When you exit the elevator on the sixth floor of the Meyer Alumni Center, it is often quiet. Offices are buried behind the back hallways. It appears no one works there.
I first exited this elevator in May of 2017, the tail end of my freshman year of college. Packed in hand was my resume and an armful of writing samples from high school, my measly attempt to prove I had what it took to write for Missouri State.
Almost three years after my interview and subsequent job as a student writer, it is safe to say I will leave the sixth floor with much more than writing experience.
Let’s take a tour.
University Communications Hallway
Down the left side of the back hallway sits my home, University Communications. The first door on your left is the conference room, where my interview happened. Continue down and you’ll hit the reception desk. Here sits Michaela Gard.
If I could choose one word to describe Michaela (baby Mich, as deemed by me), it would be seeker. She is a seeker of light, of friendship and warmth. She is trusting and brave. She is worthy and beloved. She is a little sister I care about and love deeply. Her soul is goofy and bright. She is amazing at directing phone calls and showing people she cares for them.
Next door to reception sits an old file closet converted to an ambient light, Christmas in November extravaganza. It is the home to myself and my office mate, Kristina.
I’ve known Kristina Khodai (Tina for short) for about four months, and every day I learn something else we have in common (namely our identical planners and our love for Taylor Swift’s song Death by a Thousand Cuts). Kristina is gentle and fierce in one. She is passionate about the world and the people in it. She is a feeler, a fighter, and a friend. She warms our tiny office with laughs over memes and unashamed kindness. She has killer fashion and I want to be her when I grow up.
Travel just a bit further down and you’ll find another teeny office, home to Abby Blaes and Tori York.
Abby Blaes is a straight up rockstar. She grabs her passions by the reins and steers her own path. She is a mentor, an encourager, and she wears fuzzy socks all the time (I aspire to be her for many reasons, but mainly this one). She melts when she sees a cat, and she has a giving heart. I love to stop by her door when I’m on my way to the break room, and on the way back, and when I need a brain break, and any time, really.
Tori York is also a straight up rockstar. Their shared office is filled with fairy dust, I’m sure of it. Tori has been with me in UC since I started, and I don’t know what our office is without her. She is witty and bold and generous. Many times I have asked her for help, and she stops whatever she is doing to give me her attention. She shares amazing stories and gives advice I’ve taken to heart. She is sharp, caring, and is about to become the best school counselor this world has ever seen.
Web Strategy and Development Hallway
Turn around and head down the right hallway to Web, and you’ll see a soft light emitting from a door about halfway down on the left.
This office is home to Alyson Jones.
About a year into my job at UC, I was without a friend in the office. My previous office mate (Hi, Bryar 🙂 ) graduated and moved away, and I was a bit shaken up. Going into work became mundane, lonely. So one evening, I prayed.
I prayed for a friend in the office who loved the Lord. I prayed for a friend to eat lunch with. I prayed for a friend, someone to share life with atop this office building.
Not even a week later, Alyson waltzed into my office with a bag of popcorn and told me she followed me on Twitter. Then she came back the next day and told me she read my blog. Then she came back the following week and told me congratulations for getting baptized. Then she kept coming back, and coming back, and coming back.
And now? I cannot fathom a life without her. I cannot believe that Jesus answered my prayer one hundred thousand times more than I expected, than I hoped for. I cannot believe that Alyson’s soul compliments and loves mine in a way I have never experienced from a friend. And I know it’s because she is filled with and driven by the Holy Spirit.
Alyson Jones is weird. She is a gentle soul. Her office a safe place to go when I am overwhelmed, or when I have a quip to share. She is truly the hands and feet of Jesus. Every word I could use to describe her would point back to the glory of God, because she eludes his light in every aspect of her life. I am honored to know her.
Parking Garage, Third Floor
Walk outside on a Friday morning, and you will see six cars that belong to six girls who would not know each other without this office building. Without the elevator that takes you up to the sixth floor. Without the staff who hired us. Without our six separate decisions to attend Missouri State and apply for jobs there. Without a God in heaven who plucked each of us from a world of seven billion people and placed us within the same hallway.
I am in awe of his goodness and his blessings always, but today, I’m specifically in awe of the five gifts God gave me in the girls I work with. The ones who have laughed, cried, and sat through Friday webinars with me. The ones who accompany me to the vending machine in the basement for a Dr. Pepper. The ones who came into my life at perfect moments, for reasons I’ll never comprehend, but I am eternally grateful for.
Mich, Tina, Abby, Tori, and Al, I love you more than you’ll ever know.