Archived Voice Articles
Student Profile: Family, education, service motivate Stacy Schaap
By Andrew De Young
To most people, Stacy Schaap’s college career may look a little abnormal. When most students were wrapping up high school, making college visits, and looking to graduation, she was planning a wedding and, later, having a child. But Schaap rarely thinks of herself as abnormal—she’s too busy juggling her roles as a wife, mother, and student to bother much with that.
“It was a hectic time,” she says, recalling the months before she came to Dordt. “But I wasn’t really into my wedding planning like some other girls are, and my mother-in-law did a lot of the work. That made it a lot easier.”
The statement is made matter-of-factly, and without any trace of bitterness or regret. It’s almost as if she doesn’t find anything unusual about going to college married, or anything difficult about taking classes with a child at home. Don’t be fooled—Schaap is anything but typical, and if it had been someone else who had to start their freshman year with a husband and child, they would probably have decided that college wasn’t for them.
Schaap shrugs. “I guess I’ve always planned on going to college,” she says. “My parents have drilled it into my head ever since I was young. Plus, if I hadn’t done it right away, who knows if I would have gone to college at all?”
You might say that she felt a calling to be a student. It was a calling that led her down a difficult road, since she was also called to be a mother and a wife at the time. Part of the difficulty has been simply juggling her different roles.
“There are some days I plan almost down to the minute,” she says. “Usually, something has to go, and that something is usually housecleaning.” She laughs.
But she says one of the most difficult things about being a wife, mother, and student, is the campus community that she couldn’t be a part of.
“There are all these activities on campus that I missed out on,” she says. “Things like intramurals and weekly praise and worship. I just wouldn’t feel comfortable going to those things.”
When she was a sophomore, Schaap received another calling that only served to make her life busier.
“That’s when I decided to go into nursing,” she says. “As far as my schedule is concerned, it wasn’t the best choice—nursing students at Dordt drive to Sioux City a lot. But I enjoyed the classes, so I never reconsidered.”
Schaap says that the decision was made, in part, because of the time she spent in the hospital when her first child was born. She remembers one nurse in particular from that time, a nurse who made her stay much better than it could have been. It’s a powerful experience that has stuck with her.
“As a nurse, you are helping somebody at a vulnerable time,” she says. “It’s a time when people need comfort, when they look to God. That’s when a good nurse can be a powerful influence.”
Now finished with her four-year nursing degree, Schaap has had many opportunities to be that influence herself. At one point, she was working as a nurse’s aid in assisted living at Crown Pointe, a nursing home in Sioux Center. In addition to taking care of people’s physical needs, she’s also been able to be a help for them in times of trouble and doubt.
“In this community, it’s safe to assume the faith and values of some of the people in assisted living,” she says. “They sometimes ask me to pray with them, and there are other times when I offer.”
Stacy is aware, too, of the powerful witness that she could be to people who don’t share her faith. She says she’s eager to be in that kind of situation, a situation where her actions could be a powerful source of healing and a witness to people who don’t know the Lord.
“It would be nice to have the challenge,” she says.
Perhaps sometimes in the future, she will. For now, she’s busy at Crown Pointe—they’ve turned her work there into a full-time job. As for the testimony of her actions, her children are the ones benefiting for the time being.
“There have been a lot of times when I’ve wanted to be home more for them,” she says. “But in the long run, it’s better for me and my kids that I have an education, that I work.”
It’s the same kind of message that her own parents “drilled” into her head ever since she was young—the importance of family, the necessity of education, and the joy of service. It’s a message that Stacy Schaap hopes will come through just as strongly for her own children as it did for her.