College is not about you

Class schedules, resumes, majors and minors, graduate school – college is all about decisions. Shouldn’t there be more?

My younger self dreamed about college, about finally getting out of my too-tiny town and having the chance to decide what it was I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. Now I am here and I wonder if my younger self would be disappointed.

Little Phoebe read too many Magic Tree House books and longed to be an archaeologist. She then figured many of the world’s ancient artifacts would probably be unearthed by the time she was able to get to the sites herself. That’s fine, she’d always loved the ocean, so marine biologist it was. I’m not sure what happened between marine biologist and astronaut, but obviously the latter is much cooler.

We all begin college with the zealousness of a child. We dreamed different dreams, sure, but that’s just it – we dreamed. Somewhere along the way grade point averages, disappointment and, let’s face it, reality sets in. It’s not unusual to hear people in my generation complaining about the difficulties of “adulting.” I know because I’ve done it, too.

While it’s OK to admit we have areas to grow in, I would argue it’s even more important to remember what an incredible privilege it is to be a college student in the United States. We have some of the best universities in the world and here at Baylor we have the unique opportunity to pursue our vocational and Christian callings as one in the same.

There are children growing up around the world whose dreams of becoming the first woman on the moon or the next best-selling author may never be realized. There are people who would kill to be in your position, as overwhelmed or inadequate as you may feel. Don’t misunderstand this as permission to feel better about yourself because someone else was born in a different situation. None of us get to choose the cards we’re dealt, yet here we are.

I’ve had the opportunity in my short life to travel to numerous countries. I’ve seen the faded uniforms of grade-school children in Cambodian villages and the calloused feet of men and women whose bare soles leave marks in dirt paths. I’ve witnessed American excess in cities like Las Vegas and have been moved by the desperate prayers of pilgrims in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

I can’t explain why a great disparity exists within and outside of our country, but one thing that encourages me to keep dreaming is the hope educational opportunities offer all of us.

At the end of the day, many things we worry about as college students won’t matter. It won’t matter what Greek organization we were or weren’t a part of, what kind of grades we made and, to an extent, what major we choose. Going into this new school year, and for some of us, this new chapter in our lives, I think it’s important to remember why we are at Baylor in the first place.

I can’t answer that for you, but here’s my why: What do I know and whose life will be changed because of it?

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