonder how I got here in the first place, or how I hope to confront my new responsibilities; and other times I go through moments of inadequacy. These struggles definitely take their toll on me and make me feel discouraged sometimes.
Nevertheless, I have always had something substantial in me that does not let inadequacy have the last say; something that always carves out a confidence and assurance of hope – and that’s my faith in Christ Jesus and his word. It is worth noting how adaptable faith is, to circumstance. As a 17-year-old international student who arrived in a strange country, with a real background of academic poverty, my challenge then was focused on: how I was going rise above my history of poor academic performance, among gifted students of about 60 countries whom I found myself surrounded by. My faith saw me through that, and seven years later, I find myself relying on that old faith while facing a new challenge.
My faith has been shaped with me over the years. It has proved to be useful as a coping mechanism, which has progressed with time and situation. I have faulted and experienced moments of fear and anxiety, because of the demands of my current position as a PhD student. I had two public presentations of my PhD research in April, and before each, I faced internal conflicts of insufficiency. On both occasions, I turned back to my faith through prayer and bible study. I held onto the bible verses: Habakkuk 3:18-19 and Romans 1:17. I can make a testimony that my faith adapted to see me through both presentations and other responsibilities of mine.
As I go on with my research, I recognise that, the Faith Capital surely is a significant enabler, worthy of personal consideration and use.