Hi, my name is Lucas Brawner, and I’m a senior Psychology major at Vanguard.
I have a very supportive family back home in Hesperia, CA. My immediate family consists of my mom, twin sister, and our 3 little dogs. My strongest influence on my life would definitely be my mom. She has been a perfect example of strength and resilience throughout my entire life. As a single parent, she was responsible for raising a set of twins, working full-time, and climbing out of financial debt that some of life’s curveballs had put us in. She was able to do all of these things with the support of her siblings, and that really showed me the power behind family. Seeing her triumph over the hard times gave me something to strive for when I’m all grown up. To this day I am still learning so much from her, and am proud to call her my mom.
As a twin, my family has had to worry about two private college tuitions, but God always found a way to provide. The generosity that has come from Vanguard’s supporters has made it possible for me to attend all four years of my undergrad, and that is something that I could not be more thankful for! I don’t know if everyone understands how much of a blessing it is to receive scholarship money, but it really is a life-changing blessing for students like me. In a way, they have even had a hand in shaping the person I have become by enabling me to be at Vanguard for as long as I have. I couldn’t express my gratitude enough for the people who respond when God puts the act of giving on their hearts. Thank you so much.
When I came to Vanguard as a freshman, I quickly realized that this campus was filled with acceptance, understanding, and grace. Vanguard is a place where classmates and professors alike empower each other to strive towards Jesus and our individual callings.
There have been so many great memories here. I’ll never forget when our Men’s Basketball Team had a successful playoff run that led to a NAIA title last year. Not only because I’m obsessed with the sport, but also because it was the event that Vanguard really needed in order to unite our entire community. Supporting our team brought students, professors, and administrators all together in a very unique fashion.
I have had nothing but positive experiences with professors while at VU. In particular, Elizabeth Powell in the Psychology department has exponentially increased my love for the field, and has sparked my interest in clinical work while taking multiple courses with her. I hope to go into secondary education and teach Psychology. I love Psychology because it helps me learn how to understand people, and in turn, know how to help people. I want to make a positive impact on the people around me. My goal is to be someone people don’t hesitate to come to for help. I love relationships, and psychology has helped me gain a more complete understanding of what healthy relationships entail.
Vanguard has taught me how to express myself spiritually not only with God but with other believers as well. That was a tough thing to do in my public high school. Spiritual formation has guided me as I explored the depths of my own personal faith. Vanguard provides a safe place where it’s okay to ask the tough questions, and to acknowledge doubt and struggles. Through recognizing my weaknesses here, VU has empowered me to ask for help and to grow spiritually out of those weaknesses.
I have so much school pride for Vanguard. Being honored with the opportunities to participate in leadership here through Student Government and Residence Life has really shaped me into the person I am today. I have never felt more at home here. Being a student leader on campus has given me many opportunities to mentor people around me. Having the opportunity to pour into my residents as an RA last year was one of the most challenging, yet rewarding jobs that I have ever had. While walking with students through their time here, relationships were formed that I will never lose. I never thought that I would grow as closely as I have with so many people. Ironically, I think I learned more from my residents than what they probably learned from me as their mentor. For example, they taught me what pure joy looks like. I naturally tended to stress myself out with self-implemented expectations, but my residents’ stress-free approach to their own lives really opened my eyes. They taught me how to not take myself so seriously all of the time.
The friendships that I have made here are ones that will impact me for my entire life. There is a deeper level of friendship that I have tapped into with a lot of my college friends, and those relationships have really influenced me to continue to grow into that person that God wants me to be. I know for a fact that I am going to continue to learn from my friends as I finish my time here at VU, and start the next stage of life with them by my side.
One of my favorite verses is: “Be strong and courageous! Do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” –Joshua 1:9
At Vanguard I learned that I am enough. I am enough for Jesus. I came into college with a strong feeling of inadequacy and brokenness, but all that has been put behind me. It took me two years here to finally realize that God had forgiven me ages ago, and that the people around me would accept me just like He did. Out of that came an overwhelming sense of belonging and acceptance.
Click here to read more stories like Lucas’ on our BECAUSE OF YOU blog.