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Growing at UJ – Braydin Rath

Brayden Rath standing on the ice holding a big fish.

When I first told my parents I was going to tour Jamestown, they crinkled their noses a little and asked, “Why?”

I honestly did not have a response for them. At the time, I was pretty set on where I was going to college, but I had a good buddy that said to at least just come check out UJ. I eventually agreed, mostly because it was a way to get out of school for a day.

Once on campus, the feel of UJ was much different from the college I had originally planned to attend. I honestly did not know what it was, but I knew I enjoyed it.

After that visit, the rest was history

My experience on this campus has been a little different than more than 70 percent of the student body. The reason for this is because I am not a student-athlete. I will immediately follow that up by saying it did not take away from my experience.

Going from being a very involved athlete in high school to not playing sports was a little difficult at first; however, I quickly got involved elsewhere. I was a part of starting an engineering club on campus, was in three different bands, and became very involved with campus ministry. The relationships I’ve formed through these different involvements mean the world to me and will last through my lifetime.

In my time here, I’ve seen growth in many different areas on this campus.

The first being the physical campus. Right away when I arrived, the building of the Newman Arena had just started. Later, the J-House was created. Recently, the Senior Design Lab for engineering students was finished, and now UJ Place will soon be done.

There has been a range of new opportunities created on this campus, but those that stick out most to me include the addition of a men’s volleyball team and the e-sports team. These are two things I’m sure most people in North Dakota do not even know about; yet, here they are at UJ.

The growth that is nearest to my heart is that of the campus ministries. In my short time at UJ, the opportunities to serve have increased tremendously, and just the movements themselves have grown in number. God has worked in incredible ways on this campus these last few years, and it has been a blessing to experience it.

Brayden Rath at an ocean beach with a group.

The growth that I have seen here at UJ is not limited to the campus but applies to myself as well.

My main reason for coming here was to get an education and get out. An education is something I received, but UJ has given me so much more. Being in many different bands, I became a much better percussionist. Going through the tough times of college, I matured, became independent, and developed character. These are all great things, but pale in comparison to the most important thing I learned. I learned what it means to lose my life.

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever saves his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it” Luke 9:23-24. In my time here, I have learned a lot about what it means to give my life to Christ and live it for Him. There is no greater growth I could have experienced than that. For that, I am forever grateful.

There is no part of my experience I would want to change.

I came here for an education, but obtained so much more. I am thankful for the people I’ve met, the relationships I’ve formed, the experiences I’ve had, and the growth I have obtained. It has been an incredible ride UJ, and for that, I say thanks.

Brayden Rath dressed silly with friends.

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Posted:April 3, 2020


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