Alumni Interview – Marika (’21)

I recently reached out to some alumni to see what they’ve been up to and how Act Five has played a role in their lives. It was so encouraging to hear what they had to share so we want to share these interviews in full for you here! Read below to get a taste of what came up in my conversation with Marika, an alumna from 2021 and a current student at Redeemer University:

Abby: Marika, what have you been up to since leaving Act Five?

Marika: After I left Act Five, I went to Redeemer. Now I’m in my third year and I’m also currently working part time at Karis Disability Services, previously known as Christian Horizons, and working to help support individuals who have developmental disabilities in various activities of daily living. I’m studying honors psychology at Redeemer, and I’m still living with Gill, my roommate from Act Five. That’s pretty awesome!

A: Sounds so good! What are some things that have stayed with you from what you learned at Act Five?

M: I would say there’s a lot of different little things that stuck with me. I think probably the main one is a much deeper understanding of who God is and how he loves us, and the importance of following Him every day. I would say that’s the biggest change. I think that during Act Five I began to understand a bit more about my own sin and what it means that I’m a sinner, but because of that, understanding more about God’s grace.

A: Are there things that you still find yourself wondering about now, that you started thinking about during Act Five?

M: I mean, I guess I still think about how to create and live in good intentional communities and I’m learning how to apply some of the things I learned in different scenarios. Sometimes that is in my work, like how to foster a good community within the staff, or in my house, or even in my schooling. I’ve been thinking about how to do things in a way that’s glorifying to God and understanding that it’s not just the race to get your papers done and study for the test but even these actions can be something to honor God.

A: It’s been a few years since you were in Act Five. How do you think being at Act five has shaped who you are now?

M: Well, I would say one thing that it did was introduce me to Gill. I’ve been roommates with her since Act Five. I’m sure that’s changed me in very many different ways. I’ve never really had a best friend, so it’s pretty cool to have that sort of friend in Gill. I also learned that I like community, and I care about it. Even times when I haven’t felt that sense of community as much, I still ache for it. I think I never really had that sense of community before Act Five. I had some good friends, but I just thought I was pretty introverted. Then I came to Act Five and to Redeemer and I’ve met so many great people! I’m not quite as introverted as I thought I was. I think having that deep sense of longing for community allows me to get out, which helps me to make the communities around me better. I try to do that but I don’t always succeed.

A: Are there things that you have taken from living at Act Five into other living situations?

M: Well, one thing I learned was I really like space heaters. I purchased my own space heater and that’s been a huge change in my life – not being cold sometimes. I also learned a lot about technology use and how it’s not that good. I’ve been working on finding more ways to incorporate more tech fasts sometimes but even more so just better technology practices. I’ve been trying to set limits on using things and being intentional about when I use things. I’ve been trying to not have the first thing I look at in the morning be my phone. I’m being mindful of the ways that my attention and cognition and feelings are shaped by the media I consume as well. I would say though that if it weren’t for Act Five, my media use would be much more ramped up and much less intentional. 

A: Do you have any memories from life on the porch at Blake St?

M: I have some good memories of visiting Act Five afterwards on the porch. There have been a few different times that a bunch of us have been sitting on the porch and chatting. I think one time we ate Lulu’s Shawarma on the porch with a few alumni. One time during Act Five we did devotions outside in the front lawn because it was a warm day, which was not quite on the porch, but almost. I would say for me the porch represents a place of coming back and still being welcomed.

A: Do you have any words to share with incoming Act Five students?

M: Act Five is awesome! Do things! It’s good to do hard things. You also don’t have to do everything. Have a lot of fun and become friends with people.

A: Thanks so much Marika! It was great to talk with you.  

Stay tuned for more alumni interviews to come!

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