I was twenty-one when I graduated from university. I had a great job opportunity at a dream spot. Not to mention, I needed to start paying back my student loan, too. Inconveniently, God started reminding me of another dream, the plan I’d dismissed somewhere in the middle of my teaching degree. I wanted to do a Discipleship Training School.
But wasn’t DTS for fresh high school graduates or students doing a gap year?
When I finally took the leap, I discovered five reasons why doing DTS was just what I needed as a college graduate—and what I wanted, too.
1. There really are people your age.
Before I arrived to my DTS, I pictured the puppy-dog eyes of teenagers leaving home for the first time. Was I really going to spend the next six months with people just learning to adult? Suddenly I bumped into all the college graduates. We all had no idea how to pay off our student loan and we knew how to live in dorms. I can’t promise it will be the same on yours, but if not, there’s usually someone around campus went through the same thing—it really is normal to join YWAM after college.
2. You make lifelong friends—even ones younger than you.
The frustrating, beautiful, and hilarious thing about DTS is that you do life with people completely different than you. We had over five nationalities (not to mention the cultural differences between American states!) and those fresh out of high school. Yet when it came to the life skill of cooking, one eighteen-year-old (who had never been on a plane prior to DTS) had me beat. On outreach in innercity Amsterdam, Kaela and I danced to classic country songs as she showed me how to fry ground beef. I didn’t even think about the age gap. Instead, the shared experiences of DTS made us friends, however different we were.
3. You’ve already got a support base.
You might not have realised it, but in the last four years of a degree, you’ve made more friends than just your parents’ church acquaintances. You’ve made it through all-nighters, heartbreak, first dates, road trips, and praying-to-God you can get that essay in on time—all with friends by your side. You’ve met quality people at a new church, maybe joined a campus ministry, and they were your cheerleaders the whole way. So when it comes to starting a new adventure, you already have people who know you well and want to see you succeed.
4. You’ve got skills.
Whether it’s skills like how to wait patiently for the shower while your roommate straightens her hair, or actually what you learned in classes, you’ve gained so much in the last few years. When I was in high school, I knew God could use me, degree or not. During DTS, I found that God also loved using skills I learned in university for missions. Obviously, being a teacher is a classic “missionary” role. However, even writing all those essays equipped me to tell outreach testimonies well. So if you feel your degree has nothing to do with missions, let God surprise you. There’s always a place for you and what you’ve learned.
5. You get to rediscover your passions and calling.
Despite being a passionate teacher and loving my university, I felt completely drained when I graduated. I was sick of academic language and only being categorized in the box of my degree. I knew there was more to me, but I didn’t know what. DTS was the breath of fresh air that I desperately needed. I remembered that I liked writing songs. I started drawing more, and giving some away during ministry. Where I had limited God to use me in education, He showed me that there was more to me than just that box. Altogether, university and DTS clarified my calling and gave me the courage to move forward—with my whole heart. I haven’t been the same since.