CEDARVILLE, Ohio — A lot of college students struggle in their freshman year. Adapting to a different schedule, increased social interaction and academic challenges can make for a rough first semester.
But for Alisha Goodall, the challenge to college success came from a unique place — her faith.
Goodall, an Early Child Education major at Cedarville University, was drawn to Cedarville after watching friends from her church attend and succeed.
She knew from an early age that she wanted to be a teacher, and Cedarville’s education programs had a strong reputation. In addition, Goodall wanted to attend a college that truly modeled the Christian faith.
“My freshman year was a rough one,” said Goodall. “I failed three of my freshmen classes and dropped out of a discipleship group because of them.”
These setbacks brought to the surface long-held yet unexpressed doubts about her faith.
“I was definitely questioning if I was saved or not, but I was too prideful and embarrassed to ask anybody about it so I just kept pushing the thoughts away,” said Goodall.
During Cedarville’s annual Fall Bible Conference Goodall’s sophomore year, the pushing became too much.
“Dr. [Thomas] White, Cedarville’s president, said that if you have that burden on your heart, it is not Satan telling you to be saved, it is God. His words really sunk in for me,” said Goodall.”
After this challenge, Goodall met with her resident assistant, Kayla Pahl. Pahl explained the Gospel to her and Goodall made a decision to put her faith in Jesus.
“I was relieved and there was a peace in my heart that I had never felt before,” said Goodall. “I turned my head knowledge into what my heart truly believed.”
Pahl became more than a resident assistant to Goodall. The two met every week to do a Bible study and hear each other’s perspective on what they were learning.
“Kayla really influenced my walk with God,” said Goodalll. “She challenged me and loved talking about what God was doing in our lives.”
Pahl was also encouraged to see one of the girl’s in her hall take action. “When Alisha first came to Cedarville, she was interested in God but not devoted to God,” said Pahl. “However, a year ago a switch flipped, and God changed her heart. It has been amazing to see God work and use her to serve others.”
Since then, Goodall has been on the dean’s list and joined God’s Girls, a Cedarville student organization that works with young people at The Gospel Mission in Dayton. She also serves in her local church with the youth group.
“I want the testimony of my life to be how I am using my gifts and talents to serve the Lord rather than glorifying myself,” said Goodall. “Everything I do I want to point to the one who deserves all the praise.”
For more information about Cedarville University, visit www.cedarville.edu.