Starting already in high school, Julia DeWeerd had a keen interest in math and science. She excelled in these subjects and decided early on that the most logical career path for her would be to become an engineer. But little did she know at the time that God had a different plan for her.
When the time came for DeWeerd to start thinking about post-secondary education options, she began by looking at schools that offered engineering programs. Though Redeemer was known to her at the time, she decided to apply elsewhere. “I had thought about coming to Redeemer but quickly looked past it because it didn’t have an engineering program,” she recalls. “My mind was made up.”
DeWeerd applied to multiple universities and eventually accepted an offer of admission at a public university in Ontario. She graduated high school and began her studies, working towards the degree and career she felt called to pursue.
Two months into her first semester of university — the middle of midterm season —DeWeerd attended a Church-in- the-Box service with a friend who was currently attending Redeemer. “Throughout the service, I started to feel jealous of my friend’s experience at university and how different it was from mine,” DeWeerd admits. “It was becoming more evident to me that God was leading me somewhere other than an engineering degree, but I didn’t want to be a quitter.”
“It was tremendously difficult to leave my whole future in God’s hands, but I needed help in making a decision.”
Though she continued her studies in engineering for another month, it became more and more apparent that a public university experience was not a good fit. She knew that she needed a change but was unsure where God was calling her. So, she spent an evening in prayer. “It was tremendously difficult to leave my whole future in God’s hands,” says DeWeerd, “but I needed help in making a decision.”
The following morning, she attended church with her family. At the very end of the service, the congregation sang the hymn “My Redeemer Lives” together. It was during that song that DeWeerd felt God nudging her towards a different course — a change of major and a change of university.
As soon as she got home, she told her parents about her experience in church that morning — that she had felt God calling her to study at Redeemer. “When I told my parents, they were so happy for me. We inquired immediately, with both my previous university and Redeemer, about how to transfer programs.”
Having enjoyed the business elective courses she took in her first semester of university, DeWeerd decided she wanted to switch into Redeemer’s Business program. Overall, DeWeerd says, the transition was smooth. “I immediately felt right at home at Redeemer,” she adds. “People already knew my name, I wasn’t just another number in the classroom.”
Now that DeWeerd has completed her second semester at Redeemer, she is confident that she made the right choice. She is eager to see how God will continue to use her experience to shape her. “This year, I made friends that are my family away from home. I am loving every day of learning within a faith community.”
Photo courtesy of Lauren Morton Photography.