Senior Reflections — Alicia Hanner

In just 30 short days I will graduate from McCormick. I will put on a robe and a hat and be handed a piece of paper that will say I am a master of divinity…

Alicia Hanner and her Religious Pluralism Class

This is a strange reality to accept, a three year journey is coming to an end and because of the stressful nature of a final semester of a graduate program I have not had the time or more accurately I have not dedicated the time to truly reflect on what graduating from McCormick means. I am excited to graduate and to see what the next chapter of my life and ministry will entail, but I would be a liar if I said I am not also nervous. This has been a wonderful journey but now the real question is am I ready to leave? Have I learned everything I need to know? Probably not. Have I learned enough to survive and be effective wherever I end up? I hope so. At times the fear of the unknown is crippling and at other times it is invigorating. But if my field site internship and my CPE experience have taught me anything it is that you can never be fully prepared for what you will encounter in ministry, but have faith that God has given you the tools you need and will be right there with you.

I remember when I arrived at McCormick I had come with the hope of figuring out what I want to do with my life and who I want to be. In some ways I am leaving with more questions than I came in with but I do believe I am leaving having had some of my biggest questions answered.

I am not leaving McCormick ready to receive a call as an associate pastor of a church, like I thought I might or like many who love and support me thought I would. And that is OK. And that is proof of my growth. I have gained knowledge, strengthened my faith here, and grown in other ways I didn’t expect. Because this place has given me opportunities to learn about and explore the world around me and has surrounded me with people who inspire me and have been willing to journey with me. It is this amazing community of staff, faculty, and students that have made my time here enjoyable and memorable.

There were times I doubted myself and my call, days where I just cried because I felt inadequate or lost, and days that I seriously considered giving up. But I know I am called to ministry, I have faith that God will continue to walk with me and guide me to where I am supposed to be. That is after all how I came to be at McCormick. So leaving this place will be bittersweet just as the end to any chapter in life is but this is a place full of people and experiences that I will carry with me for the rest of my life and I will be forever grateful for all I have learned and the ways in which I have grown personally and professionally.


Screen shot 2012-10-05 at 9.53.48 AMAlicia Hanner is a graduating senior of McCormick, pursuing ordination in the PC(USA) as well as her passion for interfaith work