Editor’s Note: This is fourth in a series on the lives of Union graduates and their process of joining the workforce.
For college students, early mornings can be one of the greatest challenges and one of the most dreaded aspects of college.
It may be disheartening to hear at this stage in life that early mornings are part of everyday life for recent college graduate Jeremy Isbell.
His mornings start at Gold’s Gym as early as 5:45 a.m., leaving him just enough time to shower, eat some cereal and have devotions before heading into work at 8 a.m.
“In my old age, I began a gym membership at Gold’s Gym to stay in shape,” Isbell joked. “Also in our old age, our bedtime is much earlier; 10:30 is [our] average bedtime—pitiful I know. That’s also part of compromising in marriage. Crystal likes an early bedtime. She’s horrible at night and great in the morning. I’m the opposite—great at night, horrible in the morning.”
Since graduating last May, Isbell and his wife, Crystal, who graduated in December 2013, moved to Murfreesboro.
A church plant by some of their close friends, Blackman Baptist, inspired their move and a job opportunity for Isbell made this a reality.
“I have the opportunity to work with one of my best friends, Weston Wax,” Isbell said. “Throughout school we always joked about doing ministry together, never conceiving that it could actually be a possibility. But God has given us the opportunity to do just that. We work together, do ministry together and have the same friends.”
Isbell and his wife had the desire to move to Murfreesboro to join their friends in ministry, but not having a job made a move difficult.
Wax’s father, who also helped to found the church, owns a printing business, Wax Family Printing, and offered Isbell a job as a customer service representative for his company.
“Crystal and I were visiting Murfreesboro last fall, and my boss called me and asked if we could talk about the job opportunity,” Isbell said. “I showed up at the shop in sweatpants and a T-shirt—not advisable—and he explained to me how Wax Family Printing functioned.”
Wax Family Printing is a small business with about 10 employees that works with other businesses—clinics, churches and other small businesses—to help them succeed.
The company helps these businesses with their printing and marketing through Wax Eloquent, its subsidiary, and general business consultation.
“I see my job as meeting our customers’ needs through excellent customer service by providing them with excellent print work, marketing advice and helping them achieve any project they might want to take on,” Isbell said.
The job provides Isbell with the opportunity to minister in his new church, using both the music and Christian studies aspects of his major. Isbell’s evenings are filled with worship team practice, community groups with his church and time with friends.
But making the decision to move and join the church plant was not easy. Isbell said he and his wife finally came to the point where they simply had to decide what they were going to do.
After reading “Just Do Something” by Kevin DeYoung, Isbell and his wife went to dinner at Jackson’s Old Town Spaghetti Store to talk about it over spaghetti and cheesecake.
“[I] was encouraged that if I chose one option over another, I couldn’t mess up God’s will,” Isbell said. “God’s will [was] for Crystal and me to make a decision and to love Him and to love people as we go. This was incredibly freeing to us because we felt the weight of the world to make our first big decision out of school the right one.”
Crystal also has found work as a substitute teacher in Rutherford County and Murfreesboro city schools.
“Although she would prefer full-time employment with a steady workplace and classroom teaching music, God is providing for us through this job.” Isbell said. “She wakes up most mornings and either waits to be called or gets online to see if she can snatch a subbing position up for that day. She subs for first grade one day and honors chemistry the next—occasionally she gets to sub for choir or music teachers.”
Overall, Isbell says that post-college life is both easier and harder.
“Being in a new city away from family, not being able to skip work like class—harder. No snow days—lamer,” Isbell said. “No school work [or] sleepless nights—easier. Life was probably busier in college for us. So perhaps [others can] look forward to a little more rest on the other side.”
TIPS FROM A GRADUATE
- Enjoy this time being surrounded by so many great friends. We miss so many of our good friends who live all over.
- Enjoy the opportunity to be in an environment where you get to learn. I miss the chance to just spend time learning. And Crystal and I both greatly miss the opportunity to make beautiful music all the time with [University] Singers, Proclamation and the Department of Music.
- Enjoy all of the opportunities to be surrounded by people who love God—the sermons, the worship, the friends, the teachers. At Union, the Gospel is proclaimed day and night through so many different outlets. Embrace that opportunity, because it is special.