Fourth Year Reflection: Katie Carr

Katie Carr
Katie Carr, CLAS '18

When I think about the Study Center and all of the ways that God has revealed himself to me through this wonderful place, I cannot help but immediately think of the kitchen. The kitchen is truly the fount from which all blessings flow. (Just kidding, that would be Jesus.) But I am a firm believer in the wonder and beauty of the kitchen. I would say that roughly 85% of the time I spend in the Study Center is spent in the kitchen. Whether it’s massaging kale in preparation for an event, cooking for intern dinner, or simply launching into conversations about the Enneagram or how dependent we are on our smartphones, time spent in the kitchen is always a gift. Much like the rest of the building and the various ministries at the Study Center, the kitchen is a place where I have found rest and care.

Incidentally, one of the very first things that I learned about UVA was the Study Center. Shortly after making the decision to attend UVA, a family friend told me that I had to familiarize myself with the “Stud.” I remember leaving that conversation being confused about exactly what the “Stud” was and why it was called that, but having learned that it would provide free food during Finals, it seemed like a good resource to know about. Little did I know then how much of a resource—and truly a home—that I would find in this place.

At the start of my first year, I attended Move-In Day Lunch and was so terrified about the whole college process. I attempted to play it cool and hide how scared I truly was. I remember some second years I knew from my high school greeting and welcoming me so warmly, and the familiar faces made this place feel a bit more like home. I don’t remember much else from that day due to the overwhelming nature of move-in weekend, but I was thankful for the air conditioning, sustenance, and hospitality that the upperclassmen extended to my family and me.

Katie Carr Tailgate
Katie joins staff members Carly Vanness and Rachel Gaffin, and 2016 alumna, Emily Elder, at the Study Center Homecomings Tailgate.

When I first came to college, I had been feeling a little disconnected from God and disenchanted with Christian community. Solely by the grace of God did I decide to get involved in a Christian fellowship. I very much wanted to believe that I could be independent and handle the transition to college without anyone’s help, including God’s. However, one of the biggest themes I’ve been learning about throughout college has been that of grace—especially that God’s grace is sufficient, and that his power is made perfect in weakness. Throughout the past four years, I have seen how people are willing to meet me where I am and extend grace and love. And through that, I have witnessed the grace of God himself.

As a fourth year,  I joined the internship program as a hospitality intern, and it has been one of the highlights of this year and of my time at UVA. Each week, the nine of us gather to prepare a meal together, eat together, and talk about life together. What I’ve found each week at intern dinner is that this is a group that is unafraid to share their struggles or the questions with which they’ve been grappling. This is a group that accepts each other and encourages one another. This is a group that shows and reflects love to each other.

The Study Center has been so many wonderful things to me. It is a community that invites you in and fills you with love. It is a place to work and to play, to study and to find rest. It is laughter and joy inexpressible, maybe incited by whipped cream on the ceiling. It is hugs and affirmation from Lane, the gentle understanding and wisdom of Carly, the warmth and goofiness of Rachel. It is a genuine and real group of Christians aiming to be more like God while being honest about their continual shortcomings. It is being changed for the better knowing and being known by the people inside the walls of this house. It is the feeling of being home. It is daily being pointed back to our good, good Father and reminded of His unending love and abundant grace.

Katie Carr, CLAS '18