Teaching assistant Leslie Dixon, from Brixton, loves learning and telling people about Jesus. Having overcome many personal challenges whilst growing up in London, Leslie asked God to help him sort out his life so he could study at Newbold. God answered his prayers when he received an offer of acceptance onto the BA (Hons) in Biblical and Pastoral Studies degree course.
“There are two main things I really enjoy at Newbold, and one is my student accommodation,” said Leslie. “When I look out the window and see fields and trees, that means a lot to me because it helps me clear my mind. Back home in London, we see buildings upon buildings. Of course, there are trees, and I’m grateful to God for it, but it’s not the same. Being at Newbold helps me get into the right mindset to connect with nature and God,” he explained.
“The second and most important thing about Newbold is the lecturers don’t just give you information; they teach you how to think and process it. You ask yourself, ‘How do I process and understand this? How do I use it in a practical way?’ That’s what the College has ingrained in me; if you teach someone how to think correctly, even if they’re heading in the wrong direction, they will eventually find their way to the right answers.
“Sometimes the lecturers point out obvious things, and you wonder, ‘How didn’t I see that before?’ So, then you can begin to engage with the material you’re learning. I think it was Dr Tihomir Lazić [Senior Lecturer in Systematic Theology] who said, ‘You have voices in the back of your head, beliefs that you’re holding on to, and you don’t even know how they got there. Well, we’re going to smoke them out!’ Dr Lazić showed us how to discover where our beliefs come from, which allows us to make better decisions for ourselves. It gives you a sense of freedom.”
All theology students take modules in Greek and Hebrew. Although Dixon enjoys learning languages, he found learning biblical Greek was initially quite demanding. “I told Dr Laszlo Gallusz [Senior Lecturer in New Testament] that taking classes in Greek made me realise that I can overcome different challenges,” said Dixon. “I told him, ‘You didn’t just teach me a language; you helped build my character, which is why I’m still here.’”
On coming to Newbold, Dixon concluded, “If somebody asked me whether they should study at Newbold, I would say the first thing to do is recognise what God wants for your life. Newbold might not be for everyone, but if you believe you can benefit from studying here, then go for it! Come to Newbold! I can testify that my experience at Newbold has changed my life and revolutionised my faith by allowing me to trust in God despite hardships and challenging situations.”