So, my first semester is done…

I write from my college laptop…except I’m at home now, sitting in the livingroom listening to music, watching Clarence (the cat) fall asleep on the other side of the couch, and hold on….gotta let Vinny (the dog) out…hahaha..it’s great to be back. J  I got home from school on December 15th and don’t go back ‘til January 14th.  It’s been really nice to be home; and of course, you know how it is at home. I landed at the airport running.  Life at home has been a mixture of getting a ton of rest and running around with all our activities.  Some days, like today, I sleep in really late and basically work on mini projects that have been on my list of to-do’s for a while.  Other days, we run around from dawn to dusk doing all sorts of stuff. 

 So, I’m done with my first semester…I survived!  Let me update you on life in CA.  I live in Hotchkiss dorm, which is the closest dorm to all the classroom buildings as well a guy and girl dorm.  The dorm is situated like the letter “H” with the left “leg” of the “H” being the guy’s side.  The center “-“ is our lounge, which is fully equipped with a pool table, a foosball table, a ping-pong ball table, and many tables, chairs, and couches.  The right “leg” of the “H” is the girl’s side. I’m on the second floor on the lower half of the “H” (lower as in how you’d write it on paper), on the inside near the lounge.  It’s pretty neat and honestly the best dorm on campus. 

My roommate’s name is Sara Thomas.  We get along pretty well, although we both hope to request certain friends of ours to room with next year (nothing between us – the switch of roommates is very normal), but more on friends and the like later.

I work two jobs while I’m at school.  I write real estate ads every other week for the company here in

Point and email them back here for publication in the Press and Sun.  It’s not much, but it’s nice to have that little bit of income slowly building up.  I also work on campus at the career services office.  At this job, I administer CLEP tests, which are tests you can take to get college credit for a class without actually taking the class.  I also do random office jobs like writing the Sheepskin newsletter which hardly anyone reads but it’s fun to write

This past semester I took 13 credits (16 counting a 3-credit course I CLEP’ed out of).  I took Biblical Fundamentals, World History I, Journalism, Spoken Communication, and Old Testament Survey I.  I think I did well after having been away from school for almost two years and ended up having a 3.5 GPA (4.0 is perfect).

Biblical Fundamentals was just that – pretty fundamental.  It basically walked us through various things like how to have a quiet time and challenged us to set personal goals and resolutions in our relationships with Christ.

World History I was by far my toughest class.  I loved my professor, because he was really animated and definitely made history interesting. However, he was a really tough prof, who wanted us to know EVERYTHING in the note packet SO in detail that we had to know the information backwards and forwards in order to have a chance at doing well at the tests.  It took some time for me to figure out how to best study for this class.  And it was all ancient, Greek and Roman history no less!  It took a while, but I did end up getting a 27 out of 30 on the final, so I was really happy. Of course, I didn’t do as well as I wanted in the overall grade of the class, but I did better than I expected, so that’s neat.

Journalism was another tough yet fun class.  Dr. Simons, the prof, is an ex-soldier, so he’s pretty tough.  He’s also a retired journalist, so he knows the subject like the back of his hand; thus, he wasn’t very lenient on bad work.  In general, I don’t really enjoy journalism, but he definitely made it fun.  I’ve included a few papers I wrote for his class in case you’re interested.  I got my best grade on the “
New York – Sentimental Journeys” paper.  I’ll try to upload it to my site so you can read it… you may not get it if you don’t know New York City…

Spoken Communication was a really fun class.  Basically, we learned about the parts of four types of speeches (informative, demonstrative, persuasive, and debate), watched segments of movies that demonstrated each type, delivered 3 speeches, and participated in a debate.  It was really fun!

