Pensacola Christian College
Pensacola Christian College - Comments and Student Experiences|
As a Freshman, I was excited. I had grown up on a farm in a large, loving, Christian family and had been homeschooled my entire life ? most often using the A Beka curriculum (an affiliate of PCC). Since I was a Christian, I had chosen PCC because I wanted a quality, Christian college education. I was disappointed to find a culture of "lookism" pervading the campus ? I began to feel that the administration cared more about my appearance and behavioral record (obedience to their rules) than they did about me or my spiritual condition. Any discussion PCC had about dressing and behaving to please God was ultimately tied to the need for a ?PCC testimony,? which seemed equal with or almost more important than a ?Christian testimony.? There were monitors (on and off campus) to make sure students knew that PCC wanted them to act a certain way and enforce the dress code. I understand a need for modesty, however, PCC culture is something more, the wealthy Proverbs 31 woman is extolled and the "shamefaced" 1 Timothy woman is ignored ? excess jewelry, makeup, hairstyles, etc. are expected (though not required outright). Someone even told me that jewelry was needed for modesty, to draw attention away from the body towards the face. I began to feel discontented and outdated in my simple attire and sought ways to ?fit in? better. During my three years at PCC I only received demerits once, and that for wearing knee-length shorts my RA had approved.
The lookism culture extended beyond campus to include anyone who might attend the Campus Church. I have lost count of how many people told me that they had tried to bring homeless or other poor people to a service only to have them asked to leave outright or given an obscure seat. I remember a teacher in one of my Freshman classes trying to encourage the students to have a good testimony. She said that she had invited a poor man from her neighborhood to church, but that he had declined because he had not felt he was ?dressed well enough.? My teacher was obviously pleased. ?See,? she said, ?my dress convicted him of his.?
Despite the lookism culture of PCC, my friends and I believed PCC was a good place to be. After all, no one is perfect, and at least they were trying to do right. However, by my Sophomore year, some things were too obvious to ignore. My largest complaint was the manipulative nature of PCC. When I discussed it with my mother, I told her they practiced both mental and spiritual manipulation, which culminated in emotional manipulation. Beginning with Freshman orientation, I had been told that PCC had God-given authority over me and that to disobey their rules was to disobey God, even if their rules were not supported Biblically. They used Romans 13 as the basis of this claim, although the chapter is discussing governmental authority. In any case, the combined threat of PCC?s displeasure (which could translate into demerits or expulsion) and the wrath of God, cited so often, began to erode my simple faith into a fearful faith. What if I didn't agree with PCC? Or did not completely follow their standards at home? What if I deviated while at PCC? Was I sinning terribly and deserving of punishment? After all, they told me their rules were necessary to have a clean conscience. Needless to say, I struggled ? if they had meant to control me (or other students) through fear and guilt, it was working. I began to equate being a perfect PCC student with being a good Christian, besides it kept me out of trouble. I became so focused on their demands and expectations, I began to forget what God really wanted: me.
By Junior year, I had become fully aware of the inconsistencies. I neither feared PCC nor felt guilty when I disagreed with them: I simply felt trapped. I had become hardened and calloused from the experience. I was no longer there for a ?Christian? education, but only to avoid trouble and graduate, since I was already more than halfway through. Lost somewhere between my buried faith and the pressures of PCC, I struggled to read my Bible, or, at least, to read it meaningfully. I had returned reluctantly for the semester, moody and crying, but determined that this is where I was because God had put me here (PCC endorsed this notion ? if you're at PCC, God sent you, and leaving is usually against His will), so I would do my best. Besides, I could not transfer ? I had already considered it. But if I was struggling spiritually, I was also struggling physically from suppressed stress: I lost my appetite, began to experience physical symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and weight loss, and felt constantly drained and tired. My family and friends were a great encouragement and I prayed, but eventually, I ceased to care about anything. In fact, I was disappointed that one day I would have to call myself a ?PCC Graduate.?
