Admissions News - January 2011
Day in the Life helped Briana Rynerson discover where she was meant to be
Briana Rynerson, a first-year Master of Arts student, discovered her love for theology in what she describes as random ways: a combination of a trip to Jinja, Uganda to visit her sister, a feeling of being "weird" for enjoying reading theology, and the persistent feeling that something was missing in her life, despite all its blessings. But it was a conversation at a party that helped Rynerson realize her "hobby" could be a big part of her life.
A mutual friend introduced Rynerson to a Luther Seminary student. During their conversation, Rynerson shared that she had just decided to focus her undergraduate work at the University of St. Thomas on theology. Rynerson had a great theological conversation with the young man and realized that what was missing in her life was the chance to have these kinds of conversations all the time. He encouraged her to look into seminary, and she did.
Rynerson participated in Day in the Life in February 2010 and had an amazing experience. "My confidence and excitement grew after meeting other students and faculty at A Day in the Life," says Rynerson. "It was awesome to see that other prospective students were in the same boat that I was and had similar questions and concerns." She had the chance to visit with other prospective students; worship at House of Mercy, a congregation in St. Paul, Minn.; and share a meal and games with staff and faculty at the Chatterbox, a local restaurant. The time not only gave Rynerson a chance to get to know members of the Luther Seminary community, but it also helped answer some of her questions, like, "What kind of people go to seminary?" "What can I study?" "What's the community like?" and "What will I do for a job after seminary?" She also sat in on classes, worshipped in chapel and essentially saw what a typical day in the life of a Luther seminarian is like.
"It was great to get the real-life perspective from students that were experiencing what I was about to start," she said. "I don't think I could have gotten that anywhere else."
Rynerson's Day in the Life experience helped her finalize her decision to become a Luther Seminary student. "It was awesome," she says, adding that it was a great way to get a feel for the campus and really affirm her decision to attend Luther.
Because she comes from a Catholic background, Rynerson's parents questioned her decision at first: Why Luther Seminary instead of a Catholic graduate program? But Rynerson knew Luther Seminary was the place for her. She was ready to think about her faith in new ways and felt that Luther Seminary was the best place for her to have that opportunity ... and it's proven to be true. The classes are giving Rynerson what she wants: the chance for her to explore her own faith more deeply while being challenged by professors and conversations with fellow students. She is learning to listen to others express their beliefs in their own words.
The best part of Luther Seminary for Rynerson is her professors. They're brilliant, she says, but also approachable. In part, that approachability helped her rethink her future ministry direction. Rynerson initially planned to study systematic theology and eventually work on a Ph.D. After a few weeks, however, she decided to combine her love of theology with her initial undergraduate work in psychology. She is pursuing a dual degree in marriage and family therapy that Luther Seminary offers in partnership with St. Mary's University. With this degree, Rynerson hopes to help people walk through this very important relationship in their lives with a God-centered focus.
"A Day in the Life made me realize that my decision to go to Luther was one of the best decisions I had made."
Whether you have a pretty good sense that Luther is the place for you, or someone recently recommended you check out seminary, Day in the Life is a great way to get a clearer sense of what seminary life is like. The community of Luther Seminary would love to host you at Day in the Life, Feb. 20-21. For more information, or to register, visit www.luthersem.edu/dayinthelife.