I recently got inspired to write a post about my college experience. My life, to me seems mundane, but if I can help/inspire/inform someone else through my experience, I’m okay with that.
Before I start talking about my actual college experience, I will preface it a bit with some events that transpired during my last two years of High School. When I was 16 I started babysitting, and I had enjoyed watching kids. Where I am from, at least for me anyway, the second half of Junior Year, you start getting an idea of what you might want to study in college, if you even go to college, which most of my graduating class did. I had the idea that beings that I liked working with kids, that I wanted to become a teacher. So during my senior year, after my first college tour, I started volunteering at the elementary school I had gone to, to see what it was like and get some experience. That went pretty well, for the most part, well enough anyway that I was still set on being a teacher. I was looking at three different schools, all of which would mean moving away from home, which was part of the incentive for considering them. I ended up going to the first, and only one I applied to. I would recommend applying to at least 3, but yeah. With that being said, and hindsight, I know I made the right decision for going to the school I went to. I know it was the Lord working there. So I graduated from high school, and finished up my volunteer experience, and at the end of a long summer I went off to college.
My first year of college was the toughest, with living in the dorms, and adjusting to college life, and really start figuring out who I was, what I believed in, and the kind of life I wanted to live. I finished up that year, still an Early Childhood/Elementary Education major, living in my own apartment, and really not happy with what I was doing. There were a few times that I wanted to quit school, but I stuck it out.
For my second year, I still had the same “crappy” first apartment, that everyone should have in their life. My sophomore year of college did bring about changing my major, which terrified me. I had known for a good two or more terms that teaching kids really isn’t for me, and I have had that reconfirmed with a later experience. I dreaded going to school, and I hated what I was doing, and felt lost. Half way through my sophomore year I had gone in to talk to my Major Adviser (aka academic guidance counselor), and after sitting down and talking to her for a bit, she recommended that I go and talk to the department chair of the Social Science Division, and gave me the paper work I needed to changed my major. On my way to going to talk to the Department Chair, I remember praying “Lord, if this is what you want me to do, please make the process quick and easy without any hangups”, I felt that I was so in over my head. I hadn’t discussed changing my major with anyone, not even my parents. I was scared to tell them that I was even thinking about it, because I knew one of them would try to talk me out of it (which kinda did happen when I did tell them, after I had done it). So, I went and talked to the Department Chair of the Social Science division, and added a minor. From the time of my initial advising appointment, to submitting my paper, in all totaled maybe three hours, and I had this peace about it all. I knew I was going to be happier, and actually graduate on time. At the end of the process I was majoring in Social Science (with a focus in History) and minoring in Literature.
The summer between my Sophomore and Junior years of college I moved to a new apartment, that was much better than the first apartment I had. Not to long before school started I had lost one of my grandparents, so the first term of the year I threw myself in school, to in a way forget about it, but it caught up with my during winter term. That was also the term I was taking the last of my general education requirements, and had a rough term. My last term of that year I was finally just working on my Major and Minor, and was done with the general ed classes, and things got better for me, and by this time it was established that I had changed my major, and that I was studying something I was actually interested in.
Going into my senior year, I knew that I needed to just focus in on school, despite the giant case of Senioritis that had settled in. Fall term of that year I took 18 credits, which was the maximum load without a wavier, I was busy that term, but for me in terms of getting things done, and done well, I need to be busy. Winter term I had 16 credits, and was still busy. Both of those terms I got higher than a 3.0 GPA. Spring term I had a lighter load, which I had planned that way. I had planned it that way, so I could just have an easy last term, in part to start looking for a job, and just because I didn’t as much stress right before graduation. I know that I couldn’t have forseen what my spring term was really going to be like when I was putting my senior year together in terms of what classes I wanted to take, and how many credits I was going to take during each term. It just worked out that the term I was taking a light load of classes, I had other stuff going on outside of school. My last surviving grandparent was in failing health, and a friend of mine got married, so I was spending as much time I could at my parents in order to see my grandmother, and help out around the house beings that my mom had the burden of my grandmother, and I had my friends wedding, at which I helped at the reception. Looking back at it, I feel like the Lord worked out my plans, for my course schedule so that I could be up here as much as I was and could be my last term, because he knew I needed to be here. Thinking back it was more like 3 or so weekends I was here, and one weekend I was away visiting a friend of mine who was a nanny for a short time for her Aunt and Uncle, who were living only about an hour and a half from me at the time (which beat the 4+ hour trip to where she had been living prior and post the nanny job), and it gave me a chance to see her and have a break from everything else that was going on.
I should also mention that at some point towards the end of my second year of college, but before my third year started, the church family I had while in school, I got to know them a lot better, and they really became my family, especially when I needed a family who got me, for who I am, and loved me for me, when I needed it the most. I love and greatly miss my family, and I would love to be back there again full time.
For me, College had its ups and downs. Even though I am still looking for a job, and opening up to what I am supposed to do with my life, I know that I went to college for a reason. I also know I went the the college that I did for a reason, and studied what I did for a reason. While the reasons are not necessarily clear, I know that it is in the Lord’s hands and it is in his control. As crazy as that sounds, I am at peace with it.