Then, when PCC told me I had to repeat a class, I decided to weigh my options. I had been told that the Nursing Department had become fully accredited, so I tried to transfer. However, I found that their announcement had been misleading and nothing would transfer. Rather than go back, I decided to begin again somewhere else. My mother told me that she had been praying that God would take me out of PCC, if He did not want me there. I believe He did not want me there ? because even though I temporarily felt guilty for not wanting to return, I felt He was leading me, in fact rescuing me. Since leaving PCC, my faith has been returning and all of my physical symptoms have disappeared. Of those who try to retake classes, some have graduated, others failed again and were forced to restart somewhere else (nothing transferred), and a few were expelled a few weeks before graduation because they were not "professional" enough.
Of perhaps less importance, I also did not appreciate resident managers literally hiding behind objects to spy on students and believe the Graf (medical) Clinic on campus should be able to give students medical absence slips from class or chapel. I ended up going to class with a full case of the flu because the alternative was to see (and pay) a doctor off campus (because really, besides having insufficient medical personnel, the Graf could do nothing for me) and then hope Student Life would approve my medical reason for the absence. I did not need a doctor, I needed to rest and get rid of the fever, shakes, nausea, etc. But without a slip, an absence could affect my grade. I fell asleep in class, despite my efforts to stay awake.
In the nursing program, many of the staff and instructors were wonderful caring people, but there were several who did not seem to care. I really struggled in one clinical setting partly because I needed more practice and partly because the instructors and interacting with them was difficult. Some communicated terribly (both speaking and listening to me), even walking away from me when I spoke to them (then asking me to repeat myself three times), one gave me an error slip for something I did not do, and a couple of times I was threatened with more critical errors or shamed for my performance when I questioned an error. In such situations, it is only the student's word against the instructor?s. Since leaving, I have discovered that some concepts they taught, such as the COPD patient's drive to breathe and why they cannot tolerate high oxygen levels, are outdated. I did learn some valuable skills, for which I am grateful; I only wish they had been taught in a kinder, less intimidating, environment.
I would recommend students begin with a community college. I have found some of the classes to be more practical to life, for example, instead of practicing poems and skits in speech class, I am learning how to inform and persuade the audience about different processes, workplace policies, and ideas. If students read their Bible and pray, they should be fine. If they are worried about being swayed by secular Psychology/Sociology (better if taken online) or Evolution, then they need more grounding. I read Why Christian's Can't Trust Psychology and Creation: Facts of Life (by Parker) ? two good things from PCC ? besides utilizing the Answers in Genesis website. I am not saying there is no hope for PCC, but until they abandon the self-righteous fa?ade, including false humility and manipulation in the guise of molding Christians, they will not be a truly Christian college. They need to both teach and practice sincere love and humility towards God and others. At this time, I cannot in good conscience recommend Pensacola Christian College to anyone.
Attending PCC: Tips
Finances & the Government
? You CANNOT claim tax deductions (1098-T form) for a PCC education.
? Federal and State financial helps are not accepted (no Pell grants, FAFSA, etc.)
? PCC has TRACS accreditation ? a recognized Christian college accreditation group (http://www.tracs.org/TRACS_About-Us.html). Some colleges will NOT accept this accreditation. For example, my sister, who had been a PCC Art major, could not transfer anything.
? The Nursing Program is fully CCNE accredited, but this is national accreditation only. Regional or State accreditation is needed to transfer credits.
? The Engineering department is Abet accredited (independent group)
For the Student
? Read the Pathway! https://www.pcci.edu/pathway/
? Read the Bible and Pray! Pray for a desire to do so.
? Bring a Fine Arts (Prom) dress. My favorite play was the Scarlet Pimpernel.
? Bring bathroom cleaning supplies ? especially a small vacuum if possible.
? You will need winter clothing. I experienced an ice storm there.
? No unnatural hair colors, flamboyant nail polish, facial/tongue piercings, or tattoos (at least try to cover them)
? If you are being harassed about something (i.e. medical issues) I?ve often noted that parents are more respected than students and can obtain results.
? Joining a collegian is required. Some students enjoyed theirs. Mine was boring. I felt like it was a forced time waster ? I could have been studying instead of playing telephone. Research the collegians: once you join one, you CANNOT switch.
? There are different elevators and stairs for the girls and the boys ? don't get mixed up!