Amanda Finnigan didn’t see the need for a four-year degree as she grew close to high school graduation. “I thought I would just do ministry and maybe get an associate’s degree,” she remembers.
However, in November 2017, during her senior year of high school, Finnigan visited HBU. She was surprised to find that she was eligible for the Founders Scholarship, a music scholarship, and a Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) scholarship. A university education was very attainable after all.
“That day I remember being on campus and thinking, ‘I could see myself here.’ I went from not wanting to go to college to falling in love with HBU,” Finnigan said. “I put in my deposit and then went to Spring Preview and registered for classes. Every time I came to campus, God was affirming in different ways why I was here.”
As a Psychology major and Music minor, Finnigan is preparing for her life’s work. “I want to do counseling or social work. For that, school is necessary,” she said. “Through HBU and being able to come to a place I love, God gave me a peace about going through school.”
Finnigan’s on-campus involvements include Baptist Student Ministries and the University Singers. After a year at HBU, Finnigan is thrilled to be a Husky. “It’s been really awesome. I love the faculty and the professors. I’ve developed relationships with some of them. When I have problems or things I need wisdom on, I love that they treat me with respect,” she said. Finnigan also benefits from a faculty mentor through the Spiritual Life Kaleo Discipleship program.
Between the two semesters of her freshman year, Finnigan traveled with Go Now Missions to Lesvos, Greece, where she worked at a refugee camp. She reflected on her experiences in an article for the Baptist Standard. She wrote, “It is funny, because God spent all of this past semester teaching me to trust when I do not understand. Right now, I do not understand how God can be faithful to those people. I do not understand how God can use my service and the service of others to help them. I do not understand why the Lord chose me, of all people, to experience that. But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my understanding is not necessary in order for God’s Kingdom to be triumphant. God is faithful.”
Her time at HBU has expanded Finnigan’s definition of ministry. “The community has been good for me to grow in how I handle relationships and how I handle people,” she said. “I see my everyday life as a ministry, and not just ministry as a job I go into at a church.”
This summer, Finnigan is serving as a youth intern with Champion Forest Baptist Church. Finnigan is confident she made the best decision to get the best of both worlds – practical experience and a solid educational foundation. “I’ve seen the insight that professors have. Being in psychology classes and getting to hear from people who share my beliefs, but also practice professionally, has been really helpful and awesome,” she said. “I’m excited to dive further in.”