Wife, Student, and Alumna: A Story of Distance Learning

 
by Libby Demmon (MAR 2014)
 
When I began classes at Trinity in the fall of 2007, I didn’t know where they would lead me. I only knew that I was a brand-new wife and, along with all the blessings of matrimony, I had just earned a pass to free credits by becoming the spouse of a full-time student. My husband, Mike, was a senior that year, so I knew my time on campus was limited before his call to serve as a priest and Army Chaplain swept us away to some unknown adventure. I dove into life at Trinity, steeping myself in theology, community, prayer life, and lunchtime ukulele jams.
 
I loved that brief year at Trinity, so when Mike accepted a call to parish ministry in northern Colorado I was determined to keep up with my studies. I took my first semester of Greek in our tiny apartment. By the time I took the second semester, we had purchased our first house and my desk would soon be moved aside to make way for a crib.
 
The adventures for our little family were just beginning. After completing three years’ service as a civilian, Mike received his first assignment as an Active Duty Army Chaplain and we moved across the country to Fort Stewart, GA. As we settled into military life, the Lord provided time—mostly after our daughter Willa was asleep for the night—to keep the distance learning going.
 
When Mike was away for training all summer, I took June Term intensives. When he deployed to Afghanistan, taking his Trinity formation with him to serve American troops, I found some distraction and direction in an independent study. The life of an Army wife doesn’t provide much opportunity for theological education, but the versatility of Trinity’s courses and the flexibility of the faculty has made it possible for me. There remains but one requirement before I complete my Masters of Arts in Religion, and we plan to return to Ambridge in May for the 2014 commencement festivities. 
 
In a way, though, I’ve returned to campus each time I participated in a class. When I spread my notes across the dining room table to write a paper, I pictured myself in the library, surrounded by the excited silence of so many profound thoughts on God. When the voices of classmates crackled in my headset during online lectures, I imagined us gathered in a classroom, helping each other soak it all in. I’d miss the chance to chat beside the bookstore over a cup of coffee during a break, or worship together in the chapel each morning. Without distance learning, it would have been impossible for me to earn this degree. But I consider it such a blessing to have had the residential experience first. Now, equipped for teaching and ministry and awaiting our next adventures, I look forward to joining my husband as a graduate of Trinity.
 
Libby Demmon graduated with the Class of 2014 this past May.

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