by Jordan Haney

CLEVELAND, Ga., – “One day, my mom, for some strange, crazy, oddball reason said, “Hey, we are going to go do a preview day at Truett.” And my first response was…why?” remembered Nathan Loper, a freshman at Truett McConnell University.

Like many students, God’s sovereign hand can be the only explanation as to how Loper ended up at Truett.

Colleges, careers, and choices, oh my!

As the oldest of a missionary family of four homeschool children, Loper expressed how he always had imagined going to college. “I always knew I was going to go to college because it is kind of what my family expected and it is basically what society expects.”

Despite his college goals, Truett McConnell was never on his radar. “I always wanted to be an engineer. At the age of three, I would take things apart and put them back together” Loper stated.

Though engineering was what Loper wanted to pursue, he also has an incredible gift with music. “I have been playing piano since I was six. I am a classically trained pianist. I did orchestra percussion for seven years, guitar for five and a bunch of random other instruments. Music is kind of my thing.”

So when he arrived on the quaint campus of TMU, Loper had the opportunity to speak with many of the music faculty.

“As I was sitting in the caf talking to some of the professors, I felt like God said – you need to go here. My first response was, ‘No!’ I had everything planned, I had what I wanted with the other schools, but God closed all the other doors and opened one at TMU.” Today, Loper is a General Music major with a concentration in Piano.

Freshman life

In the middle of August 2016, Loper moved on campus to Sewell, one of the men’s freshman dorms. Thus, began the beginning of his adult life, away from his parents and family. “If I could sum up being away from my parents in three words, it would be: freeing but sad. I love my parents a lot, so I miss them and they miss me.”

Loper stays very involved with campus life. “I participated in the TMU Singing Competition. I’ve also been a part of several of the intramural sports, especially soccer; that’s my favorite.”

“I love just doing stuff on campus. I am one of those people who loves to do things. That seems broad, but I love taking the [talents] God has given me, like my gift of music, and giving it back to Him.”

An awakening in faith

When asked about how his faith in the Lord has grown over his time at TMU, Loper replied, “My faith has grown through discipline. My family used to read the Bible together at night so sometimes, in my mind, I used to justify that as my “quiet time”. Now, I don’t have that, so I have to get up every morning and before I get my day started, I sit down with my Bible. I’ve had to discipline myself to sit down, read and spend time with God. That has helped me so much. God has drawn me so much closer to him and my faith has grown tremendously.”

Likewise, Loper shared how his faith matured over a mission trip to India during Spring Break. “God has definitely opened my eyes to a lot of things as I learned compassion and how to process it. I am a very logical, straightforward person and God has brought me down to learning things on a relational level.”

Wise advice

Just like any freshman, Loper came in with expectations and found out the reality of living alone very soon after moving to TMU. “School is similar in some ways, but still very different from home life. Definitely one of the biggest struggles is having to make all of the decisions for myself now. All of the responsibility is on me, I can’t rely on my parents anymore.”

In fact, Loper even gave some important advice for an incoming freshman. “Don’t take yourself so seriously,” he shared. “You may have all these ideas about what college is going to be like and what you are going to do, and you pretty much aren’t going to do any of that.”

“Truett has already prepared me for my future life because of all the people I have met. Once I leave TMU in a few years, I may try to get back into an engineering program. If God shuts the doors again,” Loper said, “I will know that’s not the path He has for me. If I don’t go down that path, my future is in God’s hands.”


Jordan is a TMU Student and Intern for the office of Marketing and Communications at TMU.

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