I would have to say Old Testament Survey 1 was one of my favorite if not my favorite class this semester.  My prof was amazing!  We studied Genesis through 2 Samuel, walking chapter by chapter through the Scriptures and tying it all together with not only other parts of the Old Testament but the New Testament as well.  It was really neat, because I’ve never understood what the point was for certain parts of the Bible (like Leviticus, Ruth, etc), but through this class, I’ve just learned so much about the theme of each book and the overall purpose that points to Jesus.  Even books like Leviticus, which shows God’s Holiness in demanding death as a payment for our sins, and Ruth, which shows that God not only prepared for Himself a people (the theme of Judges) but more specifically, He prepared a remnant for His Name’s sake (the theme of Ruth).  It was an amazing class that challenged to me to take the theme for the book and walk through the book chapter by chapter and find ways that God exhibited that theme at every turn.  It was a life-changing exercise that has changed my view of the Old Testament dramatically.  It all makes so much more sense now. 

As I told Dad and Mom, I would take the class over in a heartbeat, because I feel like I didn’t retain as much of it as I would have liked.  I know another student in the class recorded it, so I’m going to see if I can get a copy of the class – I sure hope so.  It was really neat too, because our prof was so great – a brilliant guy – and had no problem with us raising our hands in the middle of class and asking the most random question about the passage; and he would take the time to answer our questions and even give our fellow students opportunity to respond to the questions and answers.  It was amazing!

I’m very excited because I’m taking Old Testament Survey 2 with the same professor next semester.  We should be covering 1 Kings through Malachi (the remainder of the Old Testament).  I can’t wait!  I’m sure it’ll be an amazing class!

Other classes I’m taking this semester include World History II, Milton, Christianity in Film, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, and hopefully Short Story.

            I used to dread my having to take World History II.  That was when I was really doing badly in World History 1.  However, now that I know how to study for that professor, I’m excited to do better in the class.  Also, it’s later history – World War I through present, I believe – so I’m more familiar with it and honestly, more interested in it.

Milton ..hahaha…we’ll see about this one.  John Milton was an amazing, in-depth writer that wrote Paradise Lost and Paradise Gained, two large and complicated pieces of writing.  At school, Professor Grant Horner is the highest Miltonian in the WORLD, which means he is the world expert on John Milton. He offers a class that studies his work and…well, I’m not sure exactly what it involves; but it’s a really tough class.  I’m currently signed up for it and am willing to give it a shot.  However, it is a senior-level class, so I’m fully aware that I may end up going for the first couple of classes then dropping it for another class that’s a little more realistic for me as a second-semester freshman.  We’ll see.

            I’m really excited about my Christianity in Film class.  This is an elective course, meaning it doesn’t help me with my specific major; however, I’m very excited to look at this medium and Christians’ involvement and how the two come together.  Personally, I’m of Frankie Schaeffer’s mindset – you remember him, right? – that Christians need to get out there and get involved in the entertainment industry to affect it for the

Kingdom of
God.  I’m really excited; it should be really neat to see all that this class involves.

            Critical Thinking and Problem Solving is a math class that I think all students have to take. I think it’s basically word and logic problems, but I really don’t know.  I guess, from what I hear, students either love or hate the class.  I’m kind of in the mood to do math, so I’m looking forward to it.

            I’m currently on the wait-list for Short Story.  In other words, the class is currently filled, but there’s a possibility I can get in if somebody else drops the class. I plan on going to at least the first week of the class to see if someone eventually drops it and I have a chance to get in.  Again, we’ll see.  I may end up adding one or two classes depending on if I get into this class and if I drop Milton or not.  We’ll see.

            Well, as you can guess, college is more than just academics.  We have really neat sports at school.  We have a really sharp baseball team, and I can’t wait to watch their games!  Because the weather is so warm over there, their first game is January 20th.  I know some of the baseball players – one specifically reminds me of you. J  We also have great basketball teams.  The girls’ basketball team has gone to the national championship tournament for the last 3 years.  Last year they made it to the final four.  I was going to try out for the team, and sometimes, when I watch people play, I regret that I didn’t, because I miss playing. However, in actuality, I’m glad I didn’t try out because I wouldn’t have had time or energy to do all that I do now.  Also, they pretty much just hang with the athletes, and that would mean I probably wouldn’t ever see most of my friends. 

