Like many young adults, Karla Iglesias of Sugar Land looked to time in college as a chance to explore her freedom and test the limits she had previously known. After graduating from a college preparatory school, Iglesias went to a state university where she studied business and advertising. It became easier to let go of responsibilities as her Christian standards took a slide.
“I had always looked forward to living on my own and being with friends. I was very focused on pursuing a college experience,” she said “I definitely had a decline in my spiritual life. I was living between two worlds. I got into the party scene and involved in smoking marijuana. My GPA went from a 3.4 to a 1.27.”
Iglesias realized that she couldn’t continue on the same trajectory. “I was going to a small church. One day I talked to a pastor. I said, ‘I’m having this issue where I don’t feel convicted.’ I opened up about what was going on in my life,” she said. “He gave me a word of encouragement. That act of confession and the result was unbelievable. Later, by myself, the Lord’s presence was so heavy in my room. I said, ‘If you want me to change, if you want me to do something different, take over.’ I felt Him giving me the strength I needed.”
After that, Iglesias quit the old habits. She started to read her Bible again and told her parents what had been going on. Her symptoms were just a sign of the need that she and her peers were experiencing, she says. “It’s crazy to see how hungry everyone is for God. They don’t know what they’re hungry for, but they know they need something,” she said.
Iglesias decided to return home to help with the family business and finish college in an environment that would nurture her faith. “I think everything with HBU just kind of clicked; I got a grant and it felt right here,” she said. “I remember one of my professors, Jesse GrothOlson, sat next to me and helped me register for all of my classes. I had never had that kind of caring at school before. There is such a peace about this campus.”
AT HBU, Iglesias majors in Mass Media with a minor in Marketing. She cherishes weekly convocation (chapel services), praying in class and open dialogue about faith. She’s had more hands-on learning opportunities than ever, including an internship with a local radio station and a large-scale marketing project. She even served as a writer and editor in a new student magazine, Satellite. During a project with a local advertising company, she was offered a job on the spot.
“It’s wonderful. The people at HBU have been the main reason that these opportunities have opened up. I haven’t experienced the support that I’ve had here elsewhere,” Iglesias said. “I think the small classes have something to do with it. And the professors are so kind; they see all of their classes as an opportunity to help us. The staff are so approachable and helpful too.”
The college experience is much better this time around, with much to be proud of and nothing to hide. “For peers, I think you really have to keep yourself busy with good things. If your spirit is strong, it can fight off the temptations that you have. If you neglect it, it’s easier to give in. Feed your spirit, have a positive community at church, good friends you can trust, and be open with your family if you can,” she said. “I think with the academics and the spiritual side, you get the best of both worlds here at HBU. Things have fallen into place for me.”
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