By Jenna Spolarich

My First Proxe

Before coming to Sonoma State University this fall, I had no idea what InterVarsity was or that the school had anything like it. I found out about it during move-in weekend and immediately wanted to join. And when I was asked to help with a Proxe before classes even started, I said sure—even though I had no idea what a Proxe was. (Now I know that it’s an interactive, evangelistic art display!)

I should give you a little background on what type of person I am. I would never volunteer to do anything that involves talking or interacting with people I don’t know. So, for example, I would never volunteer for booths at my school where I would have to do those kinds of things.

Therefore, when I showed up for our Faking It Proxe on the third day of classes, I was really nervous, even though I was also excited to see what InterVarsity does and glad to be involved in something other than just school.

First Conversation

The first thing I ever said to another student during the Proxe was just the few questions that they gave me to ask once people came by and were interested—questions like,

  • Where do you see people faking it most on campus?
  • What mood do you tend to fake most?

It felt pretty easy to just read the question and maybe give a little input here and there; it was something I could do.

But then they made me really go out of my comfort zone by walking up to people and having real conversations with them about our Proxe.

Some of my conversations were really short because people were either not interested or on their way to class. But the ones that did last more than five seconds were surprisingly great. Students I talked too seemed pretty interested in the campaign and in what InterVarsity was. It was fun to be able to introduce them to something I was still learning about as well.

What I Learned About Myself

To my astonishment I learned so much about myself within those few hours of the Proxe. After I finished talking to a student, I would say to myself, Did I seriously just do that? I learned that it is possible for me to try new things, and it’s good to take risks. I did a lot of new things that day, from walking up to random people to having good conversations with them about God. And I expanded my comfort zone far beyond what it used to be.

What I Learned About God

I also learned about God during the Proxe. I think he often uses our experiences to try to teach us new things, and I believe that as I Proxed God was telling me that it’s perfectly fine—and even for the best—to take risks.

God was also telling and showing me that Sonoma is where I need to be. Before coming to college I was scared of losing or moving away from my faith. I wanted to find a church and keep up with daily devotions. Through InterVarsity and the Proxe experience, he was already answering my concerns.

Taking More Risks

I now feel as though I could accomplish other things that are outside of my comfort zone, and opportunities have already come up for me to show what I can actually do, even when I doubt myself beforehand. I’ve become an apprentice to my small group leader, for one thing. I’ve also become more involved with InterVarsity and closer to God.

Everyone says that college starts a new chapter in your life. Joining InterVarsity and doing a Proxe has definitely started a new chapter for me. I think everyone should do at least one Proxe because it really is an eye-opener to what God can do in us and through us. And if I can do it—so can you!


You might also be interested in:

Talking with Strangers

Confessions of an Introvert Evangelist

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Jenna is a first-year student at Sonoma State University in California.

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