I do some sports unofficially though.  We play ultimate frisbee every Saturday morning from 8-10:30.  It’s really fun!  We normally have about 15-20 people who come out to play.  We play for a while then go to brunch together.  It’s been really fun as well as a good way to stay active amidst the hours and hours of sitting I do weekly for school and work.  Unfortunately, I did gain some weight this first semester – not too much…I didn’t go up a size or anything, and although I think I’ve lost some of it being home – hopefully most or all of it, I don’t want to gain it back. This upcoming semester I hope to do better in keeping in shape by going to the on-campus gym at least once or twice a week.  I’ll probably play other dorm vs. dorm sports too.  I know we have a dodge ball tournament sometime.  I’ve heard that’s a ton of fun.  I’m not certain, but we may have a dorm vs. dorm softball season too.

            Another extra-curricular activity I do at school is Collegiate Singers. It’s a choir made up of about 80 students and even some faculty.  We just recently did a Christmas concert where we did some songs in Latin as well as silly songs like “Jingle Bells” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”  It was really fun!  Actually, there’s a smaller, more trained group of singers from school that are taking a national and even international (
Canada) tour this upcoming spring. They should be in
Binghamton, so I’m so excited to go hear them and bring friends from here to meet my friends from school!  Actually, it’s funny because the wife of the conductor, Mrs. Plew, is Mr. Bleck’s cousin!!!  Isn’t that funny?  It’s a small world!

            I have an awesome church out in
California!  It’s made up of probably 250 people or so…maybe larger but not too much over 300 people.  We have a main service first with awesome worship music and great Biblical teaching!  Following that, I go to the college and career Sunday school, which is basically a second service made up of 60 or so college-age young adults.  We sing then listen to a great message by a fellow East-coaster Jason Beals (He’s from
New Jersey).  It’s really neat, because about 55+ of the people in my college group are from Master’s, so it’s neat to not only see each other on campus or go to class together but also worship together on Sunday’s.  On Sunday nights, I normally go with some friends to

Church, which is pastored by the president of my school, John MacArthur. I don’t know if you know who he is, but he’s written many, many books and is a great speaker!  I think the church seats 7000 and they have two Sunday morning services and one evening service!  It’s a little large for me, but I do enjoy the Sunday evening services a lot.  I go with some really good friends, and I enjoy the good discussions we have on the way there and back.

Speaking of friends, I’ve made a ton of new friends at school.  The whole school is about 1300 students and with work and all my activities I would say I know or have at least met about half of the students.  It’s pretty neat!  My closest friends include Audrey Lundy, Cameron Knox, Naomi Jeffries, Shane Topolinski, Amos Ralston, Caitlin Gutierrez…and various other people I hang with.

            Audrey Lundy is an amazing girl! She and I are sooo close!  She is definitely my absolute BEST friend on campus!!!  We live on the same floor in Hotchkiss and are thinking of rooming together next year.  We don’t have many classes together as she is an accounting major, so we don’t have to take much of the same courses.  However, we meet together every Tuesday night rain or shine for dinner and have an awesome time being honest with each other about our trials and our victories, challenging and encouraging each other, calling each other to account, and praying together.  Her brother Randy is on campus too.  He’s an amazing guy, who loves the Lord wholeheartedly.  He’s been a great friend that I’ve gone to with big questions, and he’s been helpful in explaining things.  He’s two years older than Audrey, and sometimes their relationship reminds me of you and me. J  

            Cameron Knox is from
New York.  We graduated together with the home school group and have ended up at school together.  It’s been neat to have a fellow New Yorker out there in
California; and it’s been neat to see how our friendship has worked out.  He’s a great friend who is both a source of much entertainment, comfort, and encouragement.

            I’m just getting to know Naomi Jeffries.  I name her as one of my closest friends, because I think she really desires that…in all honesty, so do I.  As I said, I’m still getting to know her, but she is a young woman full of wisdom.  She’s a lot of fun, and even in one semester, we’ve been through some interesting situations together, and I know she has a sincere love for the Lord.

