Tyler Hopkins ’20 has learned to accept that God’s plans might look very different than his own.

“I always considered myself to be more of a planner,” Hopkins, a Columbus, Ohio, native, says. “I was thinking about college in seventh grade. The plan was to go to Nashville and study engineering.”

He didn’t go to Nashville, but instead majored in applied politics and history at Bethel. He had planned on forging a different educational path from his family, but he ended up at the same school where his
brother and cousin were seniors. With all those changes in a short time, Hopkins was still trying to find his footing at Bethel during his freshman year, when God brought confirmation of His new plan for Hopkins.

“I was able to make connections – especially through the Billy Kirk Scholars program*,” Hopkins says. “Those connections kept me at Bethel.”

Those weren’t the only connections that kept him at Bethel. Hopkins also met his now wife Moriah (McClendon) Hopkins ’20 during their freshman year. The two were married March 22, 2024. Once again, Hopkins was thankful for how God was continuing to reveal His plan.

“Some of the people I became friends with – even Moriah – we had different circles,” he explains. “She was a nursing major, and I was in the social sciences. Being at Bethel allowed me to meet more people than just those in my network.”

Hopkins acknowledges that Bethel’s impact extended further than just the thriving on-campus community he experienced. He was also able to have educational opportunities that set the tone for his future career.

“I was able to go to Washington D.C. through the American Studies program,” Hopkins says. “Through that program, I was able to meet Christians from different backgrounds. Being at Bethel and being able to experience that program was one of my favorite parts of my college experience.”

Hopkins ended up returning to Columbus to get his law degree at the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University. Today, he is an associate attorney at Bailey Cavalieri, focusing on professional liability and insurance litigation.

“My faith has allowed me to see people’s different experiences,” Hopkins says. “Having grace with people is a huge part of what my faith teaches me.”

That grace and empathy has been hard-won through the many changes Hopkins has experienced on his educational journey.

“Even though it feels like I have to have everything figured out, there’s so much more life to live,” Hopkins says. “I’ve had this goal of being a lawyer – which involves a lot of school and then passing the bar. Now I’m here, and it’s just the beginning.”

It is precisely because God has guided him through so many changes that Hopkins sees the new options ahead of him with excitement and anticipation.

“God’s plan for me has been different,” Hopkins says. “I’m happy to see where He takes me.”

*The Dr. Billy Kirk Leadership Award is given to incoming freshmen minority culture students based on the student’s academic record, leadership ability and extracurricular involvement. The scholarship focuses on those who demonstrate a commitment to peace, community service and social justice. Learn more at BethelUniversity.edu/Scholarships.