Staff writer Emily E. Abbatacola writes her final article for ZU News


To the overbearing chapel monitors, the mediocre wifi and the highly entertaining yet utterly terrifying environment that is Cougar Walk, I’ll miss you. But while I often yearn for the opportunity to relive these moments one last time, it’s not all melancholic. See, I can’t help but be filled with gratitude for this university that gave me so much to remember — so much to miss. 

Some of the highlights from my time at Azusa Pacific University include studying abroad in South Africa, joining the SALT team, being an Alpha leader and a D-Group leader. Though each opportunity that I had partaken in was unique, I experienced the same sense of purpose: serving God with others. 

I’ll never forget the feeling of being at an athletic event and cheering for a school I was not yet familiar with. I was rooting for a team of whom I could not name a single soul, yet I still shared  their sense of pride following a victory. 

Of course, I’ll miss all of the APU inside jokes and overwhelming abundance of acronyms; while I never “DTR’d” in the Rose Garden, I did get to witness worshiping alongside a student body so on fire for the Lord that I left every Kaleo chapel in complete awe of the Holy Spirit and what He was doing on the campus. 

But most importantly, APU, I want to say thank you for challenging me. It was here where I was faced with the question of why I believe and not just what I believe. If there is one thing I can confidently say about this university, it’s that “God First” is not just some appealing slogan placed on t-shirts and advertisements, but that it’s deeply rooted within the culture and atmosphere of APU.

APU is not just a university, it’s a ministry — a community. Apart from sounding cliché, I experienced what it truly means to be one body, just as the Bible calls us to be. It was here where I got to be a part of the many different working parts of the body and explore where God can use me in His Kingdom. 

I believe I came to APU at a significant time. I witnessed a piece of the legacy that was Jon Wallace, I was part of the last cohort to study away in Cape Town, I was around for Cornerstone Coffeehouse, the High Sierra program and the last of the football games (RIP), but I also got to be a part of the family during all of the changes and uncertainties that came with this last year. 

Though I am disheartened by the inability to have gone to another “GIG” knowing and cherishing it as my last, I can honestly say that my first three years here were filled with more than enough treasured experiences, relationships and opportunities to make up for the loss of a fourth year on campus.  

I chose APU on the basis of community and diversity (and a close proximity to Disneyland of course), and that’s exactly what I found: people who each reflect the image of Christ working together to glorify His Kingdom. 

The discipleship program at APU truly changed my life. From being mentored throughout my college experience to even being involved in four D-groups at one time, I couldn’t get enough of the love and encouragement that flowed from the people at this university. The fellowship I was met with here is something that I had craved for so long, and I didn’t lose the feeling of being a part of something when I left campus to finish school remotely. See, APU taught me that it’s not about the physical campus that brings community, just as it is not about the tangible building that makes the Church. 

I feel as though my metaphorical cup has been filled so I may leave and pour into the world. So with that, here is my official farewell.