            Shane Topolinski is a really fun guy.  He’s also a strong believer with whom I’ve had so really neat talks with and with whom I’ve gotten to know really well recently through an interesting situation we’ve dealt with with a common friend.  He’s really humble; and I really appreciate that he can both be a hilarious jokester and a serious counselor.  One of my favorite things about Shane is that he has a sincere concern for others to know what they believe and why.  Often, he’ll randomly bring up subjects and challenge me on what I believe so that I grow in my ability to think through and defend my beliefs.

            Amos Ralston…I don’t know how to describe him except that he’s HUGE! Hahahaha…’Mos, is a really big guy – I wouldn’t doubt if he’s larger than Mr. Mrva – that I have a ton of fun joking around with.  We have lots of fun with the most random things, but again, we can also be serious and talk real issues and encourage each other to press on.

            Caitlin Gutierrez and I were in World History I together, and for most of the semester, we never talked.  We met through some common friends (guys who make movies like you and Nate did – they make me cry from laughing pretty much every time), and I’m happy to say Caitlin plans on coming home with me on spring break!  She’s so excited as she’s never been to New York, and we plan on going to NYC and possibly
Niagara Falls.

            I have to say I have a ton of friends out there other than those I mentioned: Joey Moore (a girl), Chad Poor, Heather Eccles, Keith Robinson, Logan Greenfield, Jason and Steph Beals, Michaela Winn, Trey Holland, Paul Ellsworth, Jennifer Long, Adam Knapper, Allegra Weaver, Hannah Cooper, Valinda Easton….I could go on and on.  (Hey, friends from TMC, if I forgot you, please forgive me…know that it’s just my vacationing mind not working properly…nothing against you.)  It’s been an AMAZING opportunity that honestly leaves me speechless to explain.  Sure, college life is tough with balancing school, work, church, and life in general.  However, it has been an amazing semester that I wouldn’t trade for the world!  I’ve learned sooo much about God and His Character and His Love and His Sovereignty so that, although I will never fully understand all there is to know of His Amazing Character, I have learned so much that it has altered my view of Him for the better and hopefully given me a more humble view of myself and a more reverent view of Him.

            I have learned a ton about myself through this semester too.  It’s been so humbling to see my sinful tendencies and even greater to see God’s mercies and faithfulness! I’ve seen just how selfish and prideful and off-focused I can be, and again, how faithful God is to give me a swift kick in the butt to get me re-focused on Him.  It’s been neat.

            I’ve also learned a lot about friendship through this semester.   Living with 1300 people may sound like a fun thing, but it’s also time-consuming and easily mishandled.  It’s neat to see how God has worked out certain friendships over the past semester and how He has used each one to draw me to Him in a different way.

            Overall, I have been sincerely blessed to not only live on a Christian campus but to live on a campus where I am surrounded by over a thousand people who are hungry for God!  Whether it’s being challenged by my speech professor in the area of my faith or confronted on my sin by a fellow classmate in the middle of class, encouraged by a friend who cares enough to ask, “How are you really doing?”, or prayed for by a friend I haven’t spoken to more than a casual “hi” in longer than a month, I have been blessed to live in a community of believers that desire God wholeheartedly and are willing to link arms with me and walk as a family towards heaven and for His Kingdom. 

            Hahahahaha.. I could go on for so many more pages on how my life has been and what I’ve learned; but I’ll let you go for now.


P.S. If you want to write me at school, (I go back to school on January 14th) you can

        reach me at


            Ashley Bricks #1125

            The Master’s College


21726 Placerita Cyn Rd

Santa Clarita, CA

2 thoughts on “So, my first semester is done…”

  1. So, to all of you who could read that ridiculously small font in that last post, God bless you! Also, as some have already noticed, this is a part of a letter that I sent to my brother in Navy bootcamp, so he’s the one I’m talking to when I say there’s a baseball player that looks like “you”. Hahaha… anyway… Keep me updated on life in NY!!

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