Graduating from college was, for me, a bigger deal than I originally anticipated. Since I was supposed to graduate last spring (May 2010), the thought of taking additional classes over a six month period was distasteful and, in my opinion, anticlimactic. For someone who began college while still in high school, who took the equivalent of 21 credits a semester most of the time, and who spent most of her time studying hard, being in college for five years was grueling enough . . . add an additional half a year . . . I was pretty disgusted with my advisor, to say the least.
When I finally heard the strains of "Pomp and Circumstance" filtering through the air of the crowded auditorium, finally marched into that room with my cap firmly pinned to my head, and finally walked across that stage, it hit me. This was IT. I cried. The moment was here.
I understand that there are groups of Christians who feel that Christian girls should not go to college. I completely respect that. For a while, I felt like I should be at home with my parents--waiting for a husband and learning further how to take care of him and a family. Training to be a home maker was always a part of my education during my home schooled years, and it was my greatest desire to be a wife and a mother. Despite my initial reluctance to go to college, my parents encouraged me to further my education.
This post will be exploring the reasons WHY I went to college (answering possible objections) and how I believe that God BLESSED that decision. To each his own, but I am firmly convinced that my college education brought glory and not dishonor to God.
"What if you never get married or what if your husband dies?"
Well, what if? Should either of these possibilities have come to pass, my parents wanted me to be able to provide for myself and any children that might be left with me should I be widowed at a young age. I don't think that it's morbid--it was realistic. College was my "PLAN B."
"PLAN A" was always to get married and have a family, but having a backup plan so that I would not be a burden on either my parents in my old age or a church seemed like a good plan.
Rather than "sit around*" waiting for a husband for the next several years, I realized that I could get an education WHILE praying for a husband.
*Note: I do not feel that girls who choose to stay at home are just "sitting around." Those I know are diligent in serving their families, their churches, and their communities.
"Why Spend All that Money to Learn a Career that You May Never Use?"
This is a valid question. I felt that God was calling me to be a stay-at-home wife and mother. So why did I continue to pursue higher education? There are two answers to that question.
Firstly, I chose a major that would allow me to work at home. Even if I got married and had a family, I would always be able to bring in extra money by teaching piano lessons from my house. In a way, I would be able to both use the gifts that God gave me while helping my family to have a little "rainy day" money. It was a win-win.
Secondly, it was free. Due to my mother's nose for sniffing out scholarship money from various sources, I found and applied for many different scholarships. Combine that with going to a community college followed by a state university (great education, cheap tuition!) . . . and I entered into my marriage debt free.
Now that you know some of the reasons WHY I went to college, here are few ways that God BLESSED that decision.
Gospel Opportunities in the Lions' Den
Although I was a music major, I took enough English classes that I had almost enough for a minor in literature. As you can imagine, many of the novels and stories that I was required to read in my literature classes contained ungodly content. Instead of being completely repulsed by this, I felt that God was giving me an opportunity to share His truths.
Despite being naturally shy, I felt a God-given boldness when it came to writing analytical papers on various pieces of literature. Instead of fearing a bad grade, I felt confident that God would bless my endeavors.
One of the most amazing things about my collegiate experience was the fact that the most ungodly, antagonistic professors of literature were not only willing to READ my papers but were also willing to grade them with open minds. I was able to share verses from the Bible, point out the sinfulness of certain relationships, and bring a biblical mindset to each story.
Novelists like D.H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, and James Joyce may have take the Bible out of context in their writings, but God helped me to use their errors to put things back into perspective. While they glorified relationships that God calls evil, I was given the opportunity to point that out.
When I think of some of the "risks" that I took in these classes, I am amazed that the professors always welcomed me back into their classes in following semesters with smiles. God used my time in the English department to share the glory of His gospel with some of its harshest critics.
Oh Her? She's a Christian. She's "Cool."
My time in college also provided me with many opportunities to live out my faith. Most of my friends were not Christians, but they all knew that I was. Without my even having to SAY anything most of the time, even those of my acquaintances with the filthiest of mouths would speak respectfully in my presence.
To me, it was a wonderful chance to share with people that Christians were not all stuck up, holier-than-thou people. Not that I was always perfect, but I think that it sometimes surprised people that I, as a Christian, would spend time with them and talk to them.
The more time I spent with these people, the more they trusted me . . . and the more they allowed me to share my faith with them.
This will be my final point. Two things really kept me going in college when I was completely stressed out and overworked: my mom and my kids.
As a home school graduate, it was important to me to do well in college. Not just to prove to the world that home schooled students aren't stupid and socially backwards, but more to show my mother what an amazing job she did with my education. Hours and years of her life were poured into teaching me, nurturing me, and praying over me--I wanted her to know that it was not in vain.
While I'm pregnant now, I could not have been any further from having children when I began college. However, I knew that, should I be blessed with children one day, I wanted to home school them. Partly due to fear that I would one day need a degree to be "allowed" to home school (since the government is taking away more and more of our liberties) and also because I wanted to have a foundation strong enough to teach my children well, I went to college. I finished my degree.
If I were to send my children to school, I would NOT send them to be taught by someone with merely a high school education when they could be taught by one with a college education. Why would I lower my standard if I were the teacher? I don't know everything--far from it--but I do know a whole lot more now that I did when I was in high school. I feel much more PREPARED to home school now.
I would be the first to say that one does NOT NEED A COLLEGE DEGREE to home school one's children . . . but I would say that I needed one to feel more ready and that I wanted one so that I would be secure in the future.
In the end, it was amazing to finally graduate. My mom was there to see it--and I know that she waited a LONG TIME to see me walk across that stage--and my baby was there--and that's why I went to school, right? For my kids?
How much more fitting could the occasion have been--the two people who inspired me most in my education and pushed me to complete my education were both there. Had I graduated in May, I would not have been pregnant . . . and having my little one there inside me while I received the diploma which I worked so hard to earn for him/her was awe-inspiring. Completely.