She knows she’s not exactly a spokesperson for millennials.
But Linda Kurtz can say that she’s seen some patterns among her friends and peers when it comes to navigating adulthood.
“My generation is the generation of the quarter-life crisis,” says Kurtz, 26, who has been attending BPC since middle school. “We might get a job out of college, but then we’re asking, ‘Is this it?’ A lot of my friends are service-minded, so they’re feeling called to do something with a purpose. But they’re asking, ‘How does that translate into real life?’”
Linda understands this tension. She has felt it herself.
Her adolescence was filled with BPC mission trips and school service projects. She attended Elon University in North Carolina and double-majored in political science and communications: A life of service was always part of the plan.
Her volunteer work and school connections led her back to the Washington area after graduating in 2011. She worked first for HandsOn Greater DC Cares, which helped connect willing volunteers with needy nonprofits, and later, The Campus Kitchen Project, which engages in food recycling and distribution.
Each of these jobs made an imprint, mostly because of the people she ran across. She was there when an all-boys high school in the city decided to share Thanksgiving with neighboring senior centers, for example.
“I loved helping to empower these kids,” Linda said.
But still, she felt in her heart that this wasn’t “it.”
“I had no concept of the 15-year plan,” she said. “My faith has always been my driving force: I need to do something meaningful. But my vocation? I just didn’t know.”
A trip to Montreat, North Carolina, changed things for Linda.
She agreed to chaperone a group to the college church conference in January 2014. The event happened to fall over her 25th birthday.
She remembers sitting in a Black Mountain pizza place. Snow started to fall. Her friends sang Happy Birthday. “I just thought, ‘Wow, 25 is off to a great start.’”
As she lined up for worship inside Montreat’s massive stone chapel, she saw a friend from Elon.
The two chatted, and the friend introduced Linda to the director of admissions at Union Presbyterian Seminary.
“That was it,” Linda said. “I just sat and talked to her for hours. I asked her a bunch of questions and she asked me some. And it was like a lightbulb went off. ‘This is what I want to do.’”
She came home and sat her parents down. “I want to go to seminary.”
Linda will be attending Union seminary in the fall to pursue a Master’s of Divinity and a Master’s of Christian Education. But at the moment she is on a cross-country road trip in a Jeep with a college friend; they’re visiting five national parks (she just saw her first wild bison), camping some, taking lots of selfies, and trying to savor not only the beauty of the nation but also Linda’s final days of freedom before her new adventure begins.
“I’m nervous about moving, and about leaving this [church] community,” she said. “But the life plan is in motion. I am ready.”