February 23, 2021
Yadi Hu, a recent graduate of the M.A. in Biblical Exegesis, reflects on her time in the program.
Yadi Hu learned a lot more than just academics during her M.A. in Biblical Exegesis at Wheaton College Graduate School. Here she reflects on the challenges and blessings of her experience in the program:
“My Wheaton journey has been one of great challenge and growth. When I started the Biblical Exegesis program, I wasn’t really even sure why I was there. But God had a purpose in leading me to this program, and I’m thankful that He did.
Challenges defined my first year at Wheaton. Academically, biblical scholarship was a completely new field to me. I was overwhelmed by the complexity of the Bible and the amount of new information that I was taught every day. I told myself I must work as hard as I possibly could to catch up with my peers. So I structured my life to pretty much revolve around reading, writing, reading my writing, and rewriting. Memorizing Greek and Hebrew paradigms was as exciting as it got. I had pretty much no plans outside of school and no activities other than schoolwork. I felt trapped by my own schedule. And for the record, I would not recommend this approach to your first year of graduate school!
On top of that, I was challenged spiritually. I found that much of the critical scholarship I was reading was at odds with what my pastors used to preach. I started questioning the Bible and even my faith. But throughout the program, my professors were all extremely pastoral and caring. There was not one question that I asked or meeting I requested, however weird or random, that was brushed off. Those open conversations about faith with different professors, staff, and fellow students helped me wrestle with the hard questions, and they ultimately helped rebuild my faith. That was a tremendous blessing.
If my first year was characterized by challenges, my second was characterized by growth. Adding diversity to my schedule added more balance to my life. I worked five different campus jobs, attended various kinds of public lectures and concerts, regularly hosted small fellowship gatherings with my roommates, and tried some unique Chicagoland experiences—even attending a Blackhawks game, not having the slightest idea about hockey. To my surprise, even with a busier work and social schedule, I was still able to finish all my readings and papers in time. And importantly, life was a lot more meaningful and enjoyable.
One of my favorite jobs working as a Hebrew tutor. It was so rewarding to see how my newly acquired knowledge could benefit others. Connecting with others from various disciplines also gave me an opportunity to see how book and classroom knowledge has real-life value in the world and can equip me to serve others better.
In March 2020, the pandemic brought all of those activities to an end; paradoxically, that was also when Wheaton became home to me. I was extremely touched by the care I received from the Wheaton family. Professors in every class would give us time to share prayer requests and pray for one another. Chaplain Dr. Greg Anderson not only continued to give us spiritual nourishment through online chapels, but also delivered groceries to our door. I won’t be able to list all the sweet moments. A neighborhood family took me into their home and treated me like I was a member of their family. That’s where I finished my last semester of dual learning, which went surprisingly well. I especially enjoyed baking Christmas cookies together. During the pandemic, Wheaton taught me how to love and care for others by exemplifying that love to me.
I wasn’t sure why God had drawn me to the MA in Biblical Exegesis program when I started. But I’ve learned that a Wheaton education goes well beyond the classroom. I’ve been taught to be strong academically, be firm in faith, be generous in care, and be genuine in love. So, I’ve come to believe that God brought me to Wheaton because He knew this was exactly what I needed.”