Fourth Year Reflection: Jeff Dillenbeck
The Study Center has truly been an integral part of my experience as a UVA student. Through the Study Center I’ve been provided with community, Christian mentorship, a place to study, and the opportunity to serve as an intern for the undergraduate men’s ministries.
I became involved at the Study Center shortly after transferring to UVA as a third year in 2015. I only knew a few people at UVA at the time; my friend Rachel told me about “the Stud” where she was working as an intern, so I decided to check it out. At first I only spent time at the Study Center getting school work done—the free coffee and late-night access made it a prime study spot. However, it quickly turned into my primary source of Christian fellowship.
As a transfer student, I found it difficult to find and become part of a Christian community. I think what’s great about the Study Center is that it has a physical location; and though I was only looking to use it as a place to study, it kind of automatically forms a sense of community. While getting work done in the library or Richman room, you can take quick break in the kitchen and find yourself in the middle of genuine conversation, ranging from life goals to niche theological concepts.
My experience of community at the Study Center was also fostered through the Study Center’s various events. In my first semesters I attended the class dinners, Exam Snacks, and Stud Beach Week in May. In addition to being a relaxing end to the semester, the worshiping, praying, and preparing food together at beach week really emulated what Christian community should look like. It was also there that I began to connect with the Study Center staff.
This last year I’ve become more involved at the Study Center. I’ve been blessed to serve under Jay McCabe as the intern for the undergraduate ministries for men. In addition to helping with the Thursday morning Men’s Breakfast small group and other events, the position included a mentorship component, which was something I had never experienced before. Having a mentor has been crucial to my success this past year—not so much academically, but rather as a someone in a transitionary period in life as I seek to follow Christ. Being able to talk to a mentor frankly and on a regular basis about my personal and spiritual life has has been an invaluable experience.
The Study Center has been a constant highlight during my time here. I’ve been incredibly blessed by its hospitality, ministries, and mentorship. To me, I think it truly reflects Christian servanthood in its service to students at UVA.
Jeff Dillenbeck, CLAS '17