Before I came into APU I remember reading on an APU blog about a girls experience meeting her alpha group. I had no idea what she was talking about and disregarded it completely. Ha. It is funny how the one thing I didn’t pay attention to at APU turned out to be the most influential.
Freshmen Year Alpha Group during Paint Wars
Rewind back 13 months, I came into APU knowing next to no one. The first night of college I got placed in a group of freshmen with one “alpha leader.” Looking back, I had no clue how this program would change my life completely. Most universities offer a program that helps you transition, typically though it lasts a mere weekend or the first week of school. Ours lasts three months to however long you want. This program alone tells a great deal about APU’s desire to form community (remember that word, you’ll hear it at a lot at APU) and build meaningful, genuine relationships.
My alpha group freshmen year was one of the first solid groups of people I got to know at APU. And my relationship with my alpha leader continues even into this school year. She is one of the greatest blessings of APU thus far and has poured into my life more then I ever expected. I know out of the list of the people I can go to if I ever need anything, she is at the top.
Some of my Alphies during our "Paint War"
Once my Alpha Group ended I sought out following in my wonderful alpha leaders footsteps and becoming an alpha leader myself. As luck would have it, I got the position and have had the privilege to get to know 7 wonderful freshmen and help them through their transition to APU.
City Links with part of my Alpha group!
Also, once you begin your role as an alpha leader you get put in an “alpha coordinator” (AC) group with a bunch of other alpha leaders and a former alpha leader (a junior).
The 2011-2012 Alpha Leaders!
My AC group consists of 4 of the most entertaining, genuine guys at APU (for real) and 8 incredible women of God. I don’t think I could have ever forseen how much these relationships would alter my view of so many things. I don’t think I could have ever forseen how being a leader would draw me nearer to God and help me discover even more so who I am in Christ.
My AC Group during Bridges (part of Alpha Training)
The purpose of an Alpha Group is not to torture you into being in an awkward group of freshmen that are forced to be together many times during a three month span. It is intended to build this wonderful community at APU and give you people that you can connect with and “do life” beside. The worst thing that could happen at college is to come in knowing no one and weeks later still feel like you don’t know anyone. With Alpha that is marked as impossible.
Also, I feel that with being an alpha leader it makes it impossible to not be madly in love with the school I ended up at. I not only get to meet with my wonderful “alphies” every week but I get to meet with my AC group once a week and build those great relationships.
Actually, “great” isn’t even a proper word to describe the relationships I have built in my AC group. It is more then a group, it is a family. Within the first 3 days of getting to know each other once we came back to school for Alpha Leader training, we were inseparable. It can best be described as Heaven sent, because I feel as if God was the only one that could have picked such a perfectly knit group of 13 people. 13 people with a heart for freshmen, APU, people in general, and GOD. 13 people that love loving and encouraging people. 13 people with the greatest senses of humor and 13 people that manage to have the best time together possible. The 2 hour meetings once a week are not enough time spent with these amazing people.
My AC Girls. SO much love.
The purpose of being an alpha leader is not only to grow as a person and as a leader, but to realize what it looks like to pour into people without ceasing and to have others pour into you. The purpose of being an alpha leader is all about the RELATIONSHIPS. The relationships I have built during the 2 months I have known the other alpha leaders in my AC group are just as strong, if not stronger, then some of the 8+ year relationships I have back home. There is something about the vulnerability, growth, love, and encouragement that grows on in an AC group that builds a relationship so much faster then they are ordinarily built.
AC Retreat in Big Bear
I could go on for ages about how much being an alpha leader and being in an alpha group upon entry at APU has changed things in my life, but you wouldn’t understand until you have experienced it first hand.
I encourage you prospective students, while deciding on a school to attend to discover programs and ways to get involved with the community at the school you are looking into. At so many schools you are just another face in the crowd. Here, you aren’t.