Okay, college acceptances are out. You now know what your choices are and it’s time to attempt the impossible: choosing the right one.
I know for many people, it’s as easy as picking your first choice. You’ve loved that college or university since you were in diapers and you got in on acceptance day. But maybe you didn’t get into your first choice university, or even maybe you’re like me and you never had a real first choice at all. Picking the school to spend your next four years attending is just the beginning of a new chapter of your life. It can be whatever you make it out to be, a nightmare or a daydream.
People are going to want different things for you. There will be your mom or dad’s alma matter, that D1 (or 2 or 3) school that your coach wants you to go to, or that prestigious university that your best friend wants you to go to because it’s a thousand miles away and can’t imagine living life without you. But when it comes down to it, this isn’t about any of those people. It’s about you and where God is calling you.
I’m about to finish my first year at James Madison University, a school that’s barely 30 minutes away from my hometown. If you had told me that I’d be going here at any point in my high school career, I would’ve laughed in your face. But this is where I felt called.
Let me hear Your loving kindness in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul. -Psalm 143:8
I know it sounds crazy, but some part of me knew that this is exactly where God wanted me to go the whole time. At first, the idea of going anywhere closer than two hours from home was obscene. My mom practically had to drag me to tour JMU. But as fate had it, I toured on a beautiful spring day and fell head over heels for everything about the campus. The facilities were stunning, it had exactly the right program I was looking for, the food was great (4th best in the country, can I get a whoop whoop), and the people were so dang nice. I still had some hesitations, mostly that it was so close to home and so many people from my high school came here, but that day got my wheels turning. Two and a half years later and here I am.
JMU has opened so many opportunities for me to serve the kingdom of God. I have been able to make so many meaningful friendships and have had countless life-changing experiences with people that I would have never met if I had gone anywhere else. At the beginning of March, I was placed as a YoungLife leader at Eastern Mennonite School, a place that has already shown me so much about what it really means to give your life to the Lord.
What I’m saying is this: don’t just pick a school because it’s where your parents want you to go or it’s where your boyfriend/girlfriend is going. Pick the school because you feel like it’s where you can grow the most in your faith. Pick the school because of the Jesus-loving community you can be a part of. Pick the school to serve Him. It’s not an easy choice, but it will be worthwhile in the long run. I can guarantee it.