Recent Grads Share Impressions of Their ORU Journeys

By Nathan Porter, Class of 2013

Frankie Miamen
Frankie Miamen's focus changed from playing basketball at ORU to learning to hear God's voice.
Andrew Balla
Andrew Balla worked hard to get to ORU and was determined not to waste the opportunity.
Tina Choi
Tina Choi says she enjoyed ORU's family atmosphere.

Along with the many emotions that arise around college graduation, reflection seems to be a common act for every graduating senior. As graduation was approaching this year, we spoke with three seniors who couldn't help but reflect on their first days at ORU and the changes that have occurred in their lives.

Frankie Miamen graduated with a degree in management this spring and attests to the tremendous impact ORU has had on him academically and spiritually. When he entered ORU as a freshman, however, his primary focus was basketball.

Miamen had been a high school basketball standout in his hometown of Hew Hope, Minn., and his plan was to continue that success as a member of the ORU men's basketball team.

"My intention was always to play Division 1 basketball, so my initial mindset was to come in and walk-on to the basketball team here," said Miamen.

To his dismay, Miamen did not make the team, but as a result, his focus began to change. "Once I realized God didn't want me to play sports here, I realized I needed to focus on Him more and learn to hear His voice," said Miamen.

Over his four years at ORU, Miamen worked with the Man-to-Man project, ORU Outreach, Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), and a number of different clubs. He hopes to one day become a general manager of a professional sports team and live out the mission of the university in the arena of athletics.

After attending a college in India for two years, computer science major Andrew Balla was excited about the opportunity to attend ORU . . . but the process of getting to ORU was not an easy one. Balla struggled with finances and was denied a visa to study abroad on two different occasions.

After trying for nearly a year, Balla finally made it to ORU in the fall of 2010 and was determined to make the most of his experience.

"Because I worked so hard to get here, I didn't want to lose out on all the different opportunities they have," he said. "I didn't want to just be a passive student; I really wanted to get plugged in to all ORU had to offer, academically, spiritually, and culturally."

Balla said ORU had an immense impact on him and that he particularly appreciated the leadership of ORU's president, Dr. Mark Rutland, and his ability to challenge him in the faith. "Dr. Rutland's sermons really impacted me, because where I'm from I didn't hear that much depth in the Word," said Balla.

Balla's post-graduation plans were to work in the field of computer science and programming, but his ultimate dream is to become an educator and model ORU's whole-person education in India and in the United States.

Piano major Tina Choi transferred from a community college in California two years ago and made a special effort to absorb as much as she could at ORU.

"There are so many different opportunities here, and I didn't want to miss any of them," she joked.

Throughout her two years, Choi was active in the chaplains program and University Chorale. She admitted that she would miss a number of things about ORU, but most of all the community.

Establishing close relationships with classmates and girls on her wing was a new experience for Choi.

"I'm from L.A. and people don't greet you with a smile, but here it's much more of a family atmosphere," said Choi, whose future plans church music and worship.

Miamen shared this sentiment.

"I'm definitely going to miss the joyful atmosphere and the accountability that goes with it," he said, just days away from receiving his diploma.

Ultimately, as students become alumni, ORU's goal is for them to be thankful for the phase of life they are leaving and confident in the phase they are entering, and to share the experiences and knowledge they gained at ORU with the world.